“Celebrity Postpartum Bodies” is a Contribution from Giselle May, Editor of the Postpartum Resources at Katherinerosman.com
Life as a new mother comes with many moments of joy, but it also comes with its challenges. While going through the pain of recovering from childbirth and adjusting to life with a little human who needs you for everything, diet and exercise may not always be the foremost thing on your mind.
But it does tend to be that little nagging voice in the back of your mind. Every time we walk past the mirror or dress ourselves, the image of our pre-baby bodies comes to mind, and we begin wondering if and when we will ever get it back.
Looking through the tabloids and reading celebrity news online does not help either. We see stories about women who have bounced back after having their babies. Their bodies are perfect again, and it seems like it took no time at all. We beat ourselves, wondering why we cannot achieve the same.
Reality check: it is not as easy as it looks.
Myth: The Bounce-Back
It is easy to look at celebrities’ post-baby bodies and fall into the trap of the bounce-back myth, but the truth is there is rarely ever a true bounce back. Celebrities (and their photographers) know all of the secrets of the trade to make themselves look good in a photo – I mean, come one; Photoshop exists!
Olivia Wilde backs up this fact in a candid interview withShape Magazine. The photos in the magazine can give a false impression of a perfect body nearly 1 year postpartum.
However, Olivia assures us that she is softer than ever (with her belly covered by high-waisted skirts) and that the photos were meant to capture her best angles. She also gives credit to “good lighting [that] has been warmly embraced."
The truth is that celebrities are just like everyone else – surprise, surprise. Getting a body that is close(yeah, we will get to this in just a bit) to your post-baby body is going to take a lot of work, and oftentimes celebrities have an advantage: money.
The truth is many of these celebrity moms have nutrition coaches, personal chefs, fitness trainers, and unlimited financial access to daycare.
For us everyday moms, the idea of having 30 minutes to an hour alone to exercise without being cried for or climbed on sounds like heaven, not to mention the mental relief of never needing to plan a meal or having someone tell you exactly what to eat and how to exercise.
Nonetheless, despite these advantages, the majority of celebrity moms still need to work hard to achieve their weight loss goals, and some merely push themselves because they are expected or required to for their jobs. All of this to say, celebrity or not, there is no bounce-back.
Trying to Live Someone Else’s Success Story
How do we get to the point of feeling defeated and inadequate when we look at these celebrity moms? Why do we let ourselves get to this point? What can we do to help better ourselves, while still remaining positive about and comfortable in our own skin?
It all boils down to this: stop trying to live out someone else’s success story.
We are all unique. We are born with different body types and genetics. We all experience different pregnancies. And we all live different lives with different routines.
What works for one person may not work for another. One mother may be able to devote an hour daily to working out with the help of childcare or relatives, but another may be living away from family on a limited income and can only squeeze in a handful of crunches and pushups at home between naps and feedings.
Some moms may genetically be smaller, never gaining much weight or size regardless of whether they work out or not. These women are often the ones that you describe as “all belly" during pregnancy and the ones that tend to slim down quicker than most postpartum. Other moms may be more genetically prone to putting on pounds, causing them to gain more during pregnancy and have a harder time losing it afterward.
Regardless of what it seems “most" other mothers’ bodies are capable of post-pregnancy, you need to focus on your own (if that is your wish) without worrying about what everyone else is doing. Create your own success story.
Actress Blake Lively is no stranger to comparing “mom bods." In an interview with E!, she shared her struggle with comparing herself to other moms, like Emily Blunt, who seemed to drop her weight a mere two months after delivery. After 2 babies and 14 months of training, Lively wants her fans to know that sometimes it just takes a little more work for you than it may for others.
Real Tips from Honest Celebs
As we said before, losing baby weight takes a lot of work, whether you are a celebrity or not. Thankfully, there are honest celebrities, like Nicole “Snooki" Polizzi, who have made it a point to be completely honest in regards to their pregnancy journey, both during and after.
After the release of her book Baby Bumps: From Party Girl to Proud Mama, and All the Messy Milestones Along the Way, she opened up to Women’s Health magazine about her journey to fitness post-baby. She admits to indulging after her seventh month, despite eating strictly healthy during the first several months of her pregnancy, and claims that she gained the majority of her weight after that point.
She began exercising with a trainer after the 6-week mark, but it took until the 5th or 6th month for her to start seeing any results despite how hard she was working. Now, she wants other mothers to know that it is going to take time and that they should not give up; the results will begin to show eventually.
