When it comes to pregnancy, there’s no way around putting on a few extra pounds. But according to the CDC, only about a third of pregnant persons gain the recommended amount, while nearly half (48 percent) gain too much. Because of this, some postpartum individuals end up looking to lose weight after pregnancy — like Jessica Simpson, who recently revealed she lost 100 pounds over the past six months after giving birth. And yet others, like Amy Schumer, are, as she put it, in #norush. Should anyone be losing as much weight as Simpson did, especially in the postpartum, or is a slow and steady approach the right way to go?
There’s a lot of contention when it comes to losing weight after pregnancy — in part due to the problematic nature of diet culture (as seen by the responses to Simpson’s and Schumer’s baby weight declarations). The most important thing to keep in mind is that different things work for different people. While no one should be or feel forced to get back to their pre-pregnancy size (especially not right away), those who want to should go about it in a way that is right for them.
According to Mayo Clinic, a pregnant person will already lose roughly 13 pounds immediately after delivery (this includes baby, placenta, and amniotic fluid). And while they’ll lose more fluid-related weight in those early days, losing fat will take some time. Ideally, the medical community agrees folks should aim to lose around four-to-eight pounds per month (that’s one-to-two pounds a week) in order to maintain weight loss.
Looking at Simpson’s claim of losing 100 pounds in six months, that means that (after accounting for the initial 13 pounds), she lost roughly 14.5 pounds a month or slightly over three pounds a week. Because everyone’s body is different, it’s entirely possible that three pounds a week was within a healthy range for Simpson’s weight loss goals.
Simpson worked with her personal trainer Harley Pasternak’s team to achieve this, and being a wealthy celebrity, there’s a good chance she also had additional help in her postpartum life so that she could focus so strongly on her fitness. In an article in PEOPLE, it was also revealed that her weight loss plan included walking and eating lots of vegetables.
Walking is a well-recommended form of exercise during postpartum, as doctors generally advise against jumping into any intense workouts too soon. And while some parents opt against starting fitness regimes right away (because those early days are exhausting and demanding), the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology state that anyone who has had a healthy, uncomplicated vaginal birth can start light workouts as soon as they feel ready. That said, those who had caesarean sections or other complications should not begin working out until after they’ve been cleared to do so by their OB/GYN.
As for Simpson’s veggie-heavy diet, this goes in line with practically any healthy, balanced diet. Postpartum parents should be mindful of their nutrition, especially if they’re breastfeeding. A diet rich in veggies like kale and broccoli, plus fruits, fish and seafood, nuts and seeds, beefs, eggs, oats and more can be very beneficial for any breastfeeding parent. Additionally, breastfeeding may help you lose some of those extra pounds.
The general advice when it comes to losing weight after a pregnancy, then, is the same as it is at any other time. Set realistic goals, eat a nutritious diet and get regular exercise in a way that you enjoy. The only difference in postpartum life is to make sure not to push yourself harder than your recovering body will allow. Simply put, if you want to lose any additional weight after giving birth, it is entirely possible.
But if we’re being realistic, the early days of parenthood are rough — especially if your net-worth is nowhere near Simpson’s $200 million (or even Schumer’s $37 million for that matter). Getting little sleep, dealing with shifting hormones, and changing, burping and feeding a baby for what feels like 80 hours a day can take a toll on anyone. Additionally, the newborn and infant phases go by quick, so many parents choose to put most of their focus on their babies versus on their own fitness or diet.
All that said, it’s perfectly fine if you’re in no rush to “lose the baby weight.” It’s also OK to embrace your new bod after baby. After all, you’re the only one who lives inside your body, so do what works for you and makes you happy.
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