Six months after giving birth to her first child, daughter Ruby, Good Day LA host Jillian Barberie Reynolds is eight pounds away from her goal weight. Thanks to a NutriSystem diet and intense training, the 41-year-old has whittled her frame back to a size 2! Jillian, who’s married to actor Grant Reynolds, tells OK! exactly what went down post-baby and also opens up about her own adoption.
What’s it been like in general getting back into shape after Ruby was born?
Well, at first it was pretty hard because when you give birth you still look pregnant so I gained 40 pounds and she was six pounds, 12 ounces so you give birth to that and the rest, you’re still carrying weight. I thought it would be a lot easier than it has been and it isn’t—it’s something you really have to work at. I started doing Nutrisystem a month after Ruby was born, and that makes it easy. In December, I decided I had to have a trainer, too, because it’s one thing to lose the weight, which I’ve done and I have eight more pounds to go—but it’s another thing to be toned. I work with Billy [Ashley] and he just makes it quick and it’s painful but I’m seeing results and I’ve only trained for a few weeks. I’m thrilled.
Did you work out somewhat while you were pregnant?
No. I wasn’t going to start! The doctor, in fact, said to me, ‘Do you exercise?’ I said, ‘No.’ He goes, ‘Good.’ Because I got pregnant at 40 and he said it’s not a good idea to start exercising with a baby in you at 40. If your body is not used to it, do not start now. And I didn’t.
On NutriSystem, what’s the typical breakfast, lunch, dinner?
Their breakfasts are my favorite, because they’ve got all kinds of muffins, apple cinnamon oatmeal that I absolutely love. They also have the eggs. Lunches are great because they’re small portion pastas; they’ve got beef rice mixes, raviolis. For me, I want it to be easy, and that it is and it tastes good and it works.
Can you describe your workout routines?
There’s one called ‘hate ‘ems’ and the reason he calls it ‘hate ‘ems’ is because I frickin’ hate them! Like when he says give me hate ‘ems I say I hate you. I hate you, Billy. They are just brutal—I don’t even know what you do. You get on all fours and you keep pushing your legs back, jumping. It’s so tiring, wheezing. And the one off the side lunges where I’m holding the weight—it’s really hard,too. I don’t know. When I first started working out I could do five. He wants me to do 15 and by 15 I can’t even—it’s so slow. I don’t even know what they’re called. And then he’s got me jumping rope. My boobs hurt when I jump rope. He said, you’ve got to get a sports bra. I’m like, oh, okay. I hate jumping rope but he makes me do that.
How many hours a day is the training?
It depends on the workout. It depends—45 minutes to an hour and a half. Walk the hills with the baby. A lot of cardio. He likes to shake it up for me because he knows I get bored pretty easily.
What was the best part about your pregnancy?
Just the fact that I never thought I would have a human life inside me like that, and just kind of marveling. t really made me think about my birth mother situation and how sad and hard that must have been to her. It brought out a lot of emotion. But for me, the best part was the food in the sense of eating everything I wanted, because I’ve never been that girl. I’ve always had to be very careful with what I eat so I’d see these tiny girls like Salma Hayek and Naomi Watts and they got so big like me. I mean, I wasn’t all belly. I got everywhere—arms and I was always thinking, this is for her.
You had told us last time you were adopted. How does that play into your notions of motherhood?
Oh, God. It’s been amazing. It puts everything into perspective—how loving people have to be to take in babies that aren’t theirs, like my mother and father did and now that I am a mother, I mean, my birth mother was very young. It was different for her. I can’t even imagine how hard it would be for her. For me, it’s put into perspective that at five months old, here she is and I think how innocent and sweet and how protective I am of her, and when you’re adopted, if you’re very young, like I was her age and in foster care, you think, you hope that you rely on the kindness of strangers and thank God there’s some incredibly kind people out there because it’s amazing to look after someone else’s baby. Babies are such a gift to the world. They’re so innocent, so sweet and it really puts it into perspective. I look at her and think, they’re so vulnerable.
Is your birth mom still in your life?
I haven’t talked to her in a long time, but it was a wonderful reunion. I met her. I met my two sisters because my mom ended up marrying my dad after they put me up for adoption. They got married and went on to have two daughters, so I’m very close to them. I’m the oldest. My sister Amy is in South Korea. She’s teaching English. She’s an incredible young woman. I met her when she was 22 and she’s 28 now. And my sister Susie just adopted a baby from Russia. She’s 34 now, I guess.
Did you go looking for them?
Yeah. I hired a detective, up in Canada. I know it sounds so clandestine. I was 34 and four weeks later I got a call and the detective said, ‘Are you sitting down? I’ve got quite a story—your birth mom did this, she ended up marrying your birth father.’ ‘What?’ ‘Yeah, they were married for 20 years.’ She said, ‘Well, if I were you I wouldn’t call them per se.’ She gave me their names and of course I called them. As soon as I hung up the phone, I called him up because she’s remarried now. I called him up and he was great. He knew right away.
When you reunited with your birth mother, was it awkward or happy?
They were thrilled. My sisters were so happy and everyone was so infectious. How could we not love this moment and everyone did.
Did that give you sort of a feeling of closure, that you could now have your own family?
No. Never thought I would have kids. In fact,she used to say, ‘Are you ever going to have children?’ I said, ‘Sorry to tell you, I just don’t want them.’ It’s not in the makeup for me. I’m a total career girl and I’m single. Just wasn’t in the cards for me but it turns out it was! [laughs]
Do you think they’ll meet Ruby, eventually, everybody?
Hopefully, eventually, yeah. I want my mom and dad to come down. I think my birth sister Amy is going to fly down in February. She’s coming back from Korea—the do-gooder, I call her. She’s the perfect babysitter, so it will be wonderful.
For more on Jillian, check out her gallery and pick up the newest issue of OK!, on newsstands now!