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Reality check: post-baby weight loss

Do celebrity moms set unrealistic expectations?

By Christine L. Chen Oct 22, 2012 5:00PM

Grammy-winning singer Adele is celebrating a new baby boy, according to reports, and articles about the birth  are topping the news feeds the same way she tops the charts. If our celebrity voyeur patterns hold true, we’ll be just as interested in her post-baby body as we are in other celebrities who’ve just had kids.

In recent weeks, stories about new mommies and their svelte shapes soon after delivery were all over the web and social networks. We continue to eat it up: photos of Reese Witherspoon back in “skinny jeans” just three weeks after giving birth, Jessica Simpson chatting about a 40-pound drop  with Katie Couric and Kristin Cavallari supposedly in “tip top” shape eight weeks  after having her first son.

I could go on with more celebs, but you get the idea. We hang on the words “secret weight loss plan,” as we devour these reports (maybe alongside a cookie), but are these images of celebrity moms setting up unrealistic expectations for the rest of us?

Reality check: They have “People”

Parents magazine says, “It may not be realistic or healthy for real women to lose weight that fast.” Thank you! Remember that these celebrities get paid millions to look the way they do; it’s part of their jobs. And they have highly paid “People” (capital “P”) to help them eat right, train two to three hours per day and stay on track post-baby. Let’s not forget the nannies who give them time to do all that! 

What’s a more realistic plan?
New moms should always ask their doctors about when it’s safe to ease into a weight-loss and workout plan. Experts often say the six-week checkup after birth is a good time to do that. 

Don’t freak out and start crash dieting! Remember to keep your calorie intake normal so you don’t get tired, irritable and/or undernourished. You have way too much going on (and a new person who depends on you) to let your body be unfueled.

While we’re on that topic, fuel your body with small meals every few hours and avoid salty and fried foods. Choose and/or prepare meals that include items such as brown rice, leafy greens and lean proteins like grilled chicken or fish. Go easy on the carbs.

It’s really important to get in the habit of doing something again. a little bit of exercise is great for your circulation and can make a big impact on keeping your bones and muscles “awake.” It’s also so much better on your self-esteem than “I can’t get to the gym, so I can’t workout.”  Maybe while the baby naps, you can squeeze in 20 minutes of a workout DVD or some yoga poses and stretches. Try a brisk walk around the neighborhood with the baby in a stroller. Long term, these small bits of activity will serve you well until you feel ready and able to get back to a full program.

Take inspiration from Pink, who recently dropped 50 pounds: She said she waited a few months until she even thought about getting back in shape again.

Shift your thinking
It’s easy to feel pressured by celebrity stories. Instead, steal a few of their methods and work them into your life. Have patience and the knowledge that your body has done something pretty amazing, so it needs time to recover and heal. Take time to celebrate what your body can do … not obsess about what it isn’t anymore.

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