Real celebrity mom dieting secrets!

A new report warns against trying to emulate the super-fast weight loss of Hollywood mothers

By Mary Elizabeth Williams

Published June 24, 2009 11:25AM (EDT)

We already knew those attagirl stories on celebrity mothers who slim down in record time can be a morale killer to average women, postpartum or not. Now a new report affirms that trying to emulate super-slim Hollywood moms is officially a bad idea.

Noting that half of all new mothers take six months or more to lose their pregnancy weight, Germany's Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care points out that strenuous dieting and exercise can reduce "the quality or quantity of breast milk," adding that "comparing yourself to the magazine photos of movie stars in bikinis a few weeks after giving birth does not necessarily make real-life motherhood for the average woman any easier either."

For most women, it's daunting enough to deal with keeping a brand-new human being alive while recovering from childbirth without the onus of wondering why you're not "bouncing back" like Angelina Jolie. (It helps to remember that very few of us were built like Angelina Jolie before we had kids.) A new mother needs to physically recuperate, and a nursing one needs extra calories to sustain the child her body is still feeding. What she doesn't need is a whole genre of "Star moms flaunt their hot post-baby bodies!"

The thing that's so demoralizing about the incessant stories and photos and fawning over skinny celebrity new mothers is the implication that pregnancy is tantamount to obesity, that the priority of motherhood is to get back in that bikini with all due expedience. A healthy body that has done the miraculous job of growing a baby is supposed to be soft and plush for a while. But the notion that a voluptuous postpartum form is right for a baby and her recovering mom and not, say, the audience at a Victoria's Secret fashion show, isn't a very MILF-fantasy friendly.

Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a senior writer for Salon and author of "A Series of Catastrophes & Miracles."

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