You can use examples like Snooki and other honest celebrity moms to help you realize the amount of work that goes into getting into shape after having a baby, and you can use their examples give you tips on how you can get yourself feeling confident again.
There is something to be said for having a body that is in shape before and during pregnancy: it definitely helps the body to remember where it was before it got all stretched out. Working out, like Halle Berry did up until she was 7 ½ months pregnant, can help maintain muscle mass, which in turn makes working out easier after pregnancy.
After the birth of your baby, there is a period of at least 6 weeks before your doctor clears you for regular activity and exercise, but that does not mean that you need to wait until then to start a healthy lifestyle. Changing your diet by following MillaJovovich’s example of healthy carbs, fiber, protein and healthy fats can help you kickstart your weight loss immediately.
You also want to make it easy on yourself when it comes to meal planning. While we cannot all be Samantha Harris, who can afford to follow a specific nutrition guide, you can have a few go-to healthy meals, keeping your fridge stocked with the proper ingredients to ensure you are always prepared.
If you do end up needing a little more help, you can utilize a meal delivery system like Nutrisystem –utilized by Tori Spelling to help her lose her baby weight – or Jenny Craig. These are generally inexpensive, averaging about $10 per day, and can be canceled at any time.
Of course, we all know that exercise goes hand-in-hand with a healthy diet; you cannot achieve your goal body without both. If you are a mom who is self-disciplined and self-motivated, good for you! But for those moms, like me, who need a little push and guidance, there are people who can help.
If you belong to a gym and you have the luxury of getting out a few times a week alone, you can check out what your facility has to offer. A pool can be a great place to get exercise, as Naomi Watts can attest to. Looking into classes or personal trainers can also be an option that can give you results like Marcia Cross.
If a gym is out of the question, you can make your home a workout-friendly place. Use a DVD program or one of the many you can find on Youtube nowadays (Blogilates is a great one!) to keep you motivated and keep the workout planning out of your hands.
In order to make your exercise goals a reality, you want to be sure to follow two simple “rules": schedule your workouts and create attainable goals.
Making your workout a scheduled event in your day increases the likelihood of it happening in the first place. Even if it simply 20 minutes here and there while your baby is napping, making nap time your scheduled workout time will help you to follow through. The most important thing is that you create a habit of regularly exercising.
Having a goal weight or physique is great, but aiming for the big picture without small steps to hit along the way will set you up for disappointment.
Looking at a future of exercising forever to meet or maintain an ideal body can be daunting. Setting milestones along the way – like J. Lo did in her goal to perform a triathlon – or looking at your workout program 4, 6, or 12 weeks at a time can put a goal and/or end date in sight, and once you reach that, you can move on to the next stage.
Embracing Your Post-Baby Body
You will hear many women near the end of their pregnancy say that they want their bodies back. While this is understandable – with the diet restrictions, inability to lay on your stomach, and inability to hold in your pee – going back to the body you had pre-baby is not necessarily a realistic goal.
As we mentioned before, a body that is close to your pre-baby body is possible. You can still be fit and healthy, but unless you are rail thin with amazing genes, you will likely maintain some stretch marks, flabby belly skin, and a few extra curves in your thighs and derriere.
It is disappointing, to be sure, but there are many celebrities speaking out against post-pregnancy body shaming.Celebrities like Kerry Washington claim that their bodies are the “site of a miracle" and would never wish to go back.
Jennifer Love Hewitt decided to take her time, not consuming herself with ambitions to get back to her pre-baby body, and Jennifer Garner takes pride in her permanent baby bump after having 3 children. We can learn from these women to embrace our own postpartum bodies as well.
Health and fitness should be a goal for any mother – after all, you do want to be able to keep up with your kids as they get older – but accepting the things you cannot change and approaching a healthy lifestyle with the right mindset will help you succeed and remain positive along the way. Just stick with it, take your time, and enjoy every stage of your baby’s life along the way.
Giselle May is the Chief Editor at katherinerosman.com. After leaving a successful corporate career to become a full-time Mom she is now focused on providing high-quality information to help parents everywhere deal with the uncertainty and self-doubt that can come with parenthood.
“I found so much support through online communities when I was a new Mom and I am grateful to have the opportunity to contribute to the information that is out there and hopefully help others along the way."