Sunday, January 02, 2005

Celebrity Fitness: "Running Around After My Kids"

As a friend of several women who have had kids and have struggled to get back to their pre-baby weight, and who have continued to feel self-conscious if/when it doesn't happen "soon enough," I simply have to say something about the intense pressure placed on women to be thin, stay thin, get pregnant/have baby/look like you've never had a baby. We could blame men or the male dominated T&A-soaked culture we live in, and perhaps that does share some of the blame. But isn't the real point that we as women buy into that belief? That you can do a photo shoot for W Magazine 6 weeks after birth and look better than you did before you got pregnant? How many men do you know who bought that Sarah Jessica Parker magazine issue? None. It's us. We are our own worst enemies. To SJP's credit, she did say, "I can look like this because I have a team of trainers and cooks who help me." But what about the others?

How many more times are we going to allow celebrities with BMIs of 15 to say with a straight face, "I stay thin by running around after my kids"? It is now a problem of epidemic proportions because I just heard a regular woman (like you and I) say this to a friend in a coffee shop. This canard that having kids somehow causes weight LOSS cannot continue! My dear friends' senses of sanity are riding on us putting this overused and clearly false statement out to pasture.

What specifically do they mean by "running around after my kids"? Is there a hamster wheel in their mansion? Do the kids constantly run away from her and so she has to run after them? Does she "run after them" for 20 minutes straight at the appropriate intensity to burn 500 calories as well as tone her muscles? Someone fill me in on how exactly Pamela Anderson, Christie Brinkley, Jenny McCarthy and Catherine Zeta-Jones STILL get to make this outrageously false statement and yet their female fans with kids don't just revolt and demand that they 'fess up to doing Atkins and/or starving themselves?

The only celebrity who has ever been bluntly honest about it is Elizabeth Hurley whose interview went like this:

Q: "How did you lose the baby weight and how do you stay in such great shape?"

LH: "I go to bed very hungry most nights. That's it. I put my head on my pillow and try not to think about my rumbling stomach."

Finally! Some honesty! But did we throw her a tickertape parade in gratitude? Nope. We just keep on believing that "running around after my kids" is a valid way to remain 15 pounds underweight, rather than deducing the unspoken part of that statement: "My nanny is busy running around after my kids so that I have time to run to the gym and do 4-hour daily workouts so I can be on the red carpet in 8 weeks--and did I mention that I don't ever eat with my kids, much less come in contact with tater tots like you regular janes do?"

It's time to stop feeding the celebrity beast that only serves to make us feel bad about ourselves. So may I suggest a new year's resolution: Eat the darn tater tot if you want to. Just don't eat the whole bag. Worry about your weight if you want to. Just don't pass on a slavish devotion to celebrity diets to your children. And remind yourself that, just as you want to be physically healthy for your children's sake, you also need to be physically healthy for your own. So, please, worry less about the weight and more about how you feel. Oh--and turn off and tune out the Access Entertainment Hollywood Tonight. Kate Hudson is paid millions of dollars to do nothing else but "get her body back." You have more important things to do, like raise your child.

1 comment:

E said...


No sooner did I post this than I read in InStyle magazine at my gym while on the bike the following words of Rachel Bilson, a young, single woman who is on The OC. This is how out of hand the "running around after kids" thing has gotten:

Rachel claims to not work out at all, and to eat whatever she wants, because her exercise consists of "running after my 2 1/2 year old sister." Where is your mom?! Aren't you busy on the set? Acting? Not eating? Doing hours of Pilates? WHEN, my lovely ingenue, are YOU running around after your baby sister?!!

I am totally percolating over here! How can a 22 year old single woman now be using the "running after kids" thing?!! Stop this before it multiplies! Next we'll have them running after their neighbors's kids, KIDS will be running after kids. It's all gotta stop.

Tell the truth: I don't eat very much and I exercise a lot.