In case you missed it, celebrity hot mama’s—and their equally hot bodies—have made it difficult for the “real women” of the world to be…well…”real”. These days you can hardly flip a channel or read a magazine that isn’t touting how quickly “female celebrity so-and so” has returned to her pre-pregnancy form; and with headlines like the following, it’s hard not to feel pressured to get your body back in a hurry:
Well, let me tell you something: I’ve had two kids—gained 45 with the first and 30 with the second—and I worked out well into the final trimester with both—and I was able to get back to my pre-pregnancy size within 3-months. That said, I have zero doubt that my dedication to working out and eating right played a huge part in my ability to do so; your body rebounds remarkably better if you exercise and pay attention to both the quality and the quantity of calories you’re eating (you only need an additional 300 calories per day when pregnant).
Now, I’m not saying Beyonce, Kim Kardashian, or Megan Fox are the blueprint, but I will say that too many women use their pregnancies as an excuse to eat wantonly (“I’m eating for two now!”) and shun all forms of structured activity. In those cases, that lingering 15, 20, or 25 pounds is likely self-inflicted and it will certainly be a challenge to work it off.
And for those who say, “now I have to breastfeed, too, so I must eat”, I say this: I breastfed my second child and nothing about that process meant I couldn’t workout or eat properly. If anything, I was more vigilant about my eating because I wanted to be certain my baby was getting the best of everything, not just an overload of bad calories. And, FYI: breastfeeding mothers need only add an additional 500 calories to their daily diet to meet the needs of their little one. Breastfeeding does allow you to burn more calories because you’re producing milk, but if you’re taking in 1,000 or more extra calories and the body is only working off 250-300 of those per day, you can do the math on what that means down the line.
But, I digress.
As far as working out during pregnancy goes, I understand that certain health circumstances can make exercising difficult—I was placed on bed rest during the final two weeks of my pregnancy, but some are on bed rest from the start—and there isn’t much you can do in those cases other than try to adhere to a good diet and focus on doing what’s best for you and your baby. But, if you’re able, there is no reason you should neglect your health; pregnancy is both a beautiful and trying experience, but it doesn’t have to mean a permanent change to your body. You just have to be willing to take control and make good decisions.
Does that mean you will be back in a bikini 6-weeks post-partum? No. Forget the celebrities who can do it…most of us ain’t about that life (personal trainers, personal chefs, and stylists who can craft just the right red carpet wardrobe); just understand that your body will get back to where it needs to be in due time—as long as you’re doing the work.
Be patient with the process, do what you can to foster it, and don’t sweat the rest.