The reality of losing weight post baby…. my story & tips

The thought of pregnancy had always scared me. If it wasn’t from the fact that I was pushing a little human outside of me, then it was the fact that life will change in ways I couldn’t even imagine. Since I was 13, I’ve battled with my weight. I was a chubby kid and when I turned 13, I wanted to buy a fun dress for my birthday party but nothing fit. So my mom told me straight up, you need to lose weight. Those words hit me hard and I took it very seriously. Not only did I calorie restrict, but I also exercised to the point that I burned enough calories as I consumed. Needless to say, a year later I was diagnosed with anemia. So the story goes that until my 24th birthday, I really didn’t have a grasp on the true meaning of healthy. That’s around the time I was also looking at 2nd career options. After falling in love with cycling, I got certified to become an instructor which led me to teach at the popular chain gyms before the boutique phenomenon. Once I became an established instructor and personal trainer, I realized nutrition was a huge part of a healthy lifestyle. That’s when I realized pursuing the path to become a dietitian would be a huge calling for myself.

Age: 26. This is when I first applied to NYU for the MS program in Clinical Nutrition
Age: 26. This is when I first applied to NYU for the MS program in Clinical Nutrition

It’s funny. The immediate association with the word “dietitian” and “fitness instructor/trainer” is skinny, thin, size 2. Well that’s not me. I’ve never been a size 2 and I accept that. I’m curvy AND strong.

Age 28: Well under way into the nutrition program at NYU
Age 28: Well under way into the nutrition program at NYU

I am also completely armed with the knowledge and experience to get my body to the size it should healthfully be. After I found out I was pregnant in December 2013, I started a wellness plan for my pregnancy. I stopped obsessing about how many pounds I would gain and focused on how to get my son out as naturally as possible. My workout plan focused on strength, mobility and cardio with the aid of a heart rate monitor to review each workout performance. I joined Pure Yoga and managed to hit up the Upper East Side studio 4 times per week for classes such as Vinyasa Flow, Figure 4, and PXT (their yoga/strength class). I also revisited teaching cycling and Studio 360 graciously opened their doors for me to get my confidence back. In June when I hit 32 weeks, I slowed down on the cycling and kept going with Pure Yoga and lots of walking. By August 1st, I had gained 40lbs and I was due August 15th.

Age 32: Friends baby shower at 24 weeks
Age 32: Friends baby shower at 24 weeks
Age 32: Well Rounded NY Photo Shoot at 32 weeks
Age 32: Well Rounded NY Photo Shoot at 32 weeks

Ryan was born August 8th, naturally. I was in labor for a total of 14 hours (3am – 5:04pm) and didn’t receive epidural. We can talk about this experience offline. Within 2 weeks post labor, I started aggressively walking and stretching. Without fail, I have walked almost every day since Ryan was born (mostly with him in the stroller) until the weather started getting really unbearable.

Taking Ryan home from Mt. Sinai
Taking Ryan home from Mt. Sinai

However, the weight I had gained was affecting me in ways I didn’t expect. I suffered from knee pain. My upper back had also gotten wider and my shoulders felt heavy. I carried a lot of tension in that area. My body didn’t just “shed those pounds” as many had advised me. I wasn’t able to do side planks after 12 days or wear my pre-baby clothes after 8 weeks. Postpartum felt very REAL. So this is what the body looks like after having a baby. After my 6 week appointment when I was cleared, I started working out at least 2-3x per week. While it is a fact that breastfeeding does help you lose weight, the process of lactating could hinder the process. (I am still trying to find more concrete evidence). Between October and January, I hired Liz Barnet to train me. We started at the end of October and she nursed my post-pregnancy body back into recovery. I am so thankful for her because she prepped me with the ability to jump into harder workouts such as SLT and As One. I also had a variety of personal to-do’s to focus on not to mention “be a mom.” So it wasn’t until January 12th that I was able to design a workout plan to help me jumpstart the weight loss back to pre-pregnancy Anita. I stopped pumping/breastfeeding. Thanks to the support of family, I was able to leave home and hit up a variety of classes.

As of January 13th, I started a schedule involving high intensity workouts, core focused strengthening and cardio. Between SLT, As One, and Equinox on 63rd and Lexington, I created a nice variety and routine.

What is SLT?
SLT is a 50-minute boutique fitness class focused on utilizing your core muscles and a slow breathing pattern to create a lean, toned body. The class is conducted on a Megaformer machine which is similar to a reformer machine but with a little more accessories. Strength toning includes exercises for all major muscle groups. Because the exercises are performed in a slow 4 count, you will constantly feel a burning sensation.

