As coanchor of Access Hollywood, Nancy O'Dell knows all too well the intense pressure celeb moms face to lose the pregnancy weight. It really hit home after she had her first baby -- a daughter, Ashby Grace -- this past June and had to be camera-ready in just a few months. But O'Dell refused to take the ultrarestrictive route. She told us about her healthy approach:
My industry is very critical about appearances. But Ashby is my priority right now, not my weight. I need to eat enough calories to breastfeed her and to keep up my stamina.
I didn't know I'd still look pregnant when I left the hospital! My 8-year-old stepson, Carson [O'Dell's husband, Keith Zubchevich, has two kids from a previous marriage], asked me, "Are you sure you're not having twins? Did they leave a baby in there?" Just what every new mom wants to hear! I know I'll lose the weight eventually. Still, I have those days when I look in the mirror and think, "Whose body is this?" I was so proud to be pregnant, though. I was on camera every day for almost all of those nine months, so it's not like I could hide anything -- and I didn't want to.
Finding time for exercise is the hardest part. I work with an amazing trainer, Jeff Deperon, for an hour three times a week. (I called up my friend Lisa Rinna after I gave birth to ask who she trains with.) We do ballet-style moves that work every muscle, so you accomplish a lot in each workout. Otherwise, I try to find 20-minute breaks in the day to exercise. I'll even clench my butt muscles while I'm rocking Ashby to do some toning!
Eating healthy is easier. I don't want to eat anything that will affect my breast milk and make Ashby gassy. I'm not perfect: I'm a Southern gal who loves Coke, so I do sneak sips here and there. But if the boys bring home junk food, I tell them to hide it!
My priorities are so different now. People tell you to enjoy every minute of being a mom because kids grow up so fast, and it's true. Some of Ashby's newborn clothes are already small. I cried when I put them away! I don't like leaving her for even a little while right now -- I don't want to miss a thing.
Copyright © 2007. Used with permission from the October 2007 issue of Parents magazine.