Like many new moms, 29-year-old Cora Coady has had trouble losing her baby weight. ‘You look at these celebrities, and they’e back in their pre-pregnancy jeans in weeks,’ she says. ‘I gained 40 pounds with Beatrix, and initially lost some weight after she was born. But the scale stuck at 150 pounds.’
On a spring day when Cora, who is five feet six inches, says she was feeling unattractive, she read about the Vichy Best Health Challenge, our makeover for body and mind. (Vichy partnered with Best Health to bring readers this challenge because they believe what we believe: that good health is beautiful.) Cora wanted in. ‘I looked at myself sideways in the mirror and still looked pregnant,’ she says.
Over the next few months, Cora will have the benefit of an exercise program designed by celebrity trainer Bruce Krhan; nutrition help from registered dietitian Sue Mah; life-balance advice from Susan Biali (who is a medical doctor and life coach); a skincare consultation from Vichy’s Faouzi Berradia; and a beauty makeover.
Pre-baby, Cora exercised diligently, doing DVDs at home or jogging, and she walked several kilometres each day for work. ‘I only recently realized how much exercise it had taken for me to maintain my figure.’ On maternity leave since March from her job as an independent living skills specialist with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind‘where she helps clients adapt their lives to accommodate loss of vision’she hasn’t been as active, mainly only going for walks with Beatrix.
After giving birth, Cora experienced the baby blues. Plus, she had difficulty breastfeeding at first and developed mastitis, a painful infection of the breast tissue. ‘I was really rundown and tired. For a few weeks I barely had more than two hours of sleep at night,’ she says. When Beatrix started sleeping through the night, life improved. ‘But I still find it hard to get time for me. Beatrix comes first.’
Being short of time and energy are Cora’s biggest challenges to taking better care of herself. That’s where we come in: Follow her progress as our experts help her’and you’reach that goal.
When Bruce met Cora, he knew what she had to work on immediately: ‘Her posture, with a slightly slumped upper back, shows she’s weak in her posterior chain [glutes, hamstrings, lower and mid back]’which is very common in women who have recently given birth.’
Bruce designed Cora’s program to help her increase muscle strength and endurance, and kick-start her metabolism. ‘The exercises work all major muscle groups, and that will result in an increased caloric burn.’
And he’s adamant about one thing: In order to see results, Cora’s mantra must be: Nutrition, nutrition, nutrition! ‘All the exercise in the world can’t help if you aren’t managing what you eat. You can’t out-train a poor diet,’ says Bruce. ‘Men get away with sneaking pizza and beer into their diet more easily. For women, 80 percent of the weight-loss battle is food. You can have ‘cheat’ nights, but make sure you exercise and earn your cheat.’
A gym membership doesn’t fit Cora’s budget, and she needs exercises she can do at home between breastfeedings and while Beatrix naps. Cora’s goal is to lose at least 10, but no more than 20, pounds.
What is more important to her is toning up and improving her posture. ‘I’d rather be fitter than thinner,’ she says. Bruce agrees wholeheartedly with her goal.
For Cora, this challenge couldn’t have come at a better time. ‘I want more energy. When you’re out of shape, anything physical takes so much more effort and you feel miserable. I want to feel good about my body again.’
This article was originally titled "A whole-life makeover," in the September 2010 issue of Best Health. Subscribe today to get the full Best Health experience’and never miss an issue!’and make sure to check out what’s new in the latest issue of Best Health.