“Body Back After Baby!” screams one magazine headline.
“How I Got My Body Back!” cries another.
“Back in a Bikini!”
What does it even mean to get one’s body “back”? Had the body been stolen? Had it run away like a lost cat? And did the celebrity get ALL of it back? Did she inspect herself carefully? Maybe she only thinks her body is back, but there is still a leg or an arm or a pinky toe missing? Look closely, my dear! Pinky toes are very easy to overlook!
“I’m on a Magazine Cover Because an Editor Has Chosen to Contribute to an Already Unhealthy Societal Obsession With Rapid Postnatal Weight Loss!” is what the headline should really say.
And it is rapid postnatal weight loss. After all, would I have read about Russian model Elena Perminova in US Weekly had she not gotten her “body back” lickety-split?
“Most ladies like to have the better part of a year to get their post-baby bodies back in shape, but Russian supermodel Elena Perminova was determined to get her lithe frame back in record time: two months!” exclaimed US Weekly breathlessly.
“I started [exercising] just two weeks afterwards, even though I had a Cesarean,” said Perminova.
What woman isn’t itching to get back into her exercise routine 14 days after a C-section? Even though women are told to hold off six to eight weeks post-Cesarean before embarking on rigorous exercise regimes, why wait? I mean, what do you have to lose except … your stitches?
Then there is Tori Spelling. Tori is a perennial perinatal tabloid fixture. She has shared post-childbirth photos in bikinis many times. In an April 2013 issue of US Weekly, for example, she donned a bikini and gave readers advice on how she lost weight after having baby number four:
“The last thing on my mind was getting my body back,” the actress, reality star and best-selling author said at the time.
She never worried about what she ate. “…I have never once counted calories. I’m a big believer in eating healthy,” she said.
Except that she’s not a big believer in healthy eating and she did count calories. Six months later, when she had a new book out, Tori admitted she had completely lied about how she lost her baby weight. She wrote that she was actually on the “Just Keep Your F*****g Mouth Shut And Eat Air Diet.”
“My publicist had given me clear instructions about what to say about my weight loss,” she wrote. “So I said that I swam… I can’t do much more than doggie paddle.”
Why does this matter? Why do I care? It only really matters to me for one reason: There are real, non-celebrity women out there who are influenced by what they see, and they want to lose more weight more quickly at a time when they should be focusing on—oh, I don’t know!—taking care of their babies and themselves.
New moms have it hard enough without all of this postpartum bikini-body crap. Ten to twenty percent of new mothers suffer from postpartum depression or anxiety, and even the new mothers who don’t suffer from postpartum depression or anxiety have it hard. I have three children. I’ve been through this period. It’s mind-blowingly, jaw-droppingly, forehead-smackingly difficult. It is downright stupid that we’re idolizing women because of one thing—they lost their baby weight quickly.
Because of social media, we’re no longer just inundated with images of celebrities who’ve lost weight quickly when we are in the supermarket checkout line.
Recently, Kourtney Kardashian, who is a big fan of posing in bikinis soon after giving birth, shared a photo of her scale on Instagram. US Weekly was once again all over it like cocoa butter: “Kourtney Kardashian Celebrates Reaching 120 Pounds Post Giving Birth to Third Child – See the Scale Proof.”
Yippee! Kourtney chose an arbitrary number and then reached that arbitrary number in an arbitrary amount of time! (Well, there’s your next headline, US Weekly!) Just like she did a few years ago when she posed on the cover of US Weekly with the headline “How I Got Thin Fast.” What are her secrets to getting THIN FAST? Well, you can read an excerpt from the Kardashian sisters’ book Kardashian Konfidential, and she’ll tell you exactly what she eats:
“For my meals, I eat whatever I want…I definitely never deprive myself. If you asked me how often I indulge myself with a food splurge, I’d say every day. Absolutely. A cheeseburger with fries and a shake is always good. I also love Double Stuf Oreos. And New York-style pizza with the thin crust. And I love having Mexican food and margaritas.”
I bet a lot of people would like to eat whatever they want and look like Kourtney Kardashian—including Kourtney Kardashian! I don’t have any proof, but I’ll bet someone a milkshake and fries that Kourtney Kardashian doesn’t really follow the Kourtney Kardashian diet as written.
But the final straw isn’t Kourtney. The final straw may have been when my Facebook feed lit up last month with pictures of a model posing in her underwear at eight and a half months pregnant. I don’t know anything about this woman, nor am I claiming to know anything about her (or her health or her pregnancy). What upset me was the fame she had achieved instantly only for not “looking” pregnant.
“This Pregnant Model Is So Insanely Fit She Has Pregnancy Abs” was the BuzzFeed headline for a post that had been viewed close to two million times.
Pregnancy abs? Pregnancy abs?! Pregnancy freakin’ abs?! You know what this means, right? This means that one day we’ll yearn for the good old days when celebrities tried to get their bodies BACK in shape AFTER having babies. Because pregnancy abs are now—like the Kardashians—something some people are going to try to keep up with.
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