Need to Tone up...DESPERATELY

Updated on November 05, 2008
J.S. asks from Springfield, MO
25 answers

Okay, moms. I'm desperate. After my first 2 kids were born, I bounced back to my pre-pregnancy size within 9 months or so. After my 3rd child was born, I didn't lose any of the weight, or the fat. I actually gained some weight and stuck with what I weighed when I had her. My fourth was born almost 4 months ago, and the same situation. I am now carrying around about 50 pounds more than what I was less than 5 years ago. And honestly, I don't care what I weigh, it's how I look. I don't expect to go back to a size 5 or 6. But I do want to have a waistline again. I eat right with minimal snacks, I exercise (I walk several miles each week, plus any exercises that I can do while I'm at home). Nothing is working for me! I'm not toning up at all! Does anyone have any favorite exercises for toning specific areas? I need to tone up everything from my neck to my knees...haha My most embarrassing area is my arms and upper torso. I couldn't wear tank tops all summer because there is so much fat up there. With 4 kids, there isn't much extra money for a gym membership, so I don't have access to the equipment. I'm giving myself a goal to lose around 30 pounds in the next 6 months. It's a lot, and kind of quickly, but my sister is getting married, and I really want to look nice to stand up with her. ANY ideas are greatly appreciated, even if I have to resort to weight loss aids. (Any thoughts on those will be taken into consideration as well.) Thanks so much for any thoughts!

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J.G.

answers from St. Louis on

I recommend reading the book "Water with Lemon" by Zonya Foco, RD. I went to a seminar with her & she teaches 8 habits that will help you lose weight even w/o exercise. I think her website is Zonya.com. Her book may be elsewhere also.
J.

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K.A.

answers from Kansas City on

What I used and use on occasion is a targeted toning cd, the one I have each routine is 10 minutes long and I have noticed some slimming...sadly it takes a long time to tone. My youngest is 8 and I'm still not back to a size I like. Just stick with it, watch what you eat.

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A.P.

answers from Kansas City on

I just got 30 Day Shred video by Jillian Michaels of Biggest Loser fame.It is awesome! I don't do it often enough, but I think if you stick with it, it would help in toning! Best thing is it is a 20 minutes DVD!

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P.P.

answers from Topeka on

You've received a lot of good advice about keeping up with the exercise and watching what you eat. I agree - you need to boost your metabolism - working out early in the a.m. helps me. It gets you going for the rest of the day. Additionally, when I had a lot of baby weight to lose many years ago - without really knowing about carbs etc. I went on a high protein diet - low carb - nothing white - no bread, no potatoes, no pasta. I also had five meals a day - the two in between meals were more like snacks - I would eat a hard-boiled egg and some lowfat cottage cheese. I basically ate salad, lean round steak, eggs, cottage cheese, lowfat milk - not much fruit (probably not good) and vegetables. I lost 20 pounds in about 2 months. I think if you watch your calories and keep around 1200/per day and go high protein and continue to exercise you'll do great!

J.G.

answers from St. Louis on

Fist to gym memberships the YMCA has great programs and childcare. They also have a need based discount.

Other than that you need to look at what you are eating, not just the calories and fat. I eat like a pig but I never gain more than a five pound flux. I rarely eat anything that isn't natural. Things that have been processed even if they are low calorie are harder for your body to digest. If you body doesn't know what to do with it it will store it as a default. The extra weight you are carrying is also slowing down your metablolism.

M.B.

answers from St. Louis on

Thats funny! Im in the same fat boat! I want to lose 30 lbs in 6 months too! The only gym around my neighborhood is $300 to join and then a monthly fee! I dont know what to do either. Im over the crazy diets and have also tried pills and exercise of course! No advice here, sorry maybe someone has the answers!

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A.S.

answers from Lawrence on

It sounds like you are doing the right things to help yourself. I wonder if you had your hormones and/or thyroid checked, what they might reveal.
I am a Pilates Instructor, and that has helped me greatly, prevent back ache, gain some energy and tone up! Blessed wife and mom of three, girl 7, boy 3, boy 9mo.
My mom and dad have had great success with cutting bread, pasta and rice from their diet. I had stomach/digestive issues for years and the Eat Right for Your Type book changed my life.
Just a quick thought.
Sorry I was so all over the place with my writing and topics.
Much luck to you!

