The Skinny on Celeb Weight Loss
How realistic -- and healthy -- are stars' postpartum slim-down strategies? We asked Parents advisor Hilda Hutcherson, MD, clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, for her take on this trend.
Is it safe to lose weight so quickly after giving birth?
Extreme dieting isn't healthy for a mom or her baby. If you're nursing, you need to take in a certain amount of vitamins, minerals, fat, and other nutrients to maintain the quality of your breast milk. So when you deprive yourself of nutrients, you're also depriving your baby. Plus, you have to remember that giving birth, while natural, is very traumatic for your body -- you need time to heal. You shouldn't be pushing yourself to lose weight.
Are stars being 100 percent honest when they talk about how they lost the baby weight?
That's the big question! I've taken care of thousands of women, and there were maybe two moms who bounced back immediately. It's just not typical, so you have to wonder whether some get lipo or whether they ask for a tummy tuck when they have their c-section (called a "c-tuck"). Others claim they lost the weight by breastfeeding, but that burns only 300 calories a day -- it certainly helps, but it's not enough to make you magically skinny.
What's a healthier approach for the rest of us?
Realize that it's going to take time to get back your pre-baby body. No one leaves the hospital in her skinny jeans. The first week after you give birth, you can expect to lose four or five pounds of water your body retained to support your baby. After that, the rate drops down to more like one to two pounds per week. You don't have to do anything special. Eat all of your fruits, veggies, and whole grains, exercise moderately with your doctor's approval, and try to avoid overeating -- don't reach for ice cream when you're up at midnight with your baby! If you gained the recommended 25 to 35 pounds when you were pregnant, you need to give yourself two to three months to see a difference. Try not to worry about it. You're a mom now, so focus on enjoying your new baby!