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"I Cut Portions and Dropped the Baby Weight"
Two babies in two years left Dawn Scrutchins carrying an extra 50 pounds on her once slender body. When this photo was taken, she weighed in at 170 pounds. Portion cutting and an exercise plan have since helped her lose her baby weight.
"I don't have the energy."
Rut Buster: Exercising at even a very easy pace will give you more energy than if you sit it out. A University of Georgia study of people who reported persistent fatigue found that those who rode a stationary bike three times a week at low intensity got a bigger energy boost than those who didn't exercise. In a follow-up study, the same cyclers maintained the extra oomph over the six weeks they kept exercising.
Courtesy of Liv/giant
Pimp your ride with the Avail Inspire Bike. Designed by a breast cancer survivor who entered Liv/giant's Avail Inspire Design Contest, the Japanese cherry blossoms will not only get you noticed, but also serve as a reminder that, "Life is short, so exist in the present moment and celebrate the gift of life," winner Barbara Greenlee says. For each bike bought, 10 percent of the retail price goes to the Young Survival Coalition.
"Beet" Your Sweet Tooth
"Beets add sweetness and moisture without taking away from the flavor," says pastry chef Marisa Churchill, the author of Sweet & Skinny. Add two-thirds of a cup of finely grated raw beets to brownie batter and you can reduce the sugar by a quarter cup.
Use Your Bean
When researchers served brownies made with pureed white beans in place of half the shortening, testers rated them just as tasty as their full-fat counterparts. To make the switch, pulse cannellini beans, black beans, or lentils in a food processor with a little water, then replace half the butter, oil, or shortening in your baked goods with an equal amount of the puree.
"I'm getting nowhere, so why bother?"
Rut Buster: First of all, swap the carrot for the stick. "You didn't gain 10 pounds in 10 days, so it might take a while to lose it," Karas says. "Be patient and visualize yourself in leaner days for positive reinforcement." Then look beyond the scale. "Remind yourself that the benefits of exercise — being healthier, happier, and living longer — are so much greater than the weight loss," says Kelly McGonigal, PhD, a psychologist at Stanford University. But if downsizing is your main motive, raise your game: Pick up your walking pace or add reps or sets. "You can't expect bigger results by doing the same thing," McGonigal says.
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, October 2009.
Courtesy of Ballantine Books
"I learned how to make the most of the gym."
Margaret D., 48, of Toledo, Ohio, got frustrated with how difficult losing the baby weight was after having her second child, so the former cardio queen took a weight training class. "Our instructor taught us how to use machines and exercises with weights," says Margaret. "I saw results in six weeks, but more importantly, I became confident in working my way through the entire gym."
Originally published on FitnessMagazine.com, September 2011.
"I'm wearing my 'thin' clothes again!"
Goal: A mother of two from Stamford, Connecticut, Allison, 36, wanted to lose a few pounds and tighten her abs and butt.
Results: "I didn't drop a lot of weight, but my thighs look leaner, my butt seems smaller, and my arms are more defined."
"I love my post-baby body"
"I never felt self-conscious about my body when I was pregnant, and I've retained that sense of awe. I've lost all but three pounds of the baby weight; things aren't quite like they were, but that's okay, because look at what I have."
— Kristin Dale, 38, schoolteacher, with Julia, 18 months
Danielle St. Laurent
"Incorporate your baby into your exercise routine."
Erin W., 30, of Scotch Plains, New Jersey, got help from her daughter during her workouts. "Strap your baby into a baby carrier for added resistance when doing squats," she says. "And they make an adorable distraction when you're doing crunches or push-ups!"