We all know Jillian Michaels as a fitness and nutrition expert, and watching her on “The Biggest Loser” inspired many of us to get off the couch and move. Now this power mom of two wants to help women have the healthiest pregnancy and baby possible. In her new book, Yeah Baby!, Jillian gives you the 411 on how to have the healthiest and best pregnancy ever. From before the bump to early pregnancy, and beyond the delivery, Jillian shares all you need to know to enjoy this time and how to bounce back after pregnancy.
Jillian took a few minutes to share a few thoughts about pregnancy, fitness and how to empower kids to live a healthy life.
What advice do you have for new moms who feel like our discipline has been impacted because of kids with immediate needs? How do we achieve that balance?
First off, lose the word “discipline.” It’s natural for the mother to be merged with the infant because the infant cannot care for themselves. However, you also have the notion of “it takes a village.” Ask for help. It’s okay to say to your sister, to your best friend, to your spouse, to your parents, to your in-laws, to hire a sitter to take the kids for a couple of hours, and you go do yoga with your friends or have a mommy lunch. So instead of discipline, I would say permission and the ability to be vulnerable enough to ask for help.
How can we raise confident kids who are healthy and happy with their body?
It starts with you. It’s not what you say, it’s what you do. Because my kids see me doing pushups on YouTube or Facebook, my son wants to show me the new pushup he came up with. Or my kids watch Beyoncé do Formation and dance at the Super Bowl halftime show, and think they want to do what she does. They aspire to be like those people, so make fitness something aspirational that has a long-term end result they’re passionate about. I also like to tell them their social network is outside. Swim in the pool. Jump on a trampoline. Go play in the dirt. Walk the dog around. Get out of the house.
After pregnancy and giving birth, it sometimes feels overwhelming to lose weight. How do you start?
The best thing to do is during the first six weeks postpartum — and depending upon your delivery — is a walking regimen. You build up very gradually, very slowly, from there. Next, have very realistic expectations. And finally, what you can do is eat clean. I’m not advocating a drastic crash diet, which will compromise your milk supply if you should choose to breastfeed. But start watching the quantity of the food that you’re eating. With exercise, start with 20 minutes a day and do it three times a week. Do things like a postnatal yoga class, bar class or mat Pilates. And then from there, once you’ve participated in a fitness regimen for a couple of months and you’ve gotten that diet back under control.
What was your biggest challenge you faced as far as balancing health and fitness after becoming a mom?
It’s definitely is a time thing. Before kids, I would work all day and then go to the gym. When I had kids, I didn’t do that because I was thinking, “Wait a second, they’re going to bed in two hours or three hours. Between the gym, the class, the home, you get, what, an hour?”
I started to piece together a schedule where I’d find pockets of time and workout then. For example, my mom will watch them on Saturdays so I could take a yoga class. There may be a night or morning I don’t see them. Or I try to schedule a workout on a lunch break in the middle of the day. I started to piece it together. It’s not always ideal. It’s not the day where I would go and take the 90-minute yoga class. Sometimes it’s just 20 minutes in my living room. It won’t be as perfect as it used to be, but it’s still better than nothing. The hard part of learning to find that balance is realizing it’s not going to be perfect. You can’t make everything perfect, but it will be enough.
What’s been your biggest health and fitness challenge during or after pregnancy? What would you ask Jillian Michaels? Tell us in the Comments below.
— Leah R. Singer