New mums told not to be like Victoria Beckham
The debate on the best way for new mothers to lose the baby bulge has been raging recently after Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai was branded a ‘disgrace’ for not getting back into shape after birth.
Critics said she should have followed in the footsteps of Posh Spice Victoria Beckham, who was back down to a size zero within weeks. There was plenty of support for Aishwarya. One poster wrote on the 7DAYS website: “A baby needs a role model not a supermodel.”
Now a Dubai-based Indian model has come forward to show mums how to lose the baby weight the right way, not the Posh way.
As one of three runners-up for the Miss India title in 2004, Simran Mathew knows about the pressure to look good. However, she says it wasn’t until she met Dubai-based style and weight consultant Elleke Ross that she worked out how to get in shape the healthy way.
Describing how surprised she was not to snap back into shape when she had her first child, Simran explains: “I had a beautiful pregnancy, a beautiful delivery and then the baby came out and I went and looked in the mirror and expected to go ‘wow’ but I still looked the same.
“It was difficult. There are so many things a new mum is going through - the baby has arrived, she’s recovering, breast feeding, then she looks at her body and sees how much it’s changed. It’s tough.”
Warning mums not to dash to the gym as soon as they
are healed, Simran says getting in shape post-pregnancy requires more than simply sweating it out on the treadmill.
She adds: “I was hitting the gym really hard but my weight was staying the same.
“I knew I was eating the wrong things and needed someone to come in and transform my mind, give me a whole new diet and tell me where I was going wrong. What Elleke did was open my mind to a healthy lifestyle.
“With my first kid I tried all the diets, tried all the crazy ways, because I wanted to lose the weight and just didn’t lose any. It was the same with the second one.”
Elleke advises on everything from food, exercise and how to help your image with a wardrobe overhaul. She doesn’t want new mums to feel pressured into losing weight too fast.
She says: “I’m not a fan of calorie counting or changing something dramatically, especially when someone has young children. Things should stay as normal as possible so I help them make small changes first of all - changing foods they like to
“I help them learn better habits and even go to the supermarket with them to show them healthy replacements. I tell them don’t take a heaped plate for dinner then feel the need to finish it - take a small plate and just add to it if you want more.
“If the woman breastfeeds, the weight should go by itself because the body uses so much energy to produce milk. If you are breastfeeding, try not to lose weight because you have toxins that come into the body then go into the milk.
“Try to eat sensibly and live as healthy as possible. Make up with other things - dress nicely and make sure you look nice because you have to keep your husband interested. If he’s in the office surrounded by stunning girls and he comes home to a mum in pyjamas, that’s not attractive, so look after yourself.
“Often you do need to change your exercise regime because you’re on a plateau and you need to surprise your body.” New mums may be desperate to get back in shape but Simran says it’s essential they wait a while before getting to the gym or it could have a detrimental effect on their training.
She adds: “Focus on your baby first. If you’re going to do everything half-heartedly you’re going to have a crying baby, a tired mum and zero result. Get baby in a routine. Once in a routine, you have time for yourself. If you don’t have help at home, think about what you can do. Take your kid for a walk even if it’s around the mall, and eat right.”
Tips for young mothers how to keep fit
Women who just had a baby should enjoy their baby first and foremost! The baby-time is really short and will not come back so it is special! Try to sleep when ever you can and eat healthy. If you are breastfeeding you need to eat healthy but you don't have to eat for two! That is an old fairy tale! Don't lose weight when you are breastfeeding because when you lose weight, toxins come in your milk and you don't want to feed your baby with this. Breastfeeding is almost a guaranteed way of losing weight and getting back in shape as it takes a lot of your energy and it all happens in a very natural way. You find exercise might be just too much but nothing stops you from swimming or going for a (brisk) walk.
If the mother is not breastfeeding, weightloss can happen now by eating healthy and portion control. A body needs to recover after childbirth and exercise should be gentle and not too strenuous. Swimming, walking, jogging and going to the gym are all very good. But take your rest and don't overdo it!
Just a few kilo's too much? Dress nicely, hide that weight by knowing what kind of clothes suit you. It is important to look after yourself at this point and not to smell like 'baby' all the time. After all you are still the attractive woman, wife and she just had a baby!
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