Lean Mommy: Bond with Your Baby and Get Fit with the Stroller Strides Program
By Lisa Druxman
Motherhood. Welcome to the ultimate life-changing experience. As a new mom, no part of your life is recognizable, including your body, which is why you're now reading this book.
Being a mom can be the most wonderful and joyous time. But it's not always easy. Suddenly, on top of all your other normal obligations, you've got this new little one who trumps all other priorities! If you have a husband, other kids who still need your TLC, or another job among your responsibilities, it's no surprise that you feel overwhelmed, overworked, and, well, exhausted. And with society's focus on appearance, it's hard not to obsess on the physical aftermath of having a baby.
The one most likely to suffer from this scenario is you. If you're like most new mothers, you probably make yourself the last priority. Being a mom is all-encompassing. It's easy to become a martyr mom-giving up precious minutes for yourself, even though now is when you need me-time the most-not just to regain your pre-pregnancy shape, but to stay energized and healthy so that you can be the best mommy possible!
I'm a mom of two young kids. I've struggled through these pressures, too-and I continue to do so. As the owner of a national company and being a full-time mother, I find it extremely hard to practice what I preach. But on most days, I feel like I've mastered that juggling act. And through my company. Stroller Strides, I've helped tens of thousands of other struggling moms make it work, too. As a result, they look better and feel more confident than they ever have before (even before motherhood). You will read some of their inspiring testimonials throughout this book.
In the following pages, I will share with you the methods that have worked for Stroller Strides moms across the country. You'll see how becoming a Lean Mommy is not just a training of the body. It's a training of the mind. This book isn't about undertaking drastic dieting or boot-camp workouts to get back into shape. It's about getting more energy from food and exercise and overcoming the mental obstacles that block your ability to stay fit and make healthy choices. What's unique about this book is the focus on you being a positive role model for your family. If you don't do it, who will?
We all know what we are supposed to eat, and that we are supposed to exercise. So why don't we do it? The secret tool to achieving the body you want is changing the way you think to develop a health-oriented perspective on your body. It's time to get off the diet cycle and start living a balanced life-if for no other reason than to teach your children healthy living.
I grew up in Southern California in a loving family. Yet, I remember from a young age feeling the pressure to achieve a better body. I spent my teens and early twenties going from one extreme diet to another and obsessing about exercising. I spent hours dissecting what I ate and even longer logging in workout sessions. When I would let up from my rigid patterns, I would binge. Despite my discipline, I never looked the way I wanted to. I was in shape, but I weighed thirty-five pounds more than I do today.
I gradually realized that the way I was living was not healthy, either physically or mentally. So I decided to release the constant pressure I put on myself. I took away all the food rules I lived by, and I started picking foods that would not only fuel me, but that would taste good and not leave me feeling deprived. I cut back on workouts and changed my motivation to exercise: I now-exercised because I felt like moving, not to burn off as many calories as possible.
It worked. By relieving the anxiety I had felt toward exercise and eating, I became more at peace with myself. And by changing the behaviors that led to my unhealthy habits, the weight started coming off. It took time, conscious effort, and repeated attempts. But once I chose to live in a way that reaffirmed I wanted to be happy and fulfilled, rather than be a slave to what I looked like, my life improved dramatically. My personal training business became packed with clients when I started incorporating the same techniques that I used on myself. I created a program called L.H.A.N. (Learn Hating Awareness and Nutrition) to help other women achieve the same results. It was such a success that I began lecturing at international fitness conferences and renowned spas such as the Golden Door. Lean Mommy is based on this program.
The key to my success was using a psychological technique known as cognitive behavior therapy. In a nutshell, you pinpoint the thoughts behind your unwanted behaviors, and then change the way you think to improve the way you act. People by human nature want to avoid pain and will do anything to achieve pleasure. This can manifest in different ways. For some, the constant effort of regular exercise and continually making healthier food choices is perceived to be tough, or painful. So they stick to what seems easy, or pleasurable: being a couch potato and eating anything and everything that is fast and tasty. Others may perceive being overweight as painful and thin as pleasurable. So they will go to any extreme to get there: crazy diets, over-exercise, and questionable treatments, drugs, or dietary supplements.
When I made my life-affirming switch, pain and pleasure were redefined for me. Following extreme behaviors and eating unhealthful foods now brought me pain. And feeling strong, energized, and good about myself gave me pleasure. So, dieting and deprivation were out; health and acceptance were in. Slowly, but purposefully, I changed the behaviors in my life that didn't contribute to my health. In Lean Mommy, you will learn how to live the lean life and also focus on your emotional well-being.
My Best Lesson in Health ... Pregnancy
Although my perceptions and priorities were now in the right place, it really wasn't until I became pregnant that I had my true "a ha!" moment. That's when I realized what real health was all about. From the start, I was in awe of my pregnancy. I took better care of myself than I ever had. I chose good foods because I wanted to fuel my baby's growth. I exercised because I knew it would benefit the baby, but I didn't overdo it because I wanted to protect the baby. Everything I did was for my child-deciding not to get my hair colored (because of the negative effect of the chemicals) or getting a massage because I thought the relaxation would be good for the baby. I got more sleep, stressed less at work, and never missed a day of vitamins. I took better care of myself during my pregnancy than any other time of my life. And I was at my happiest.
From the moment Jacob was born, I wanted to be the best mom I could be. I continued to stay nourished and fit to have the strength for everything that breastfeeding and motherhood demanded. It dawned on me later: What I did for myself then is what all of us should do and how all of us should think, all of the time, for the rest of our lives, not just during pregnancy. This wasn't only the birth of a new life, it was the birth of a new mentality. It had been years since I got off the diet roller coaster, but it wasn't until I became a mom that I can truly say that I embraced my own health. Sometimes, what we won't do for ourselves, we will do for our children.
As Jacob grew older, I found myself continuing to make better personal choices with him in mind. Whether it was not eating candy in front of him or making sure that our weekend activities incorporated activity, I was very cognizant of how my actions would shape his future-whether he would enjoy food and exercise, or struggle with them, and whether he would be able to make good choices. I realized that the only way that I could pave the way for a healthful existence for my children was to live and believe it myself and model the lifestyle that I wanted them to learn.