What is As One?
As One is a 50-minute boutique fitness class focused on building endurance through high-intensity strength and cardio routines. Each class includes key total body strengthening moves such as push-ups, pull-ups, squats, lunges, burpees and sit-ups. The routines are basic but the combination of them all make the workout extremely challenging.

and What is Equinox?
A full-service high quality gym offering everything you could imagine in order to get into shape, train for a race, and try something new. This location offers a pool, coat check, boxing ring and every type of cardio or strength accessory you could imagine. Given the winter and low temps in January/February, having this gym as a go-to made my challenge achievable.

Jan 13th
I worked out at home and used my son Ryan as a weight. He’s about 14 lbs so it was a challenge. Between burpees, alternate step back lunges, lunge switches, squats, squat jumps, rower situps, pushups, side lunges, abductor extensions and planks, I got an excellent 40 minute workout. I chose a playlist of 8 fun, poppy songs. Each song focused on a strength + high intensity plyometric move.

Playlist:
Shake It Off – Taylor Swift
Can’t Hold Us – Macklemore
Maps – Maroon 5
Lips Are Movin’ – Meghan Trainor
Danza Kurduro – Don Omar
Time Of Our Lives – Pitbull
La La La – Naughty Boy
Mr. Saxobeat – Alexandra Stan

Jan 14th
My 2nd time ever at SLT. I got to sweat at Liz Barnet’s 430PM SLT class at the 57th street location. It was HARD but very core focused. Liz is all about the inner strength. Many of the moves we did in class were moves she included in our prior training sessions. It’s just a lot harder with the added resistance from the Megaformer. I was feeling motivated to continue.

SLT MOTIVATION
SLT MOVES

Jan 15th
Equinox graciously opened their doors to me (thanks Liz for the initial guest pass perk!) and I was able to take advantage of indoor cardio options. I started off with 5 minutes of the Concept2 rower. I love the rower because it forces me to contract my core and maintain my posture. After my warm-up, I completed 23 minutes of treadmill intervals on incline for the added fat burn. My final cardio focus was the stepper. I could only handle 6 minutes of it! I forgot how hard vertical movement can be. The workout ended with the standing bosu ball core work — I held the handles and extended my legs to lift them up to waist height – 5 rounds of 5 reps each (One round was 8 reps). *Follow @fitnutanita on instagram for my pics!

Cardio Trifecta
Cardio Trifecta

Jan 16th
A recent perk of our move to the UES is the proximity to central park. On 61st street there is a direct entrance into the park. So today, I bundled up in layers as it was the warmest day of the week and ventured out around 1pm for a mid-day fat burn. I did a run, walk, jog for about 40 minutes through the park and ended at the reservoir — only to head back home. I forgot that the hills of Central Park are an added challenge. My core work included 5 rounds of 20 disc assisted mountain climbers followed by 10 rowers situps.

CentralParkRun16th

CentralParkRun16th1

Jan 17th
I had to prep myself for As One. I will say that in anticipation of this workout, I spent the last 2 months really focusing on getting my body primed. My personal training sessions with Liz have helped tremendously. We focused on gaining hip stability and strengthening the hamstring and glutes. As One never has a “squat free” workout so as of today my body was totally ready. It was a 40 minute cardio (60 seconds) – strength (40 seconds) – burpees (20 seconds) routine. I have to say – while it was hard for me to maintain the momentum – I loved every second of it. It felt AWESOME. The jacobs ladder was heavily missed. I also used the Ski Erg for the first time ever – my triceps were SORE. To complete the workout, I walked across the park all the way home. #Noexcuses

As117thworkout

As1AnitaSweaty

Jan 18th
Since I plan to head back to As One tomorrow, I am focusing on mobility and core today. Booya Fitness offers a nice variety of workouts to be streamed in your own home. I just did a simple yoga flow on my home mat and a few core exercises to stay warm.

Booya18th

Jan 19th
Started off MLK Day with a *STRONG* workout at As One. The usual warm-up included 3 rounds of jumping jacks and burpees. The workout included 4 stations. Each station had a dedicated cardio followed by 2 sets of strength exercises. Whatever time it takes to complete the cardio required, that’s how MANY reps of the strength exercises we needed to do. That was tough. My legs were jelly by the time the burpees/side steps station came. After the class, I walked across the park home. Later in the afternoon, my mom, Ryan and I had a nice stroller walk in Central Park. #doubleworkout

Jan 20th
Cardio. Cardio. I ran, jogged and walked in Central Park for about 40 minutes with cardio intervals in between. When I returned home, I did 3 rounds of mountain climbers, plank jacks and 20 seconds planks. It felt great to get outside and run. The hills of central park are super challenging. My calves will be sore tomorrow.

