A photo of super-skinny new mom Kate Middleton rocking skinny jeans just one month after giving birth has some fitness experts up in arms. They say glorifying Middleton for losing almost all her baby weight just four weeks postpartum is sending the wrong message to other new moms and to women in general.
“The message that you just had a baby and you should lose the weight in two weeks breaks my heart,” postnatal-fitness expert Lisa Druxman told Yahoo Aug. 27. “It’s unfair and unrealistic for a woman to put that type of pressure on herself.”
Claire Mysko, co-author of “Does This Pregnancy Make Me Look Fat?” agrees, saying exalting celebrities for shedding baby weight in record time puts the focus on weight loss instead of enjoying parenthood.
“The main message is that losing the weight should be our primary focus,” said Mysko, former director of the American Anorexia/Bulimia Association. “If you’re constantly in the space of ‘How am I going to get my body back?’ it really robs you of the experience of being a new mom.”
The trend of celebrities timing their baby-weight loss to lucrative diet endorsements (such as Jessica Simpson’s $3 million Weight Watchers deal and Jennifer Hudson’s Jenny Craig campaign) is driven by greed and preys on women’s insecurities.
“There’s a huge profit web behind it all: You’re seeing the reveal, hearing the diet plan, and it’s all connected to diets and products, and driven by making money off of women’s insecurities,” said Mysko.
Sociologist Karen Sternheimer says diet companies aren’t the only ones to blame for this obsessive attention to rapid weight loss. The media fuels this frenzy in order to drive readership to their magazines and websites.
“I’m not sure that the public is as obsessed with postpartum celebrities as it is a chance for media outlets, who already capitalize on celebrity stories, to add a ‘chapter’ to a celebrity saga: ‘When will she lose the weight?’ ” Sternheimer told Yahoo.
Ironically, non-celebrities aren’t the only ones who suffer from this intense focus on post-baby slimdowns. “Cougar Town” star Nicole Sullivan recently ripped celebrity moms for lying about their near-starvation diets and grueling workouts.
“They all lie and say, ‘Oh, I lost the weight running after the kids or breastfeeding.’ It’s not true!” Sullivan, 43, told Us. “I would flip through celeb magazines and I just couldn’t get how these moms like Jessica Alba lost so much weight so quickly and yet I couldn’t.”
Sullivan, who had a tough time shedding the excess weight after giving birth to her second child in 2009, says stars who don’t tell the truth about their strict low-calorie diets and obsessive workouts do a grave disservice to regular women, who often take up to a year to regain their pre-pregnancy bodies.