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C.M.

answers from Kansas City on

Even if you are eating healthy and exercising, you might still be taking in more calories then you need compared to the amount of energy your body uses. If you are not gaining more weight then you are probably just balanced where you are. You need to either exercise more or eat less calories or a combination of both. You can cut your portion sizes (make sure you are not eatting the kids leftovers) and maybe start running some of those miles. Start slow with the running if you are not used to it. Run for a little bit and then walk again and slowly build up to more running. You could also try to find a stationary bike or something on craigslist or in the paper or something for cheap that would be a different and more intense workout. The exercise videos might help also because they get your body doing something that it is not used to doing. Switch things up in your exercise routine and but don't just completely cut out the walking. Start slowly with anything new though so you don't injure yourself. Good luck!

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A.S.

answers from Springfield on

There is an awesome web-site, Sparkpeople.com. It has tools so you can log your food, exercise, etc. It has exercise videos and tons of information on what to eat, how to stay motivated, recipes, etc. And so many great people to support you. And best of all it's free!

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C.R.

answers from St. Louis on

Once you are sure that your diet is correct - high protein, low complex carbs, cut fat intake, then you can work on exercise. Walking vigorously 4-5 times per week is a good start. For toning, I would suggest pilates or yoga. It is not strenuous & doesn't require much extra equipment (i.e. expense) to get started. Plus it will encourage you to work on the mind-body connection and lower the inevitable stress that comes from having four young kiddos. Good luck!

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M.A.

answers from St. Louis on

Hi Jenn,
I am right there with you honey!! I have a 14 year old a 5 year old and a 13 month old. The first 2 I gained 65 lbs each and managed to loose most of the weight although the 2nd one I always carried about 20 more pounds...which I would die for now. Since my last child with which I gained 75 lbs, I have managed to loose about 50. Problem was I was 40 lbs overweight to begin with before I got pregnant with the 3rd. Ok so last Jan I started doing Zumba. I'll tell you I danced my whole childhood and never has so much fun dancing in my life. I watched my calories and did Zumba 3 times a week for an hour each time ( I went to the YMCA but you can get a lot of Zumba songs and moves on youtube.com) and by August I had lost 50. I am 5 ft 3 in and should weigh no more than 120-125. I am well over it. Zumba is really fun and high calorie burning and the best part is it is easy. Look it up and watch some of the songs on youtube and try it. I cut my calories to about 1200-1500 a day. Your sort of hungry at first but you get used to it. Hope I have helped and sorry for the long winded response! Let us know how it is going! BTW I got a job part time at the YMCA...I'm talking part time 3-6 hours a month! And with the paycheck I got a free membership for me and just $24 a month for the rest of the family. The kids get 25% off of activities at the Y and I met some of the greatest people I know there! Hope this helps and please let me know if you need any other info!!Good luck!

-M. A.

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C.S.

answers from St. Louis on

Jenn,

After I had my third baby I had about 40 LB's to loose. She is 10 months now and I am below my goal weight and back into those size 4 jeans!! Here's what I did. I started by taking a realistic look at what I was eating. This was hard for me because I really thought that there was nothing wrong with my eating habits. I kept a food journal. It was soooo hard for me. Knowing that everything I put into my mouth had to be written down in my journal put things into perspective. I really started looking at nutritional values and calories before snacking. My journal consisted of water intake, breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack - what I ate and how many calories it totaled. Another thing that i read in a fitness magazine that really hit home for me was this: every lick, taste, bite and nibble should count for 25 calories. Wow! i could pack on a few hundred calories just in cooking dinner! Wash hands frequently when making dinner to prevent this from happening. The next step was the gym membership. i don't have an expendable income, either, so this was a bit of a stretch for my family. We chose to join the community center near our home so that our children could swim for free and play basketball. It wasn't just something for me. The entire family would benefit. Ours was $555 for a year if paid upfront so we put some of our tax return toward our health. My daughter loves the daycare there and the ladies are wonderful. The next thing I did was use the membership...everyday! 5 days a week I went to the gym until I hit my goal weight. I did weight training 2 days and cardio 3 days. I love to read so i would use this time to enjoy a novel while on the eliptical or bike. It makes the time go faster. The one thing that finally made me hit my goal weight was once the school year started, i began walking my kids to and from school every day. I live 1/2 mile from school so this was easy. It doesn't take much time and I add 2 miles to my workout everyday without feeling it. Not to mention I get to spend great quality time with my kids and the baby loves to be outside. Realistically, I get to the gym about 3 days a week now and maintain with little effort. One other trick that I used to help tone my lower body was to do leg exercises while brushing my teeth. 4 minutes a day of leg exercises will really tone you up!!!

