How I lost my baby weight and got in shape for Resident Evil: The final chapter
October 12, 2015
This year has been full of more “ups” than I could ever hope for – the birth of my daughter, Vivienne, and my signing onto RESIDENT EVIL: THE FINAL CHAPTER among them. As a result of these two amazing life moments butting up against one another, this year has also contained a mandatory “down” – Weight.
When I found out I’d be dying my hair red again to step into the character of ‘Claire Redfield,’ I knew I’d also need to shred the 50lb baby weight I’d packed on carrying my second child.
The way that my body looks is an essential part of my job. What goes up while pregnant, must come down to believably play a woman struggling to survive in the desert of a zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic world where there just plain isn’t food!
Losing weight is hard, and it’s often difficult to make it all fit (pun intended). The feeling of not wanting to take time for yourself is something all mothers face, which I especially experience when shooting. But I LOVE to eat, so I have to make time for exercise. I often work a 12-hour day only to return home, put my babies to sleep, and only then pay penance for the enormous cheeseburger I ate at lunch by spending 30 minutes in the gym. It’s not my favorite thing at times, but it’s how I’ve chosen to manage my ever-intensifying addiction to eating things, and fortunately I’ve found the balance. Those moments when I push myself to sweat remind me that this is (a part of) my job and that I love it enough to put in the extra hours. I also believe that sweat keeps ones skin looking it’s best.
Whenever I find myself struggling to motivate (which is not infrequent) I stop thinking about it and start doing it. Usually, if I can just start, I can make it to 40 minutes, and I’ve never once regretted working out. How many things can you say that about? Between the demands of my 2 kids and my crazy career, it’s the only thing other than sex that I sometimes resist getting into but am always – ALWAYS – happy I did. That said, I take Sundays off…of exercising. A mom deserves a treat and the end of her week!
I should say that the plan below only pertains to my life 5 months ago after giving birth, and I wouldn’t recommend employing it any sooner. For the first 3 months after giving birth, I basically just ate healthy and breast-fed my daughter, adding in long walks and pilates at 8 weeks. I cherished this time, and I’m glad I allowed myself to enjoy it. Breast feeding is something I’ve loved in both my pregnancies, not only because it deepened my connection with my children but also because it helped me strip off the weight. I never believe the weight will come off, but somehow it does. Breast feeding is reported to burn 500 calories a day, and was a big part of how I shed those all-important first pounds. If you can make it work, do it!
Tragically, breast feeding isn’t a total solution, so the months leading up to filming – when it was time to get serious about shredding those last, tough pounds – I adopted the plan below. SO…
Here are some home-tested techniques for getting that bod back (or even for the 1st time!) These rules work for me but keep in mind everyone’s different and your plan should suit you and your fitness level. By all means, experiment and adjust as these are all just options which I hope inspire you to find your own path to your own goals. Personally, I find most articles about actresses losing weight to be unbearably annoying, but I still read them and I wish I could do it like they do. So, I bare myself here….
Now back to my current work/out: Running from Zombies in South Africa!
I worked with my friend Juliette at JKZen Fitness, who helped me with my 50lb loss. We started with private pilates and then I added hot yoga and treadmill workouts to help me shred those last 20 vanity pounds.
2x/week: Pilates with Juliette, focusing on core, back and booty. This part was essential to (re) teach my body how to be strong and aligned after giving birth.
1x/week: 60 minute hot yoga flow class
3x/week: Treadmill as follows – Increase incline to 15% and set pace to 3.7 Miles Per Hour (MPH) then walk for 35 minutes. Then, reduce incline to Zero and do 1 minute at 8.8 MPH followed by 2 minutes at 4.2 MPH and continue to repeat this cycle until the digital display indicates 500 calories burned – for me, this takes about 50 minutes overall. When I don’t feel like the treadmill, I go for a long jog or uphill hike in the local mountains.
First of all, I drink copious amounts of water all day long and I chug huge glasses to stay quenched. I’ve finally thrown in the towel on juice cleanses – the last time I tried, I drank all of my juice for the day by 1pm! I’ve accepted it, if I’m eating a meal, I need solid food. That said, I use green juices in my diet to fill the gaps in the day.
I try to cut down on all grains, even whole/alternative ones except for breakfast or a small amount at lunch and, while I don’t cut dairy, I do cut down on cheese. Oh, and obviously, no processed anything. Ever!
Breakfast: 1 cup cooked oatmeal with almond milk, sprinkled with gogi berries and drizzled with maple syrup OR my Apple Cinnamon Bran Muffins OR and ‘egg-in-the-hole’ OR whole milk yogurt with fresh berries, nuts, chia seeds… PLUS one large cup of coffee with Silk vanilla creamer.
Mid-Morning: Green Juice – I’ve been drinking Suja’s of late. I love their blends because they’re mostly all vegetable, which means less wasted calories.
Lunch: A lentil salad with arugula OR roasted salmon with greens OR my Chicken Paillard with Bocconcini Salad (Great as leftovers!)
Mid-Afternoon: Iced coffee and a banana slathered with almond butter OR carrots, cucumbers and hummus. Caffeine is a must for me to make it through life with 2 young kids and a busy career but if you are more disciplined than me, opt for antioxidant-rich roobios- or green- tea. This is my toughest time not to eat 14 brownies.
Dinner: I try to eat around 5:30 because I’m starving by this time. Occasionally I have one very, very, very large glass of wine (it’s really two glasses…) Then half a NY Steak, sautéed spinach and ½ of a dark-chocolate bar. (Dark-chocolate just doesn’t count, or at least that’s what I tell myself!) Or I make a double batch of my Ricotta Meatballs (with just turkey), which I can then serve for a few nights. Or my nutritious, velvety Carrot Ginger soup.