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Weight and watch

When is the right time to shed that baby flab? Here’s the experts’ take on the weighty debate.

health and fitness Updated: May 17, 2012 01:14 IST
Roma Arora
Roma Arora
Hindustan Times

How soon is too soon to lose post-pregnancy weight? The subject has often been debated and celebs are always under the scanner in vanity circuits once they pile up the kilos after giving birth.

They face a constant pressure to look super-slim irrespective of the bodily changes that pregnancy brings about. We take a look at how soon celebs battle the bulge post

Actor Aishwarya Rai Bachchan delivered her baby girl in November last year. It’s been six months, but Aishwarya seems to be happily enjoying her motherhood, without worrying much about losing her pregnancy weight. Now, consider her peer, actor Lara Dutta, who became a mother in January this year. She also does not seem obsessed with shedding her pregnancy weight.

But if you look at Hollywood, there is a lineup of celebrity moms, such as singer Beyonce, fashion designer Victoria Beckham, actor Jessica Alba and model Miranda Kerr, who seem to have shed all their pregnancy flab effortlessly. So, what is it that they do to lose pregnancy weight so quickly?

Designer Pam Mehta says, “Western celebrities are independent and nothing changes for them, professionally or personally, after childbirth. In India, women want to enjoy motherhood to the hilt. They also follow rituals that abstain women from physical labour.”

Like in most lifestyle issues, culture differences also influence pregnancy-related weight loss. “While Hollywood stars want to get into shape quickly, most Bollywood celebs do not start work right after their pregnancy. Hence, the desire to shed weight rapidly is missing,” says designer Anjalee Kapoor.

Sunita Roy Chaudhary, fitness expert, Rockland Hospital, says, “Also, in India, a new mother is made to eat sweets, saturated fats, cream milk and ghee, which leads to weight gain. While, Hollywood’s new moms go for a low-fat and sugar-free diet. The body type of Asians is also prone to fat accumulation.”

Lara’s on her way
Actor Lara Dutta gave birth to a baby girl in January. Four months after her delivery, she is trying hard to lose the stubborn flab. Lara does a 45-minute workout daily and is following a specific diet as well.

The 34-year-old actor has also started focussing on few stretches and cardiovascular exercises in order to lose weight that she has gained around her thighs and legs. The former beauty queen’s face also looks a lot more chubby.

Alba sweats it out
Actor Jessica Alba, 31, gave birth to her second baby girl, Haven, in August last year. A few weeks later, she was seen glamming up various award functions. Alba shared her post pregnancy weight loss secret in a recent interview. “To get back in shape, I start by exercising for about an hour a day, then go up to three hours, five days a week. I do a lot of cardio and some core strengthening. I drink a lot of water.”

Posh eats light
Designer Victoria Beckham quickly managed to look super slim after the birth of her fourth child, Harper, in July last year. The 38-year-old, reportedly, cut down the sugar and fat intake in her diet and had small portions of smoked salmon, prawns with chilli, yellow-fin tuna sushi and scrambled eggs. She also did some gentle exercise and Pilates to lose the pregnancy weight.

Miranda’s secret
After giving birth to Flynn last year in January, Victoria’s Secret supermodel Miranda Kerr, 29, wasted no time in shedding the extra pounds. What’s her secret? “It’s been a lot of yoga and Pilates, and eating healthily. I wake up in the morning and I have fresh green juice and some oatmeal and blueberries,” Miranda revealed in an interview.

Beyonce takes it slow
Singer Beyonce Knowles surprised everyone with her incredible weight loss soon after giving birth to her baby girl, Blue Ivy, in January this year. It’s the brisk walking and running that helped the 30-year-old in this weight loss mission. “I counted calories. I worked out maybe three to four times a week. I did a lot walking in the beginning and now I’m running. But I had to work my way up. I couldn’t just go right from being pregnant to running,” Beyonce said in aninterview.

Lose baby flab safely
* There has to be a right way to lose weight. “When a mother feels healthy, strong and fit after delivering the baby, she could start eating healthy. The key to weight loss is to control your diet, without getting obsessed about it. Eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, chicken, fish, brown rice, wholewheat bread, wholewheat pasta, cereals, and yoghurts,” says Dr Raj Makhija of Smart Nutrition. Do drink plenty of fluids to keep yourself hydrated. Go for wholemeal breads instead of white breads, and cut down sugar in your diet.

*Walking and yoga are also safe ways for shedding baby flab. Certain exercises such as the stomach crunches are a great way to get rid of the fat that accumulates at your abdomen. But only start working out once your doctor gives you a go ahead. You could also try swimming your way to a flatter belly.

* Apart from exercising and dieting, one should follow the concept of ‘early to bed early to rise’, which is very popular in the west. Go for an early morning walk or jog, then meditate. Follow by a low fat meal and carry on with your daily routine.

* Breastfeed your baby. It’s one of the safest and oldest way of losing weight.

What the expert says
Start working on weight-loss only once your doctor gives you a clearance. Prachi Aggarwal, fitness expert, Fitho health consultancy, says, “There are some exercises which are not advisable for new moms. So, it’s a good idea to let an expert chalk out your fitness regime.

Also, don’t get too obsessed with losing weight as it only gives you stress and makes your task difficult.” She adds, “ Also, be realistic and don’t expect results overnight as how much weight you’ll lose depends on your metabolism and also on the kind of
delivery you’ve had.”