Good luck! You can do it. Just remember you are worth it and your children deserve a happy, healthy mommy.

Chris

PS- Don't forget to push yourself!

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M.G.

answers from St. Louis on

I've learned a lot about weightloss watching my husband over the past year and half. To date, he has lost 150 pounds. At times he would reach a plateau a what use to work for him no longer did. At that point he'd change things up with his diet and his workout, because the last thing he wanted was to stop losing weight when he had still a lot of weight to lose. I learned that it's useless to say, "i want to lose weight in my mid-section." What he's doing now seems to be wokrking wonders, and approved by his doctor.... He eats every other day. Not too complicated either. Justeat sensibly on your eat day and skip food the next. In addition the more cardio exercise you can add, the quicker you can lose it. If your walking now, try to add another day or just 10 minutes to your walk. Hope this helps... it's done wonders for my husband. And remember if something isn't working, change it up again. Our metabolism slows as we get older, and sometimes we need to 'trick' it as a way to jumpstart it again. Good Luck!

A.M.

answers from Kansas City on

Hi please email me at [email protected]____.com. I'd like to give you more information regarding the Kintecs Bands by the company Myosource. You can check out the website www.mysource.com. I used the bands during both my pregnancies and afterwards. I love them. After my second child was born I used them again during workouts and house cleaning. I lost an extra 2 pants size in my legs alone.

Best part about the bands is that you don't even have to really work out for them to tone and firm. You can wear them while you are doing housework. It's awesome. Let me know if you have any questions.

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A.M.

answers from Kansas City on

What helped me drop my baby weight plus some was jogging. There is a wonderful program called the couch to 5k program (http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml) and it is WONDERFUL. It really eases you into running, it is honestly for people who have never run before. And the great thing about running is it's free! It costs you nothing! Plus you get some time to yourself. Really, you can do toning exercises, but without some really good cardio you aren't going to get the result you want. Good luck!

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A.L.

answers from St. Louis on

I would recommend Strollerfit. It's a fullbody workout that you do with your child (in the stroller). Everyone else in the class has recently had a child.
I've found it to be a great workout, and an easy way to meet other Moms, and not worry about childcare.

If you are in st Louis area, the classes I go to are at the ST Louis Mills mall for the winter.
It's a great group of Mom's and a great workout.

Here's their website you can use to find a class near where you live (or buy DVDs etc):
http://www.strollerfit.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.view...

They have a "Restore the core" DVD that I've just started doing that is supposed to help tighten up the sagging abs that come with pregnancy. It's a really good ab workout.

Good luck!

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E.M.

answers from St. Louis on

Check with your doctor, could be your thyroid.

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M.C.

answers from Kansas City on

This is going to sound crazy but I love an info-mercial workout. It's Mitch Gaylord's 3 Day Melt. It doesn't work in 3 days(haha) But in about 6 weeks I went from size 10's being snug to 8's fitting beautifully. My hubby also did it and he lost 22 lbs & 2 sizes in that same time (men are so lucky!) Anyway, I think it was a reasonable price, but I bought it last spring so not sure now. The website is www.3daymelt.com. Good Luck!

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A.K.

answers from St. Louis on

Congratulations on a wonderful family! I am not a personal trainer or nutritionist but I will share some advice. You gained weight and lost tone over a long period of time, so please don't expect to lose weight and gain tone quickly. It is going to take a lot of work.

A friend of mine and I were talking about all the diets out there and when I start hearing about all these new wonderful things, I go back to the basics. Please visit www.mypyramid.gov
It is wonderful website for adults and children. You will find more information than you could possible use. But, the help on a well balanced, calorie specific diet is amazing.

As for exercises, look for those that use your body weight - sit ups, pull ups, push ups, squats, etc. You won't need a gym and you can do them almost anywhere, anytime. Walking is great, but unless you are really going fast, probably aren't getting much cardiovascular or weight loss benefit. Also, you need to increase your effort periodically or your body will just get used to that amount of exercise. You won't see progress unless you push yourself more. You should also be getting your cardiovascular workouts AT LEAST 4 times per week. Walk sometimes, ride your bike, run, swim, whatever. Speed housecleaning counts too!

My downfall in my exercise program is consistently and that is important. Obviously some exercise is better than no exercise, but I would be in better shape if I was more consistent in my workouts - time, not exact exercises. So, try to be consistent.

