I’m eight-and-a-half months postpartum right now and I’m proud to say I lost all the weight I gained in my second pregnancy within weeks after giving birth last fall. The problem is I still haven’t lost all the weight from my first pregnancy.
One of the things that bums me out more than knowing I can marry my male cousin in North Carolina but my female cousin can’t marry her girlfriend there is reading stories about how celebrity moms got their bodies back so soon after giving birth.
The latest news? Jessica Simpson signed a $4 million deal with Weight Watchers to shed the truckload of fat she packed on while pregnant with baby Maxwell Drew. It’s an awesome deal for her, to be sure. I’m just not sure if it’ll do anything to help moms like me, and I actually think it could hurt us a little.
Look, I know I don’t have to read stories like this one about how Jessica is going to grow even richer at the same time she shrinks back into her Daisy Dukes. But that doesn’t make the story less pervasive. Really, it doesn’t. Me rejecting the currently issue of Us magazine isn’t going to make the story go away. Jessica’s deal, her story, and stories like hers (Beyonce, Kate Hudson, Jessica Alba, Candace Crawford, January Jones, Jennifer Garner, to name a few), are way more embedded into the fabric of our culture than the loss of my business this week at the corner newsstand.
I’m just really sick, tired and demoralized about hearing how easy it is to lose weight — baby weight, in particularly — if you have the time and money. And the thing is this: That little detail about having the time and money is left out of the nut of any story about celebrities and their postpartum weight loss. Because without their time and money, believe me, these celebrities shedding pounds faster than a contraction would be few and far between.
Weight Watchers is said to be one of the responsible weight-loss programs. It’s about portion control and learning good eating habits for life. I’m going to guess, however, that Jessica Simpson won’t be sitting there with her own Points Tracker in her purse in order to ensure the pounds melt away. Weight Watchers will likely hire Jessica a personal guide to plan and prepare each and every meal, while a personal trainer will work with her daily to be absolutely sure she looks svelte and toned for her commercial and print ad campaigns.
So what will that do for me, exactly? There are no Weight Watchers meetings in my town, and part of their whole schtick is getting people to attend group meetings in order to get support from people on the same kind of weight loss journey. I could sign up to Weight Watchers online, but that’s really just to track what and how much I’m eating — which is only part of the Weight Watchers experience.
I work from home full time while caring for my 8-month-old, also full time. And my 3-year-old is only in preschool three days a weeks, so on two days I week I’m working full time while also caring for two children.
It’s all about choices, right? I chose to work from home so I could be with my girls. I consider myself über-fortunate to have been able to make that choice. But making that choice has also meant I don’t get to leave my house very much. Regular babysitters (and, really, irregular babysitters) aren’t an option, because I would need to work more to pay for them, which is an ugly, vicious cycle.
I work from before the sun rises until well after it sets in order to cram everything in. I work on both weekend days to make up for the days when my older daughter doesn’t have school. It’s a nice idea to grab an hour here or sneak in 30 minutes there for a quick jog or a walk around the block with the kids in the stroller. But I usually need that time to work or do other pressing things around the house.
Go ahead — propose a solution on how I can trade babysitting with a friend or have my husband watch the girls, or how I can pop in an exercise DVD while the baby naps (which is when I get the bulk of my work done) or how I can use the baby as a weight to do strength training (although now that she’s nearly 20 pounds we’re kind of past that point). But none of it will happen regularly or often, which means none of it will translate to many Weight Watchers exercise points.
I shop and cook for my family and I plan our meals carefully, but not to exacting standards (again, a nice idea in theory, but if I had time to plan each and every meal down to the calorie, shouldn’t I use that time instead of exercise? Or cloth diaper? Or make my own baby food?) And when it’s just me during the day, I eat when I can and based on what’s available in the fridge. I try to make healthy choices, but sometimes the quickest and easiest thing isn’t the healthiest or wisest choice.
Go ahead — tell me to eat a celery stalk instead of a cracker. Voilà! — you just solved the obesity epidemic in America. If only it were that uncomplicated.
I don’t know what my solution is, but I know for sure it’s not Jessica Simpson appearing in Weight Watchers ads. Of course the solution is also not Jessica Simpson not losing her baby weight. If someone offered me $4 million (or $400, really) to lose weight, I’d do my best, too, with all of the time and resources afforded me.
Good for her for cashing a fat check while getting thin and healthy for herself and her daughter. But seeing someone with way fewer excuses and way more resources than me losing weight doesn’t motivate me. If anything, it just makes me want a box of Oreos to be my date at my pity party.
After all, misery (and baby fat) loves company.
Photo credit: Us magazine