Q: My husband wants me to end my gym membership because I don't go. But I'll never get started if it's canceled. Should I give up on my dream of losing the baby weight?
A: Definitely don't give up on your dream, but let's try to keep a grip on reality. You say you never go to the gym, so I must tell you that your husband is right. The membership is not working out. You're giving your money away and receiving nothing in return. And, as an added bonus, you get to keep your postdelivery pounds. What a bargain!
You can make a better deal for yourself, however, if you realize why you aren't going to the gym. For example, you may not have a partner who can give you an hour of babysitting-oh, excuse me, "parenting." Or maybe your baby isn't sleeping through the night, so you can barely make it to the shower, much less to the gym. Or maybe-drumroll, please-you just...don't...want...to...go! Once you discover the problem, you can try to fix it (enlist your husband to pull his weight so you can lose yours), wait it out (once your baby starts sleeping longer, you might be able to wake up earlier), or just fuhgeddaboudit (you've hated gyms since junior high, so embrace that).
If exercising at a fitness center is impossible right now for reasons of logistics or psychology, you can still achieve your weight-loss goal. My simple advice (which I swear I will heed very soon myself) is to start slow, but just start. Your routine can be as structured as using a workout tape every other day or as casual as a set of sit-ups and taking a brisk stroll with your baby before dinner.
A fitness playdate is another option, where like-minded moms meet at someone's house for a workout of sit-ups, push-ups, and patty-cake. My friend did a new-mom version of The Biggest Loser, where everyone put in ten bucks at the first weigh-in and then met weekly until the end, when someone won the whole pot.
Whatever you choose to do, make sure you incorporate healthy eating into the program (go to Babytalk.com and click on "Love Your New-Mom Body" for tips). Once you start seeing results, you may even want to rejoin the gym. Either that or you'll get pregnant again.
Babytalk contributing editor Kitty O'Callaghan is a mom of two boys and a girl in White Plains, New York.