Bye-Bye Baby Belly? Forget the Celebs, Take Your Time

It’s happened again this week – another model/actress/WAG shedding pounds of baby weight within weeks of giving birth and flaunting her new figure for all to see in a glossy mag. 

This time it’s the turn of Danielle Lloyd, model, Ex-Celebrity Big Brother contestant and WAG.  Her pics appeared in Now magazine recreating an iconic shot of Elizabeth Hurley, herself having just given birth to baby Damien.

We have also recently had the ‘amazing new bodies’ of  Samia Smith and Denise Van Outen thrust in our faces via gossip mags and the tabloids.

Now, there are two things here which really get my goat.  Firstly, the message that this portrays is that losing baby weight is easy.  I’ve had two children and believe me, it’s not easy.  Chances are that these women have nannies (or other halves who perhaps don’t work 9-5 jobs who can  help during night feeds and look after the baby whilst they exercise), access to dietitians, personalised nutritional plans or, in some cases (yes, you Kate Garraway) ready prepared low-fat meals delivered to the door.  

For the average, non-celeb mum to keep up with these women, we’d have to plan low-fat, low-calorie meals, drag ourselves to the supermarket (probably after about 3 hours sleep and still in pyjamas covered in baby sick), cook said nutritious meals, take care of a tiny, needy infant all day then try to summon up some energy to fit in a workout.

Obviously I can’t talk for all mums of newborns but my priority in these precious early weeks were getting to know my baby, getting to grips with our new life and mastering the arts of breastfeeding and nappy changing.  That’s not to say that time for myself wasn’t important, but I certainly felt that getting my figure back could wait.  After all, the first months are a very special time which you never get back.  You can lose weight any time.

The second point which irritates me is that these celebrity magazines try to promote healthy body image (or so they claim), berating stars for losing too much weight and using positive words such as ‘curvy’,  ‘womanly’ and ‘healthy’ to describe the fuller-figured amongst them (by fuller-figured, I mean by celebrity standard.  We would of course, refer to size 12 as ‘normal’).

Printing shots of bronzed, bikini-clad (and dare I say airbrushed?) stars with an accompanying interview with them saying how the weight just ‘fell off’ just serves to put pressure on other new mums that it is normal to ‘ping’ back into shape after giving birth.  It is not normal and it is not healthy.  Heard the term ‘nine months on, nine months off’?  It rings true in many cases. 

 Childbirth is for many women, the most traumatic thing their body has been through.  Physically, you may have torn muscles, bruising and hormones coursing through your body making everything looser and more vulnerable to injury.  Quite frankly, intensive exercise should be the last thing you do in the first months.  If you want to exercise, take it easy.  Doctor’s recommend no exercise for 6 weeks, especially if you’ve had a c-section. 

Your body needs to repair and recover from giving birth.  Start by taking gentle walks with the pram.  There’s something to be said for getting out in the fresh air.  As well as the physical benefits, you’ll get the endorphins flowing through your body giving you a mental lift too.

The most important thing is to listen to your body.  If something hurts, stop.  If you feel dizzy or light-headed, stop.  Take it at your own pace and realise that the celeb mums have ALOT of help to get where they are.  Something us mere mortals will never have so it is unrealistic to compare ourselves to them. 

Look after yourself, eat well (this is especially important if you’re breastfeeding to keep up milk production) and most of all, enjoy your time with your new baby.

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