Read an Excerpt
We often refer to a child’s birth as a blessed event. There’s a reason for that. For many women, having a child is the ultimate experience of their adult life. Sure, there’s no more important duty your body will be asked to perform than to bear a child. But you are asked to put on anywhere from fifteen to thirty-five pounds within nine months. This would be hard for anyone to lose. But the good news is a majority of that weight will go when the baby is born. The rest is up to you and how you take care of yourself now. . . meaning don’t gain too much too fast.
Whether you think of it as expressing her reproductive destiny, getting knocked up, an “oops,” or as her fulfilling her maternal instinct to nurture and protect, having a baby is one of the defining moments of a woman’s life. From the moment she hears the news from a doctor or sees the two red lines on a home pregnancy kit, her life is going to be changed forever. Or if you’re like me you cried when your husband told you that you were pregnant after the nurse called with HCG numbers, and were shocked to be carrying twins. Some women are scared out of their minds and optimistic but pessimistic about how it’s all going to turn out. I hope for you and your family it’s a time of joy and optimism, but if it’s not—you are not alone in being scared. I was Nervous Nelly, even knowing all I know about pregnancy.
Not only is your life going to change, but your body is going to undergo a series of changes—some wonderful, some wacky, some initially frightening—that could potentially leave you looking like a different person than you were before your pregnancy.
I think you either have it easy or you have it hard. You enjoy it or you don’t. But either way the goal is to get to forty weeks. If you’re like me the “glow” is green to gills, “tired” is insomnia instead, and “loving every minute of it” is “I am ready to jump out of my skin.”
Let’s face it, if you picked up this book, you did so because, as thrilled as you are about the life-changing events surrounding the birth of your child(ren), the one thing you want to see undone or to be able to go back to is your best pre-pregnancy body—or even better. Yes, it can be done, and you can look better than you did in high school! You want to be that “hot mom”! You know, the one everyone comments on: “You can’t be serious! You just had a baby six months ago?” “Look at you! I thought you were the baby’s nanny, not her mother!” Vain? Maybe, but I know I wanted to be that mom.
I also know that many of you are interested in staying fit during pregnancy. Whether it’s because of your own personal experience or because you saw a friend or family member struggle with losing the weight gained during pregnancy, you want to do whatever you can to stay healthy and fit during your pregnancy. Or, like many of my good friends, you gained sixty pounds with your first child and realized how un-fun it was getting that weight off. Or you could still be carrying weight from the first one and don’t want to be extra-overweight by the time this one pops out. Or you do it because you know you have to or it’s your only way to de-stress with three other kids at home. Or you work out on occasion and have decided now is the time to really take care of yourself (like the 4 percent of women who are more active during pregnancy than non-pregnancy1), or the doctor said you have to! Either way, we just know that working out now will help you get your body back faster—studies show 40 percent faster.
Not only will you benefit from this emphasis on pre- and post-pregnancy fitness, but your newborn, your other children, and your partner will as well. Why? Having and raising a child takes an enormous amount of energy. (I’m not telling you moms anything you don’t already know!) By being fit and feeling good about yourself and your body, you will have more of the energy and the enthusiasm that it takes to be a mom. No one wants to drag their feet throughout the day.
And when my husband dangles the running shoes, code for “Please leave and come back normal,” I realize we all struggle with caretaking issues. What do I mean? Well, we women are by nature givers and providers. When we have kids, we have to sacrifice some of ourselves and our time and energy to devote to them. A lot of women feel guilty for doing anything for themselves. Let me tell you straight up from the start, the concept of the Supermom and the all-giving and no-receiving mom can lead to problems. I’m no psychologist, but I do know this: In order to better take care of others, you have to start by taking care of yourself! If you’re not in good shape physically and mentally, you won’t be as effective in carrying out your mothering responsibilities as you could be. So, that’s Lindsay’s Attitude Rule #1: No Guilt. Besides, with the program I’ve devised, you won’t be spending hours and hours away from your family sweating in a gym or out on the road running miles and miles. You get it done in fifteen to fifty minutes and your kids can be by your side.
This book is based on cutting-edge information from top research facilities. I will guide you through a healthy pregnancy and crack down on losing the baby weight. It all starts with a healthy pregnancy and gaining only the recommended amount of weight, which is no more than twenty-five to thirty-five pounds if you’re carrying one baby; the average woman gains 27.5 pounds.2 Now, if you’ve already been through pregnancy and you gained more, do not fret. There is nothing you can do about the past; there is only something you can do for the future. You can use this book even if you had your baby five years ago—simply skip the pregnancy chapter.