Instagram20thworkout

Jan 21st
SLT BABY. Megaformer. Gotta love this workout to get the core back in check. Liz’s playlist is also legit. I feel like jelly afterwards and many times in between. Also, no lie – I am a little scared that I’ll do a move and the platform will move quickly and I’ll pull a muscle. I have to get over that fear. SLT is all about doing slow four counts so I am just pacing myself.

Jan21MegaformerWorkout

Jan 22nd
DAY OFF. Just me and the foam roller. Ahhhh, Feels good. The foam roller is an amazing workout accessory. It gets all the tension out of your highly utilized muscles.

FoamRoller22ndStretch

Jan 23rd
Rise and Shine with SLT. I pushed through a pretty tough set by Amanda Rey. I also did a light cardio power walk. I am trying to stay on point so that I can purchase clothes that fit me and look good. Ouch is worth it.

Jan23SLTworkout

Jan 24th
While I would have preferred to stay indoors and hibernate, I committed to teaching a cycling class at Studio 360 in Murray Hill. The class was completely packed and we steamed up the entire room. My playlist was carefully designed so that I could workout while teach. If you have spotify, follow Anita Kumar Mirchandani and look up “Saturday 24th.”

Studio360Jan24th1

Jan 25th
Surprisingly enough for a January, it was gorgeous ad crisp. I ventured to Equinox for a cardio focused workout. I did intervals on the Concept 2 Rower for 11 minutes. Took a break. Then I did the Skier elliptical for 20 minutes. Then I returned back to the rower for another 6 minutes. In addition to this cardio workout, I used the disks to do mountain climbers, plank jacks and plank circles. After 2 hours, we went for a walk in Central Park for about 45 minutes. All in All #cardiowon.

Jan25thWalkWorkout

Jan 26th
As One kicked my butt this morning.
The workout:
3 pull-ups
6 burpees
9 push-ups
12 loaded squats
15 sit-ups
18 mountain climbers (really 36)
+ Partner cardio on the jacob’s ladder, air-dyne, stepmill and Ski-Erg
I ended up doing 8 rounds of the strength circuit so… 3 pull-ups x 4 stations x 2 rounds = 24 pullups … and so forth. I walked home across the park in the snow and then foam rolled 3 more times.

Jan 27th
As a result of yesterday, took the day off and just foam rolled, stretched and light yoga. Not to mention the aftermath of the #Juno2015 (not really), so the day was dedicated to “dealing with snow.” Ouch, my hamstrings are still tight.

Jan 28th
Today I combined sweating with networking “Sweatworking” at Pure Barre. I hadn’t done Barre since I was about 32 weeks pregnant because I didn’t want to have over tight hips for the whole labor process. I forgot how intense the whole pulsing series is on the body. After the workout courtesy of Ketchum and Outshine, a bunch of RD’s hung out and tasted the delicious Outshine yogurt bars (90 calories; 2g of fat).

PureBarre28thWorkout

Jan 29th
Pushed myself to hit up Equinox for a post strength recovery cardio session. I really didn’t want to do anything today but I knew that I’d feel amazing once I got to the gym. My workout: 100 calories on the rower, 20 minutes on the elliptical skier and 12 minutes (basically a slow mile) on the treadmill.

Equinox29thWorkout

Jan 30th
Friday Fitness at SLT. I bought the beginner 3 pack so I decided it’s best to use them up because the workout has been the best to rebuild my core strength. Amanda Rey’s class is intense but I felt so worked. I don’t know what took me so long to get into SLT. I’m beyond hooked.

SLTjan30workout

Jan 31st
Indoor cardio at Equinox with 12 minutes on the rower, 12 minutes on the skier and 12 minutes running. I am trying to continue with a strong cardio regimen so that I can burn the “insulation” that was created for the growth of my little man. It’s amazing what our bodies are capable of doing. Focusing on cardio is a great way to utilize dietary carbohydrates for fuel not to mention burn fat.

Jan31workoutcardio

Feb 1st
Instead of taking a true day off, I ran errands on my feet for about 4 hours today. Enjoyed checking out the new styles at #lululemon and snagged some exercise essentials. I thought I’d feel good after walking so much but instead, I was utterly exhausted. Walking around the city in the cold is harder because you are so contained in your layers. I laid in bed for a good hour post erranding.

Feb1NYCSHOPWorkout

Feb 2nd
The weather did not warrant me to leave the apartment. Instead, I cozied up to Booya Fitness with the help of Google Chromecast and enjoyed the “Toning at the Barre” workout indoors. 39 minutes of burning, pulsing and sweating. #Noexcuses

Feb2WorkoutBooya

Feb 3rd
Afternoon delight with SLT. I tried Allie Schwartz class. Her workout choreography was very simple in nature but tough in consistency. I loved every minute. Added motivation, next to me was an SLT instructor named Rebecca. She had a bangin’ body. Watching her encouraged me to continue when the moves got tough. P.S. I sweat SO much at SLT.

