I'm 47 & a muscly size 6 mum – I was in the gym ten days before I gave birth…there's no excuses to be a flabby parent | The Sun10/11/2023
AT 47 with a taut washboard stomach and size six figure, age-defying mum of two Handan Rolande gets mistaken for a woman 20 years younger.
After hating her 'mumsy' figure she has transformed into a ripped size six and says self-discipline is just one of her secrets.
Handan 47, who runs a property business and lives in Worthing, West Sussex, with husband Jon, 53, a property surveyor, sons Nathan, 14, and Max, nine, wears a 10kg weighted vest while doing housework and carries dumb-bells up and down stairs.
“I was a petite size 10 before my first pregnancy but I used it as an excuse to be lazy.
She says: "I ate and ate bread and pasta during my first pregnancy and did no exercise. I believed the phrase that eating for two was healthy. But I ballooned to a size 14-16 and went from 8st 3lb to 10st 3lb.
"I was a petite size ten before that but I used pregnancy as an excuse to be lazy."
After the birth of her first child Nathan, Handan says she felt depressed and mumsy.
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“Suddenly I couldn’t hide behind pregnancy anymore but when the baby came I just looked fat,” she explains.
Studies have found that active pregnant women gain less weight than inactive pregnant women while maternal obesity raises the risk of adverse long-term health issues for both mum and baby.
But many celebrity mums buck that trend, working out just days after they’ve given birth.
Hollyoaks actress Gemma Atkinson recently posted a video of her workout just ten weeks after having her baby Thiago, writing: Little bit of this, little bit of that…10 weeks postpartum today and on week 3 of @hatch_athletic PP program. Starting to introduce some light weights to sessions which I’m enjoying. Ego aside and nothing too heavy at all. I’m switching off the “I know I can lift way more” button and going with the “my body is still recovering from a major op so just chill!”
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When Nathan was a month old, Handan also decided it was time to change her old ways – but putting hours in at the gym proved tough.
She says: “I joined a gym and started walking on a treadmill, then I slowly built up to lifting weights.
“It was so hard with a young baby. I’d have to go to the gym at night when Jon was home and I often felt exhausted so I created a way to work out even when I was stuck at home.”
Handan started her housework gym routine – she bought a 10kg vest and hoovered five times a week, wearing the weighted vest for up to an hour at a time:
“I’d also leave dumbbells at the bottom of the stairs so every time I had to go upstairs for something, I’d carry them up," she explains. "I did the same when I went back down.”
And it worked.
By the time Nathan was two months old, Handan was down to size ten and when she fell pregnant again four years later she vowed not to gain unnecessary weight.
Right up until ten days before having Max, she was putting in an hour a day in the gym as well as swimming daily, on top of doing housework in her weighted vest.
She says: "I didn’t let pregnancy stop me.
“Even when I was exhausted I refused to loll about eating. My friends joked I’d give birth at the swimming pool or while vacuuming in my vest.
“I exercised at full pelt up until ten days before the birth.”
During her second pregnancy Handan gained only 10lb – and 7lb 7ozs was the weight of the baby.
She says: “Friends were amazed, they wanted me to tell them my secret. I simply said it was discipline.
“No one needs to become fat and mumsy just because they are pregnant. I learnt that the hard way the first time around. My two pregnancies could not have been more different,” she adds.
Now, three years off her 50th birthday. Handan says: “I’m in the best shape of my life and feel amazing.
“Exercise is more than a chore and something I have to do. I love it.
“You also don’t need tons of money or a fancy gym membership. There are little things you can do in daily life to keep in shape that don’t cost anything.
“I even wear a weighted backpack to walk to the shops – it’s all free exercise. You just have to be inventive.
“On the school run you see bigger mums who are overweight and I think about how I would never want to be that way again.
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“I’m proud of my body – no mum has to ever let go and look mumsy and flabby.
“I’ve learnt that you can achieve anything if you have the discipline to do it.”
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