From flab to fab

Julie M. Green Layout 1 (Page 39)

Let’s face it: baby fat is not cute. And by that, I don’t mean your wee one’s Dizzy Gillespie cheeks; I mean the stubborn cellulite-speckled deposits that cling to your thighs and add another cheek width to your already backhoe-wide butt. That’s without even mentioning the never-setting ‘belly jelly’ that makes you want to lock yourself in a darkened closet.

Hot air balloons on Mars

The transformation of the female form in pregnancy is a miracle in and of itself. My husband and I marvelled as my belly grew to hot-air balloon proportions. We marvelled as skin tags erupted all over my breasts, and a dark furry line stretched from my craterlike belly button to my netherlands. The changes were exciting and disturbing in equal measures, like exploring the surface of a new planet. Except this was my BODY, people.

Reasonably reasonable

Before my son was born, I was reasonably fit. ‘Reasonably’ being a clause espoused by lawyers worldwide because it can be bent and twisted to mean any number of things. Having a gym in my office building meant that I had no viable excuse not to hop on the treadmill or do the odd pilates class during my lunch hour. At my fittest, I ran both a 5K and 10K race, even though between you and me, I never enjoyed the experience enough to call myself a ‘runner’.

Survival of the fittest

Throughout my pregnancy, I carried on at the gym, albeit with a modified regimen. At home, up until my due date, I did light cycling on a stationary bike. That said, I still managed to gain 57lbs. I ate healthily, but plentifully. I didn’t deny myself a quarter-pounder with cheese, or two, or three… And despite the fact that

I had great trouble breastfeeding and ultimately shifted from breast to bottle, most of the weight just dropped off of its own accord. In fact, I slimmed down much quicker than my very outwardly miffed boob-feeding counterparts. So much so that I’m lucky to still be alive and writing this, after getting back into my old jeans for those early play dates.

Tea and profiteroles

I credit this strange phenomenon to ‘muscle memory’. Unlike my mind – which was, and still is, fuzzy as hell – my body remembered its metabolic shape, and naturally sought to get back to it. The hardest part for me was resuming healthy eating habits after nine months of tea and profiteroles. Therefore, my advice to moms-to-be is to establish good habits before you stick a ‘bun in the oven’. Try to be at your optimum weight and fitness level, and your body will have an easier time bouncing back. The difficulty postpartum is keeping off the fat.

Climbing Kilimanjaro in Manolo Blahniks

Since most new moms are chronically sleep deprived months after giving birth, finding the energy to exercise is about as easy as climbing Kilimanjaro in Manolo Blahniks. Don’t even try to workout until at least three months after birth. You’ll only set yourself up for a fall otherwise. During nap time, strap on your baby monitor (preferably with a sensor light), crank up the iTunes, and get down to business. Get an exercise video (preferably led by an instructor you don’t want to murder) or better yet, channel that violence into your cardio.

If Buns of Steel isn’t your bag…

Invest in a piece of equipment you are least likely to despise – still cheaper in the long run than a gym membership you’ll have to dust off after the first month. Put some elbow grease into house cleaning. Beat those dust bunnies into submission. Vacuum to a Flock of Seagulls. Mop to Bob Marley or Beyonce. Whatever gets you groovin’. I find the right music can make or break a workout.

Buffy mummy: slayer of dust bunnies

Less than a year after giving birth, I was looking pretty buff, if I say so myself. For the first time in my life, my tanned biceps would give Madge a run for her money, just from hauling my son up and down stairs, in and out of crib/car seat/stroller. I powerwalked with my stroller, exploring different neighbourhoods. If you prefer, you can achieve the same effect with a sling.

The secret of my vitamin D

My amazed doctor wanted to know the secret of my through-the-roof vitamin D levels. The answer: lots of time spent in the great outdoors. Rain or shine, sleet or snow, dress the part and get out there. You’ll feel more buzzed and energized without spending a small fortune on a macchiato. The tools for reclaiming your body are there gooing and gaaing in front of you. They’ve been there all along. Go ahead, harness them! is a warts-and-all account of pregnancy and first-time motherhood that will have you laughing, crying, and running to the nearest drugstore to buy some Durex… Julie lives in Toronto with her long-suffering husband, Philip and newly suffering son, Jackson.

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