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This title is leaving me wide open to LOTS of jokes, I know. Obviously, there are many, many differences between me and Beyoncé. She is a tall, beautiful, amazingly talented singer and dancer. (I can sing a little though…) She has a near perfect body and huge sums of money. (I have nice boobs…when they are in a push up bra.) She is known all over the world and has billions of fans. (People like me. I’m nice!) But the differences I’m talking about concern her much gushed over bounce back from pregnancy. The media can’t stop talking about celebrities and how amazing they look “just a month or two” after giving birth! I agree with them, they do look amazing. What I don’t agree with is making women feel like that is normal.
You know how diet pill commercials have a little disclaimer at the bottom of the screen that says “Results not typical?” That is what these articles and interviews should state. Beyoncé gained 50 pounds during her pregnancy and is back to her old self just three months later! (BY THE WAY: THESE RESULTS ARE NOT TYPICAL. YOU SHOULD SEE ALL THE SHIT SHE HAS AVAILABLE TO HER THAT YOU DO NOT!) I’m not hating on Beyoncé. I’m not even suggesting that she had surgery of any kind to make her body perfect again. I’m sure she worked out a lot, ate healthy foods and dropped with weight. But to suggest that it would be just as easy for the average woman to do the same is ludicrous.
1. Beyoncé has staff. Having a personal trainer, a chef, a nanny, and probably a nutritionist on staff helps tremendously. When there are foods prepared and available for you designed with your particular caloric needs in mind and someone to watch over your newborn while you work out three hours a day, I’m betting weight loss is WAY easier. I have a husband who works full time, a baby and a dog. No one is shopping for me, cooking for me, or able to care for my infant for hours at a time while I eat properly and work out. I can look online and download an app to tell me how many calories to eat to lose weight, but when you exclusively breastfeed it becomes hard to determine how few calories you can get by on and not lose your milk supply.
2. Breastfeeding. Beyoncé said that breastfeeding helped with her weight loss. I hear this all of the time, mostly from the rich and famous. I think it is total bullshit. While breastfeeding helps your uterus contract and may help shed a few pounds initially, I have never been more hungry than I was during the first six months of breastfeeding. Beyoncé breastfed for ten weeks. (That is awesome. I think any amount of breastfeeding should be applauded!) I have breastfed for the last 20 months and counting. When baby goes through a growth spurt, your body basically tells you to eat everything in sight to keep up with the demand. Everything. Inedible things begin to look tasty to a hungry breastfeeding mom. The cruel side of this is that NOT every calorie you consume goes to your milk. Some of it goes to your ass. And your thighs. And your upper arms…anyway, you get the picture. I know that I too could have quit breastfeeding at ten weeks, no one twisted my arm to make me continue. I just think that, again, crediting breastfeeding for weight loss should have disclaimer attached. That way long term breastfeeding Moms aren’t wondering what the hell is wrong with them for not being able to use breastfeeding as a weight loss tool like Beyoncé did.
3. Working. Beyoncé works hard. She tours and acts in movies and probably does charity events and has a lot of other social engagements. But Beyoncé doesn’t work the same way most of us work. She doesn’t have to return to a nine to five, Monday through Friday job after six or eight weeks off for fear of not being able to pay her rent, or buy groceries. Many women in the United States barely have time to let their vagina heal before heading back to work to help support their families. This means getting up early, getting children ready for daycare, commuting, working eight to ten hours a day, picking up children from daycare, making dinner, spending a few precious hours catching up with the partner and kids, doing the bedtime routine and preparing everything for the next day. This day to day schedule doesn’t even address afterschool activities, shopping, doctor appointments, and bathroom breaks, not to mention sleep! Where in the world do you fit in exercise? When all you can think about is collapsing at the end of the day, knowing that your little bundle of joy will be up every two hours throughout the night, how can you work out for even an hour? I have roughly four and a half waking hours a day with my son, I certainly don’t want to use one of those hours at the gym. I have about one additional hour after he goes to sleep to spend with my husband, before we pass out from exhaustion. I’m not trying to give that hour up either.
4. Product. I’m not saying there is a miracle pill…but there might be a miracle pill. If there is or isn’t, I would have no means of knowing. Beyoncé has money for days. It is well within her power to purchase or even test for free every weight loss gimmick known to man. That includes medications, creams, devices, equipment, procedures or philosophies. She has an arsenal. I have a husband, a baby and a dog. None of them know shit about weight loss. None of them currently have any tips or tricks or contacts with a program.
5. Unrestricted Food Budget. Aside from the actual person to do the cooking and shopping, Beyoncé has no limit on how much she can spend on food. I have a very real, very tight grocery budget. I try to buy organic, unprocessed foods when ever possible, but also try to not eat the same broiled chicken breast and zucchini every night. After buying every vegetable that is on sale and fruit for snacks, yogurt, oatmeal, and bread. I have just enough to buy meats. Depending on what is on sale, I buy chicken, pork chops and maybe a beef roast that each end up making two or more meals. We pretty much eat the same meals over and over. When money is tight, I can make casseroles that aren’t the healthiest option but taste good and fill tummies. They can be used for dinner and lunch. I also have to cook things that all three members of my family will eat. I do not have the luxury of different meals for different palates as I’m sure Beyoncé does. If Jay-Z doesn’t like poached sea bass and quinoa, I’m sure it is no big deal for him to get a steak and fries made to order while Beyoncé enjoys her low-cal fare. Not an option for my family. Dinner is dinner and my husband is picky.
So, this probably sounds like I’m making a ton of excuses why I’m fat, and that isn’t my intention. I don’t want normal women to feel like being healthy is unattainable because it isn’t. It just isn’t easy and it isn’t fast. Please do NOT look at Beyoncé and feel upset that you couldn’t lose your baby weight in three months. There are very few, if any similarities between your life and hers. Do what you can. Exercise when you aren’t suffering from sleep deprivation and mastitis. Eat healthy foods and indulge in cheesecake if your body is screaming for it. You did not gain thirty (or forty…fifty…sixty) pounds in three months and you should not expect to lose it in that amount of time either. If you expect your transformation to be like hers, you better pick up a microphone and start learning how to dance. You’re going to need a lot of fame, a lot of fortune and a whole ton of luck!