Feb3Selfie

Feb 4th
My son had his 6 month shots today. Luckily the doctor’s office is very close and walking distance. Today was the best weather day of the whole week so we strolled to and from the doctor’s office. After that, I took the day to focus on his recovery post shots so no workouts today. It felt good to rest up.

Feb 5th
Even though yesterday wasn’t a true day off, I wanted to #KYOA with another SLT workout. I took Lanae Rhodes 11:30AM class and she’s also no joke. I guess all the instructors know what they are doing. I felt amazing and my legs were jelly. Totally worth every minute.

Feb5Workout

Feb 6th
Recovery cardio at Equinox. I foam rolled about 4 times between Thursday and Friday morning. Hit the treadmill first this time for 20 minutes of which I ran 18 minutes without stopping and averaged a pace of 10:30 minutes. I was very proud of myself. Then I did 100 calories on the rower followed by 10 minutes on the skier. Today was my best cardio day thus far. Plus a lot of city walking for errands.

Feb6Workout

Feb 7th
A good Saturday at As One. Adam’s classes are always challenging. In comparison from Jan 17th, today’s workout was more tolerable. It was the same format as my first class back: 60 second cardio, 40 second strength, 20 second burpees x 4 rounds. The rower sit-ups didn’t hurt so much today. Guess things are moving in the right direction for my strength and weight loss. These classes are super addicting because who wouldn’t want to feel this GOOD all the time?

Note: The Jacob's Ladder = the best challenge ever
Note: The Jacob’s Ladder = the best challenge ever

Feb 8th
DAY OFF. DAY OFF. DAY OFF.

I just couldn't get myself to physically move.
I just couldn’t get myself to physically move.

Feb 9th
Because I had a much needed day off yesterday, I signed up for Caitlin Krause’s 11:30am class. Her choreography was my favorite thus far. I especially liked the oblique strength moves today – they felt doable but challenging. On the whole, I didn’t need to modify as much which means I am steps closer to my pre-pregnancy strength.

SLT2.9workout

Feb 10th
Thank goodness for an Equinox close by. I hit up the cardio today. 100 calories on the rower, 15 minutes on the treadmill (Ran 1 mile +) and then about 25 minutes on the skier elliptical. I was pretty drenched after the 15 minutes on the treadmill. Once I switched over to the skier, I was almost going to stop after 12 minutes but with Day 29 in mind, I wanted to push through. I also took my little man for a walk in the afternoon — the ERGO is no joke. We had to walk slow.

Feb10Equinoxworkout

2015-02-10 14.57.24

Feb 11th
As I celebrate the last day of my 30 day challenge, We all know that it’s not really over. I just needed to create something for myself so that I stay committed and accountable to … ME! Instead of a hardcore workout today, I needed to focus on my impending TO-DO list for my upcoming stint in Mumbai, India. Halfway through these errands, Ryan (my son) wanted to be entertained so I took him for a walk and continued the rest of my work. Plus, I was sore from the last 2 days! Whenever SLT is involved, 2nd day soreness always kicks in. Anyway, I plan to do SLT tomorrow so that’s that :)

Feb11Workout

What I’ve learned:

1. Pregnancy is a marathon not a sprint. Postpartum is a marathon not a sprint. Life is a marathon not a sprint. Nothing that happens as fast as you’d like allows you to grow from the experience. For me, I learned that I have to be patient with each phase my body experiences.

2. Dietitians shouldn’t be singled out because of their profession. There shouldn’t be any expectations. The important thing to note is the ability to get back to your normal. I am lucky that I have the knowledge to figure things out but I shouldn’t be judged that I hired Liz. Sure I have a CPT but holding myself accountable is a lot harder with a baby in the picture.

3. No matter how active you are during pregnancy, the body doesn’t just push a baby out and then say, “hey, let’s go back to 9 months ago.” Given the fact that I was exercising 5x per week and staying extremely active by walking all the time and performing household chores, it’s taken me 6+ months to finally get some “mojo” back.

4. Focus on a wholesome diet. Extreme dieting isn’t a good idea for new mothers. The sleep deprivation plus breastfeeding require an adequate intake of at least 1800 calories if not more. However, the quality of your diet could and should be controlled. Enjoy seasonal salads, stay healthy with fresh vegetable soups, and incorporate lean protein sources into each meal.

5. Part of the reason I couldn’t push myself initially was due to the lack of sleep. For the types of workouts I love and the kind that my body thrives on, I would need at least 8-9 hours of sleep per night (sometimes even 10 hours for recovery). During the first 5 months of my son’s life, that kind of sleep was hard to achieve. Therefore, I was only able to exercise based on what and how frequently my body could handle.

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