Again, taking care of your family means taking care of yourself. Spending some time working out isn’t selfish; it’s smart.
Whom This Book Is Intended For
Even if you aren’t pregnant and are just beginning to plan your family, this book can help you achieve the level of fitness and the goal weight to get you on the right path. I would love it if every woman got herself to her healthiest weight and fitness level before getting pregnant. I know that’s not always the case, and to be honest, it isn’t always necessary. However, if you think about getting your body back after childbirth, you’ll understand why it is beneficial to be in the best shape possible pre-pregnancy. (Also, keep in mind I’m a pre-and postnatal fitness professional and I want everyone to feel the best about their body and their health! Having a healthy and positive body image leads to increased confidence and better health. It’s confidence, not cockiness. Both play a large role in being a woman.)
If you are pregnant with a singleton or twins, as long as it’s a healthy pregnancy and you have your doctor’s permission you will benefit from every aspect of this book, from the non-worker-outer to the exercise vet, whether you’ve had no kids or eight kids. If you are pregnant with twins, you will have to take extra caution throughout your workout. Cardiovascular exercise is not recommended and you should stop exercising around twenty-two weeks. You can read more rules on page 7 of the exercise design. Just know you don’t have to like working out, or eating tofu and broccoli—if you’re all about getting it done in the least amount of time with the least amount of thought, this book is for you!
HOW TO GET YOUR BODY BACK INTO SHAPE AFTER BABY, WHETHER THIS IS YOUR FIRST BABY OR YOUR SEVENTH:
Rule #2: Do Not Gain More Than the Amount of Weight Your Doctor(s) Recommend! That’s it in a sippy cup! The more you are able to stick to a nutrition and exercise program that helps you to control the amount of weight you gain during pregnancy, the easier it will be post-pregnancy to get your body back to where it was before pregnancy. If you don’t, you’re looking at more than five months to get that body back!
Obviously, then, the better shape you are in pre-pregnancy and the more accustomed you are to working out and not giving in to every cheeseburger craving, the better. Just as obvious, this book is intended for women who are already pregnant and want to begin a wellness program.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ (ACOG) recent guidelines state that if you are not physically active before getting pregnant or if you have a medical condition you should talk with your doctor to plan a safe exercise program. So that means you should take this book with you and ask your doctor if it’s OK for you to do the Beginner’s Pregnancy Program. And you will probably want to stick to a maximum of twenty minutes of exercise three times a week through your first trimester.3 If you don’t have a history of exercising regularly, don’t worry. This book will show you how you can do a program that will carry you through each of the trimesters and beyond.
Some of you have already gained sixty pounds from either this pregnancy or the previous one. Don’t worry! This program will work for you too—but let’s be honest, it might take you a little bit longer to lose that weight post-pregnancy. Your body is a fat-burning machine right after pregnancy, so we need to take advantage of that when we can!
And to my exercise vets: You will learn so much and find a good challenge within the workouts, although during pregnancy you will be the ones I will lecture for going too hard. When we exercise too hard, the blood flow goes to our muscles and not as much to our baby!
Finally, this book is also intended for women who have already given birth, whether it was five days or five years ago. I believe that it is both never too early and never too late to begin a fitness program.
Rule #3: No Excuses! What good does complaining about being in your thirties (or forties) and not being able to eat like you did in your twenties do? You can’t lose weight by talking! And you simply cannot eat like you did in high school. I’m all about being straightforward and no bull crap, so leave your excuses at the door (or in your maternity closet)! It’s time to work—but you don’t have to dedicate an hour or two to working out, I promise! And you don’t have to give up your favorite foods or the inevitable trip to the drive-through!
Rule #4: No Looking Back! For those of you who gave birth years ago and still haven’t gotten the pregnancy weight off, this book is for you! And don’t despair. You can’t change the past, but you can change the future. Don’t waste valuable time and energy kicking yourself for what you didn’t do. Expend that energy kicking yourself into gear today!
I’ve structured the book so that if you aren’t pregnant, you can skip Part I (which has a fitness plan for while you are pregnant) and go immediately to parts II and III—post-pregnancy and lifestyle plans.
So Here’s the Skinny