Bye-Bye, Baby Fat
Just five months after the birth of her fourth child, Linda Toomey is back in shape.
Name: Linda Toomey
Weight: 129 lb
Pounds Lost: 16
The moment I knew I was a success: The day I weighed in at 137 pounds–1 pound less than my weight at the start of my fourth pregnancy.
I have four kids–ages 7 years to 6 months. Although having children has been the most fulfilling aspect of my life, I have to admit that four pregnancies haven’t exactly been generous to my figure. After packing 44 pounds on my 5-feet-4-inch frame during this last pregnancy, my prevailing concern was, My body will never be the same.
Eight years ago, before baby number one, I always had a flat stomach regardless of what I ate. I bounced back to my pre-pregnancy weight within 3 months the first time. With the subsequent pregnancies, losing it wasn’t quite so easy.
My starting weight steadily increased with each baby, and by the time I became pregnant with my fourth, I weighed 138–20 pounds heavier than my norm. That may not sound like much, but it was a handicap for a stay-at-home mom who chased after three kids every day. I didn’t have the stamina to push my children on their bikes and scooters, and my back was constantly aggravated from scooping up my toddler.
During my fourth pregnancy, I began obsessing about my weight. I gained more than I needed to, and I worried about how much heavier I was going to end up being. To make things worse, my husband began to drop inches on a program called the Abs Diet. To me, it hardly seemed like a diet: He was eating regular meals plus snacks–even ice cream! In 6 weeks, he dropped two pant sizes, and his back problems vanished.
Three months after my last baby, when I weighed 145 pounds, I decided to give the Abs Diet a try. I’d attempted to lose weight between pregnancies in the past with Weight Watchers and other plans for which I had to weigh and portion out meals in advance. I quickly learned that a houseful of kids does not lend itself to logging or preplanning anything. Needless to say, I never lasted more than a few days on these diets.
The Abs Diet program seemed doable precisely because it doesn’t require a lot of extra organizing. I eat three regular meals a day plus a snack 2 hours after every meal–whether or not I am hungry.
The meals are restricted only by what fits on one standard-size, 10-inch dinner plate–that is, no second helpings and no piling the plate high. Meals include lean meats, vegetables, beans, and whole grains. Yes, carbs are allowed, even encouraged! For snacks I opt for foods that require the least possible preparation such as celery with peanut butter, fruit smoothies (skim milk, yogurt, and frozen fruit), nuts, cottage cheese and fruit, and low-fat ice cream.
Practically everything except refined sugar, corn syrup, and unhealthy fats is permitted. Still, it isn’t easy to resist the chocolate chip cookies I bake for the kids. Fortunately, I’m allowed a once-a-week “cheat meal.” I store up my cravings from Monday through Saturday, knowing that I can eat cookies, cake, buffalo wings, or anything else I want on Sunday.
Ironically, remembering to eat is my biggest obstacle. It’s easy to forget to sit down for a snack when you’re attending to children. I used to go all day without eating and then cram it all in–and then some–at dinner. With the Abs Diet plan, the key to not overeating is to eat more often. To stick with it, I set my oven timer to go off 2 hours following each meal.
Burning Off the Fat
After 2 steady weeks of 3 squares plus 3 snacks, I was ready to tackle part 2: exercise. For a person who hadn’t worked out in 8 years, fitting in just 20 minutes 5 days a week for exercise seemed like a Herculean effort. Because I was still exhausted from nursing all night, mornings were out. During the day, I could hardly get 5 minutes to use the bathroom, let alone 20 to exercise. And though I was never a night person, I realized that the evening, right after the kids went to bed, was the most convenient time for me to work out.
Then I had to squeeze in 5 more minutes twice a week for the ab routine. As it turned out, watching Mommy exercise was entertainment for the kids, and I discovered I could do sit-ups just about anytime.
After only a week of interval training, walking, and weight training, my stamina doubled. And I was amazed by how much stronger I felt while lifting the baby. In about 2 months, I lost 16 pounds and 4½ inches around my waist and went from a size 12 to a 6. I also went from 36 percent body fat to a slim 26 percent. And I have a ton of energy. We usually hit a different park or pool every week. Try doing that with three young children and an infant!
The Abs Diet Plan
Every meal and snack Toomey eats includes at least two foods represented by this acronym:
Almonds and other nuts Beans and legumes Spinach and other green vegetables
Dairy (fat-free or low-fat ) Instant oatmeal (unsweetened, unflavored) Eggs (any style)Turkeyand other lean meats and fish
Peanut butter (all natural, sugar-free) Olive oil Whole grain breads and cereals Extra-protein (whey) powder Raspberries and other berries
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