CAMBRIDGE, Ont. — The Buff Mom didn’t always live up to her advance billing.
Leslie Gordon Christie says she was a pudgy child who ate poorly. And in both of her recent pregnancies, the svelte 34-year-old blond topped 200 pounds.
Today, she’s back to a trim 117 pounds — but it wasn’t easy, even though she knew exactly what she had to do.
“I said I’d get back into my wedding dress. It took seven months,” she said.
Viewers of CTV Southwestern Ontario (formerly CKCO) television news knew how big she grew — she was on air until her son Allister was born 10 months ago.
With maternity leave ending, she quit her television news job in December. Instead, she’s planning to expand her part-time fitness training work into a full-time career as a motivational fitness coach specializing in helping women who have recently had a baby.
“I want to take all my talents and transform people,” she said.
She also quit the six o’clock news to spend more time with Allister and Carter, 2. Her husband is local CTV news anchor Kyle Christie. They’ve lived in Cambridge since 2007.
A Rhode Island native, she grew up in Thunder Bay, Ont., in an Italian family that loved fantastic tasting food that wasn’t always so healthy.
At age 11, she read a fitness magazine in a checkout line and started to exercise. It became a lifestyle for her as she slimmed and toned.
By the time she was studying communications at Carleton University, she was a certified fitness trainer, leading exercise classes.
“It’s one of the things I’ve always done. I’ve joined a lot of gyms. It’s my fun escape.”
After journalism studies at Humber College, she landed part-time work at Toronto-based Oxygen magazine, writing about fitness and health. Then she picked up full-time television news work in Thunder Bay, before coming south again in 2000 to work at CTV in Kitchener.
Three years ago, she started offering Better after Baby fitness programs. She now runs boot camp classes five days a week, mixing heart-building aerobic exercise with weight training and a bit of mutual support to stick with the get-fit program.
Success in losing weight and boosting fitness depends mostly on mindset, self-confidence and setting goals.
“Let’s start to look at building from the inside out,” she said.
“You have to want something really badly to make it happen. Otherwise, your habits will take over.”
Stay in control of your hunger at parties by always eating a full breakfast, including foods such as eggs and oatmeal, she advises.
Eat five or six small meals a day, even if you’re not hungry — that prevents hunger pangs from tempting you to eat when you shouldn’t. Eat protein as much as possible. Drink lots of water. And stay away from refined sugar.
“When you don’t have sugar in your diet, you don’t crave sugar,” she said. “Sugar is really addicting.”
Instead of a sweet snack, she would rather have a mint protein shake.
She’s reluctant to talk about the Buff Mom’s business plan in detail, but said Internet-based courses and coaching are coming to thebuffmom.com.
And she hints that cameras remain in her future.
“I’m not done with TV. I’m done with news.”