Six weeks after a cesarean section, Ali de Bold, 33, co-founder and chief "chick-in-charge" of Toronto-based ChickAdvisor.com, started exercising. Now having exercised for a month and a half, she feels stronger, but she can't pull her jeans over her thighs. She tells her neatly folded pants, "I will wear you again."
"To get back to where I was pre-baby – 115 pounds, size 4, and toned. I'm two sizes bigger and I gained 25 pounds with the pregnancy, but I haven't weighed myself since."
"I train with four other moms Thursdays at 11 a.m. with a trainer at a friend's house. It's a strength training class for one hour. We use bands, free weights, and body weights.
"We start with the thighs and butt, do core, and then arms. We do five exercises in a circuit each for 30 seconds, and do four circuits. For legs, we do squats, lunges, lateral steps with a band around our ankles, and some other ones. For core, we do crunches, planks, and spiderman climbs. We go back to bands to do arms; body-weight dips on the floor; then use free weights for arm curls against the wall holding a squat position; and shoulder presses. For upper body we do 20 reps. The program changes every week.
"On my own, I go walking every day with Jake in the carrier, so he's strapped to my chest, for an hour.
"Tomorrow I'm going to a mom and baby class in which you work out wearing your baby, once a week."
"My husband is running the company and I'm on the site every day, but I'm with my son.
"I should be on post-natal diet, but I'm not. I eat whatever I want except I don't eat red meat. I bake chocolate cookies weekly; I eat ice cream; I have a piece of high-quality dark chocolate every single day. When breastfeeding, your body uses so many calories and your reserves – I'm hungrier now than when I was pregnant – I wasn't prepared for that. He's feeding every two to three hours, around the clock. I eat breakfast, lunch, dinner, and I'm snacking through out the day – an apple, or a bowl of ice cream, or a bagel and almond butter."
"I've worked out since I was 16, but I started getting fit in 2003 with a fantastic trainer. He was really cute and asked if I wanted a session. Because he was cute I kept going. Because he was cute I pushed myself really hard, for years. I saw fantastic results and I liked how I felt, I never worried about my weight. I want that back. I have a new trainer."
"De-Phazz, Kevin Yost, Guy Monk, Gotan Project, and angry rap music."
"I had really flat, tight abs before; now it's so much harder to get that area tight. And I crave fatty foods. That contributes to not being able to tighten up the stomach area."
Mary Bamford, Toronto-based registered dietician, suggests Ms. de Bold switch from a free-for-all diet to a feeding routine, supporting weight loss.
Plan and manage treats
"Ali needs to be consistent with three meals and three snacks every day. She could eat a small piece of dark chocolate every day plus three treats per week. But other snack substitutions are an apple with a piece of reduced-fat cheese, non-fat Greek yogurt with a teaspoon of maple syrup and six almonds, or a half a whole-grain bagel with some leftover chicken breast or salmon, and salad plus carrot sticks, snap peas, celery, and radish to put volume in her belly."
Fill up on protein
"Ali's snacks are predominantly carbohydrates," says Ms. Bamford, director of nutrition for Newtopia.com. "As a population, we eat 200 to 300 more calories per day when we eat a high carbohydrate diet. But including protein with carbohydrates at each meal and snack leads to less hunger and lower overall calorie intake."