For actress Rebecca Romijn, giving birth to twin girls was the easy part. Losing the 60-plus pounds she put on? Not so much. Here's what finally worked to get her slim, strong, and in the best shape of her life.
Not every celebrity mom magically morphs back into a size 2 within weeks of having a baby. Actress Rebecca Romijn readily admits that it was a struggle to drop the more than 60 pounds she gained with twin daughters Dolly and Charlie, now 3. "Losing that weight was probably the hardest thing I've ever done in my life," says Rebecca, 39, who stars in the Tyler Perry comedy Good Deeds. "I had to change the way I worked out, the way I ate -- everything."
As you see on these pages, she succeeded brilliantly. In fact, Rebecca says she is fitter now than ever. "I'm stronger, I have more energy, and I feel better, too," she says, settling into a banquette at the London NYC hotel in New York City to share the secrets of her success with FITNESS. "I was proud to get back into a bikini!"
Okay, we're dying to know: How did you finally lose the baby weight?
Everything I did before I got pregnant -- like Pilates, which I had done for about 14 years -- didn't work anymore. I had to find a completely different way to challenge my body. A friend suggested I try Bikram yoga. At first the idea of doing a 90-minute workout in a 105-degree room sounded like torture. But the sweating is exactly what I became addicted to. My body changed dramatically almost immediately. Within three classes I noticed less belly fat. My knees and legs are stronger than ever now; my arms have definition for the first time in my life; and my posture is much, much better. I also feel completely energized from all of the deep breathing. I leave class relieved of any anxiety I went in with, and the sweating and detoxifying make my skin feel great. I can't recommend it enough.
What's your typical workout week like?
I do Bikram three days a week, and I run after my twins every day -- a workout in itself! I was doing yoga five days a week, but then I started to realize that my body was fatigued and my back was hurting. I think it's important to listen to your body and know when you're overdoing it.
Do you feel guilty leaving your girls to work out?
That's been a huge challenge since I became a mom. Mother's guilt is no joke! I feel it every time I leave them to go exercise. Now that the girls are in preschool, it's easier. I go as soon as I drop them off at school. As a mom it's very important to take care of yourself physically and mentally. You're no good to anyone unless you do. There are days when I rush out to a yoga class just as I'm starting to feel like I might be losing my mind.
How did you change your diet?
After eating more throughout my pregnancy and while I was nursing for eight months, I forgot how much I was supposed to eat to keep my weight in check. Having a little bit of chocolate after dinner was turning into too much chocolate every night after dinner -- or too much wine or too many pancakes. So I went on a major diet about eight months ago. I cut out starch, dairy, fat, red meat, alcohol, and sugar.
What could you eat?
Lean fish, lots of sashimi, spinach, salad with lemon juice and salt and pepper, and chicken breast. Eventually I started having red meat again, and that's when I got the biggest energy surge.
What was the toughest thing for you to give up?
Just being on a diet was weird for me. I had never been on one in my life, and suddenly I was counting calories and measuring my food. Cutting out sugar was definitely the hardest. The first week I thought I was going to die. The cravings were bad. But after that, it was easy.
Did your husband, Jerry, go on the diet with you?
No. He was heading to New York to start rehearsals for a role on Broadway. That actually made it easier for me. Every meal with Jerry [O'Connell] includes wine and dessert, which I love. Before we had kids, I gained weight from eating like that. But I was happy and in love, and my clothes still fit. Jerry liked how I looked. He's very much a "there's more to hold on to" kind of guy.
Do you and Jerry work out together?
We love to take long bike rides. We have a tandem bike, and we go up in the hills near our home.
Do you two get competitive when it comes to sports?
Jerry is very show-offy when he's good at something, and he's pretty much good at everything. But he's been doing Bikram yoga for about a year now, and he isn't very flexible. I'm happy there's one thing I'm better at than he is.
The secret to a killer workout
"For cardio, you have to have good music. I love being on the elliptical and playing my music loud enough that I can't hear myself breathing. If you hear how heavily you're breathing, you won't push yourself to go harder."
My worst excuse
"I used to blame my clumsiness on being tall, but now I realize I was clumsy because I wasn't strong. Today I see a huge difference in my balance."
If I didn't work out
"I'd be a depressed, miserable person."
Why I'll never pose for Playboy, no matter how many times they ask me
"I don't want to dis the magazine or the beautiful women in it -- some of whom are my friends -- but I would never do it. And now that I'm a mom of two girls, I definitely would never go that route. Maybe it's the turtleneck and long johns-wearing girl in me who likes to be covered up, but I'll always say no!"
Original article: Fitness Magazine 03-2012