Good luck!

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K.B.

answers from Kansas City on

Your body will decide to pick where it wants to lose the fat and inches. I like sparkspeople.com and the biggest loser for eating plans and exercise ideas. It's a very realistic way to lose the weight.

I do the workout tapes at home. Amazon is a good place to find them with reviews.

You want a balance of weight training and cardio. Invest in some hand weights, those resistance bands and a body ball. You can do a ton of different things with these things. My favorite is doing squats. Place the ball behind you on a wall. Hold the hand weights and do squats.

Also... those weightloss aides really don't work, and can actually do more damage than good. It's about replacing one habit with a healthy one. We think we are eating the right things but you really have to pick apart what you are eating and drinking. The two websites I gave you have really good examples of what you should eat. You have to find that balance of food intake and exercise.

Best of luck to you.

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K.J.

answers from Wichita on

Losing 30 pounds in 6 months is not healthy. Have you tried jogging? You will tone up and loose the pounds fairly quickly. Buy some hand weights too and incorporate the weights into your work out. You need to lift weights to boost your metaolism. W/o a gym membership, it is going to be tough to achieve what you want. I ran a 10k 4 years ago and was never a runner prior to training for the race. I trained for 4 months and finished the race in a fairly decent time. I also lost 7 pounds. I did not keep up with running because I have tendonitis in my knee. Running is not the best for your bones and joints, but you will drop the pounds quicker.

Also check in to Weight Watchers. I know several people who have joined Weight Watchers and lost a lot of weight and have kept it off.

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S.W.

answers from St. Louis on

Jenn, I use the Walk Away the Pounds video's by Leslie Sansone. She has one set that uses light weights (she says use 2lb I use 3lb) to help burn calories and tone up arms. I love it! There is a 1 mile, 2 mile and 3 mile version. You can buy them at Wal-Mart (I got my sister a set of the videos) or you can go to her website and order them. She has lots of videos and they are all easy to do, low impact (I have bad knees) and effective. I'm also trying to loose 20lb so I'm there with you sister! good luck!

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M.D.

answers from St. Louis on

Jenn,

Ok, if there is nothing wrong with your cortisone leveles,or your thyroid levels (haveing kids can do that) then I also suggest trying the book "Slow Burn" My husband took off 25-30 pounds in about 5 months. He only exercises 1 time per week. I have also started it with tonning in mind. My arms are starting to look good and I have maintained my weight. I do not diet and I am lucky if I go 1 time a week. I probably hit the Gym and do this plan 4-5 times a month. The trick is the order of the exercises. It causes your body to continue to burn fat after your done exercising. In the back of the book it tells you how to do it at home!! I love that part. None of it is hard. it is only 1/2 hour long (give or take) and you don't sweat too much (I do it at lunch). I have given it to some of my patients and we are all seing results. The theory and scientific data behind it is correct.

Good luck!

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N.C.

answers from St. Joseph on

I would try and use a diet supplement to help you along. I would say you are doing everything else right. You are staying as healthy as you can. I gained 20 lbs in a short period after I stopped nursing my second child. I wasn't happy. Still trying to work that off but haven't really found the time. A friend of mine tried Slim for Life. She liked the program and lost about 30 lbs doing that. You eat normal food but you just learn to not eat so much and no special sauces or anything like that. I am not sure how much it costs though.

Hope this helps. Hang in there and good luck with your goal.
N.

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M.J.

answers from St. Louis on

Hi, Jenn! I would agree on Sparkpeople.com. I began entering my calories, fat, carbs and protein on June 27 and have lost 21 lbs already! My goal was to lose 22 by Halloween, but I was one pound off. I am still working on that last pound. It took me about a month before I got into exercising and then it was like an addiction. I love it now. I do a 30 min. walking Richard Simmon's Take a Walk tape or Billy Blanks 20 min. Tae Bo Kick Boxing video or Walk Away the Pounds video's by Leslie Sansone which is a 15 min. mile that actually goes 16 minutes and does side steps, knees lifts, kick backs as well as the walking. You also move your arms around. I work up a sweat every time. I also go to the YMCA gym and do ab work and the arc trainer for 40 minutes.

You have to make sure you are eating the correct amounts of food, too. Sparkpeople will make sure of that. I never realized I wasn't eating ENOUGH fat and protein. Who would of ever thought???!!

Good luck and congrats on the family.

Melanie/rumbamel(my name on Sparkpeople.com

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