What’s the trick to losing baby weight? DON’T GAIN IT. I’m not evil or mentally ill, but I am honest. Last week, Mommywood spectators were marveling at (and hating) how supermodel Miranda Kerr’s body has bounced right back to it’s sexy shape just 4 months after having a baby. Rachel Zoe is not-so-shockingly skinny again a few weeks after giving birth. Bethenny Frankel and Gisele Bundchen shocked us all with their post-baby bods last year. Guess what I think: This should be the norm for new moms. (Not necessarily the same body-types, but the idea of getting-back-to-your-own-previous-frame-fairly-quickly thing.) It should not be acceptable that a woman gain unlimited poundage while pregnant. This has nothing to do with celebrity/media pressure… it has to do with self-worth and HEALTH. The celeb moms I mentioned happened to have petite bods before pregnancy (although Zoe is too thin for my taste)… and they just kept them intact while carrying a child. Bravo!
I have strong opinions about this because I lived it. I will HUMBLY share with you something that I’ve felt forced to hide as a dirty secret for fear that I will be hated by mommy-society: One month after having my baby, I was back into some of my pre-pregnancy TV wardrobe and shooting a pilot. Two months after having my baby, I was inexplicably back into my skinniest jeans. No, I wasn’t at the gym 24/7. No, I don’t have a nanny that enables me to do sit-ups all day long. Not kidding. Not gloating. Just sayin’ it’s possible to get back to your pre-baby self in just a few months. True, different bodies handle pregnancy in various ways, but whether you are a size 2, 4, 8 or 18 or 20 just before getting knocked up, you can and should get back to that same shape a few months after your baby pops out. (Notice I said ‘pre-baby bod,’ NOT ‘the bod you wish you had’ or ‘the bod you had when you were 19.’) The way to do it is by practicing old fashioned, reasonable weight-gain during pregnancy.
I went head-on into my pregnancy with the end in mind. My own mom has told me countless tales about how her OB/GYN (in the 1970’s) would get angry at expectant mothers if they gained more than 20 pounds over the course of 9 months. I’m not suggesting we return to that twisted philosophy (afterall, they used to let preggie women smoke and drink liquor back then) but maybe we shouldn’t dismiss it altogether. According to my current doc and other medical sources, suggested weight gain for a healthy pregnancy is anywhere between 25-35 pounds (including baby). Gaining over 40 pounds while pregnant teeters on unhealthy – physically and mentally (my own doctor hubby also backs this up).
My stats (that I’ve never shared before now): I gained a total of 29 pounds while little LadyP was incubating. After the 6lbs 11oz baby and the rest of the messy junk was out (plus the water weight that your body expunges naturally in the weeks after delivery), I only had about 8 or 10 extra pounds on me. By no means was I on a diet or did I count calories while pregnant, but I did make a conscious effort to go about things wisely. I wanted to put on weight for the baby, but not for me. I was lucky to have a risk-free pregnancy, so I made the most of it. I walked my preggy belly at a moderate pace on a treadmill and around my neighborhood a few times a week… I did pushups against my bathroom sink and butt squats when I felt energized enough to do them… I didn’t push myself, but I didn’t lay around either. I managed to fit my a$$ into my looser pre-pregnancy pants until I was 6 months pregnant (thanks to looping a large rubberband through the button hole to prevent my unzipped trousers from falling down). Regarding food, I handled my pregnant self the same way I handled the rest of my life: All things in moderation. Eat when hungry. If I(baby) craved it, I ate it…. and then stopped once I(we) was satisfied. Let the unborn baby have the french fries dipped in ranch dressing and nacho cheese if he/she wants them, but get the small order instead of the jumbo size (I did). Eat those Oreos at midnight, but have 2 instead of of 12 (I did). Being pregnant should not give anyone license to turn into a gluttonous human garbage disposal.
DO NOT MISUNDERSTAND ME: Women obviously should gain weight during pregnancy… but if you’re carrying ONE baby and on the track to gain 50, 60 or even 70 pounds you’d better reassess a few things. This goes deeper than being vain too. Looking fabulous in your pre-mom jeans (whatever your size before pregnancy) is NOT the most valuable trait a woman can offer the world, but it is a valuable trait you can offer yourself to be productive and stay motivated for accomplishing personal goals after becoming a mom. (Afterall, having a newborn often means looking into the mirror and feeling like $hit because you don’t look like you used to… make sure you look like junk because you’re tired and don’t have makeup on, rather than looking like junk because you have 40 extra pounds on your body than before and no baby in your belly to account for it.) Some women genuinely do not care about their appearance. More power to ’em. I am admittedly not one of those women. I knew, going into my pregnancy, that I’d be angry/frustrated/depressed if I came out on the other side looking like a different person… and it’s ok to feel that way. That’s how I tick. Everyone that called me a skinny-bitch for losing my baby weight… thanks, your words didn’t make me feel weird/guilty at all. I may have been a bit lucky, but I also made the effort. You can too. Keeping yourself intact to look and feel like your great self to yourself (pregnant or not) is not shallow or unrealistic… it’s empowering. Accomplished people do not get to where they are by feeling like crap about themselves. You can be the new mom that everyone is talking about as being fabulously amazing after having your baby. It IS possible. Us regular women can be like these supermodels too… in our own way. Now who’s down with me to show Miss Miranda Kerr she’s not so special afterall?
(DISCLAIMER: This article does not aspire to offer medical advice, and only offers opinion/anecdotes based on author’s personal experience and health history. Every pregnancy is different, and every woman should consult her doctor to insure a healthy body, baby, delivery and beyond.)