When a dedicated NeverSayDiet commenter emails, I listen. When that dedicated NeverSayDiet commenter is a pissed-off pregnant woman, I listen even harder.
Bdaiss recently wrote to me complaining (and rightfully so, I think you’ll agree) about the insane pressures placed on women – by themselves, by their friends, by the world at large – to get back to their pre-baby body ASAI (As Soon As Impossible.) The story that ticked her off? People Magazine recently wrote about Nicole Sullivan (an actress on Lifetime’s Rita Rocks) who has been announced as Jenny Craig’s newest spokeswoman. She’ll join Valerie Bertinelli, Phylicia Rashad and Queen Latifah in a long line of women being paid to shed pounds on JC and serve as an inspiration for real women looking to do the same.
The problem here: Sullivan delivered a baby just six weeks ago. The umbilical cord is probably still healing and yet here she is, poised to cut enough calories to swiftly drop 35 pounds gradually gained over the last 10 months.
Now, I’ve always learned that women need to wait at least six weeks post-delivery to workout. But I just checked MayoClinic.com and they say that advice may indeed be outdated:
“In the past, women were often instructed to wait at least six weeks after giving birth to begin exercising. But the waiting game may be over. If you exercised during pregnancy and had an uncomplicated vaginal delivery, it's generally safe to begin exercising within days of delivery — or as soon as you feel ready. If you had a C-section or a complicated birth, talk to your health care provider about when to start an exercise program.”
OK, so now we know that women CAN start working out again very soon. And I’m totally for that – if you’re a hardcore exerciser who loves working up a sweat and your doctor gives you the thumbs up, more power to you. Especially if it helps you feel good about yourself (could be a great antidote to the post-baby blues). But a) I’m concerned Sullivan’s gig will give women at home the impression that they should be back to their pre-wedding weight within weeks of delivering (in fact, this IS one of Sullivan’s stated goals) and b) Jenny Craig is not based on exercise alone, but on calorie restriction and portion control. For a new mom who is breastfeeding, or even just one who’s up at all hours of the night and exhausted by carrying for a newborn, calories are crucial.
Here’s Bdaiss’ take:
“Maybe I'm overly sensitive to this being about ready to pop in less than a month, but...Really? Do we need to put *more* undo pressure on new mother's? She just had a baby six weeks ago. Of course she wants to lose the baby weight. But is JC the answer? Processed crap? For what? Just so she can drop the weight as fast as possible? What about getting *healthy,* not just ‘skinny’?!? Gah. This just depresses me to no end.”
Bdaiss also asks, “What about the whole ‘it takes 9 months to put it on, it should take 9 months to take it off" line of thought? I know, it doesn't sell product or make you the cover of People magazine.”
What are your thoughts? Do stories like this make you feel even more pressured to start eating salads and Spinning 12 days after giving birth?