One of the hottest moms in Hollywood, Mariska Hargitay, lost 40 pounds and got her pregnancy body back in four months. How did she do that? Here is a slightly condensed version of her recent interview with Self.
Note: To find out what she ate when she was pregnant, click on Mariska Hargitay’s Pregnancy Diet.
Law & Order: SVU‘s Mariska Hargitay After the baby: “How I Lost 40 pounds.”
Just six months ago, Mariska Hargitay couldn’t fit into her jeans – and she couldn’t have been happier about it. “Nobody wanted to be pregnant more than me,” says Hargitay, 43.
“I was overwhelmed by my lack of energy,” she says. “All I could do to survive was to eat.” (At one point, she had an inexplicable craving for a hamburger with Russian dressing.) “With all the things I was balancing, I wasn’t going to deprive myself,” she says.
Hargitay’s 28-inch waist quickly expanded, and by the third trimester, she had gained 54 pounds, roughly double what doctors recommend. She also contracted gestational diabetes, which meant adjusting her diet.
In retrospect, she says she would have tweaked her unrestrained eating. “First time pregnant, you’re like, I gotta eat more! I have to make sure he has enough of every single food group! I did get into eating too much.”
“It was weird getting bigger, but that just meant I was going to be a mom,” she says. “To me, the weight gain was a badge of honor.” Her husband, actor Peter Hermann, was incredibly supportive, she says.
“Here I was, more than 50 pounds overweight, and Peter made me feel like Gisele. He’d just stare at my belly in awe.”
Little August, who weighed a whopping 10 pounds, 9 ounces, was delivered by cesarean section, and Hargitay’s limited mobility afterward gave her pause. “That was one thing that made me think I’ve got to get this body back in tip-top fighting shape,” she says.
That’s why, last September, she stepped into Peak Performance gym in New York City to begin a three-workouts-a-week schedule with trainer Jay Wright.
“I hadn’t worked out for a year, and the longer you don’t work out, the harder it is to start,” says Hargitay, who was a bit wobbly as she lifted weights during her first session. “I got intimidated. I’m used to being really good at stuff, so if I couldn’t do something, it would depress me.”
The 55-minute plan Wright devised begins with stretching and a core warm-up of push-ups and lunges. “I can feel myself each time getting more limber,” Hargitay says.
Next, she lifts, swings and squats with Russian kettlebells, then pushes or pulls a weighted sled across the gym floor and ends with five minutes of ab moves.It’s a grueling routine, but Hargitay’s desire to prove herself kept her going back.
“The athlete in me steps up to a challenge really quick. So when Jay started saying things like, ‘You get out of it what you put into it,’ I thought, Oh, I’ll get something out of it all right! You’ll see what I put into it! By the fourth or fifth session, I couldn’t wait to get there.”
Because she is breast-feeding, Hargitay has cleaned up her diet, which has given her more energy and helped her slim down. She generally follows two rules. First, no deprivation. “I’m not good with no. You say I can’t have a steak?
Watch me eat this steak.” And second, stick with unprocessed, whole food when you can. She eats fruit and egg whites for breakfast, huge salads with interesting veggies (zucchini, fennel, roasted garlic) for lunch and lean protein, such as fish, with veggies for dinner.
As a result of her new exercise and eating plans, Hargitay’s body-and attitude-have changed dramatically. Within four months of giving birth, she dropped about 40 pounds-and was continuing to lose.
“My arms are really strong. My legs have changed. I always joke that I have no ass muscles, I’m no Flo Jo, but now I can see definition in my butt.”