1. How important is it to you to look good?
a) Looking good is essential to my happiness and self esteem
b) I like to look good but there are plenty of other things I value about myself
c) I don’t always feel as glam and gorgeous as I would like…
2. Which of the following best describes your attitude to food?
a) Something I try to control and frequently feel guilty about
b) Just one of life’s many pleasures
c) When the going gets tough – bring on the custard creams!
3. Before you became pregnant, what was your attitude to dieting?
a) I was permanently on a carefully controlled diet
b) I simply cut out treats if I was feeling a bit podgy – worked every time
c) I didn’t stick rigidly to diets; so many goodies, so little time!
4. You’re going out with the girls, but your jeans are feeling a bit tight. Which of the following are you most likely to do?
a) Stay at home and crash diet until they fit again
b) Choose a flattering top and get glammed up – that gives me the confidence to do anything
c) Go up a size – who’s to know?
5. How do you feel about your pregnant body?
a) I find it frightening that I can no longer control the way I look
b) I love being a big mama, although I’m not keen on my big bottom / thighs (delete as applicable!)
c) I don’t feel as sexy and sassy as before
6. How do you feel about the phrase ‘eating for two’?
a) No way – I’m too worried about shifting the weight after the birth
b) It shouldn’t be an excuse for eating all the wrong things but it’s nice to have the odd treat.
c) Works for me when the chocolate biscuits are on offer! But I do feel a bit guilty afterwards…
7. Which celeb’s approach to post-pregnancy weight loss do you most admire?
a) Liz Hurley hid from the world and went on a diet and fitness regime that ‘nearly killed’ her, losing the pregnancy pounds in just 12 weeks – I really admire her determination
b) Liv Tyler took 14 months to return slowly to her pre-pregnancy weight, taking things slowly and spending time with her baby rather than worrying about diets. Sounds like a sensible approach to me
c) Nigella Lawson says hat she has never recovered her pre-pregnancy figure, but says she would far rather be comfortable than constantly worry about looking good. You’ve got to be pragmatic – but I’m still mourning my old jeans!
Looking good is important to you and you are very disciplined about diet and exercise, which probably means you’ll be the first to get back into a little black dress after the birth. You have a tendency to worry about gaining weight and may find it difficult to accept that your body shape will change during pregnancy no matter how careful you are. Remember that you’re not fat, you’re pregnant. Mary Wood says: “So much is going on in your life right now that you need to give yourself a break from worrying about what you eat and how you look. Those first few months with your baby are a precious time to bon with your child, but if you are feeling really anxious about losing weight, take your baby out for long walks in the pram. It’s the perfect way to bond with your little one while satisfying the part of you that likes to feel you are still in control.” If you think your anxiety about your body image is getting out of control, seek help sooner rather than later. And remember: you can probably afford yourself the occasional indulgence.
Rather like: Liz Hurley, model and actress, admitted to hiding herself away from the world during her pregnancy, and confessed that losing those pregnancy pounds was extremely difficult. After Damien’s birth, she holed herself up at Elton John’s luxury mansion: “I decided to go into an absolute health drive. I went on a very strict diet: lots of meat, vegetables and brown rice – disgusting but very good for you. Then I hit the treadmill to lose the 53lb I’d gained. It was mostly iron will: I made it my mission to get back into shape.”
You have a really balanced attitude to food and body image. You generally try to eat healthily, but you are sensible enough to know that a little bit of what you fancy does you (and your baby) good, and realistic about the fact that your body shape will change during pregnancy. You are also relaxed about taking time to return to your pre-pregnancy weight, and know that bonding with your baby in the early weeks is more important than super fast weight loss. Mary Wood from the positive eating charity Foundations, adds: “Gradual exercise will give you additional energy and make you feel good. What other people think is not so important as how you feel about yourself: a real recipe for success in all areas of life!” Keep up the good work after the birth and you’ll regain your shape without depriving yourself of the finer things in life.
Just like: TV presenter Gabby Logan. After giving birth to twins Reuben and Lois, she was back in a size 10 within 3 weeks. But her secret wasn’t extreme dieting. She explains: “I wasn’t going to use pregnancy as a green light to gorge myself.” So rather than ‘eating for 3’ she increase her normal calorie intake by 200 calories per baby, seeking advice from a nutritionist to ensure she was getting a healthy balance of foods. Rather than hitting the gym as soon as the twins were born, she exercised throughout her pregnancy and her forward-planning obviously paid off.
You’ve often lacked confidence in your appearance and have a tendency to turn to food for comfort when you are feeling low or tired, and then guilty about it afterwards. You’re not alone – studies suggest that anything up to 90% of women in the UK have a ‘mildly dysfunctional’ relationship with food. The important thing is not to allow the guilt you associate with food to take over. Pregnancy is an exhausting and demanding job. Mary Wood explains: “When we are tired our bodies crave sugar – it’s a natural physiological response to fatigue. Acknowledge this by planning ahead: carry a selection of healthy snacks in your handbag to stave off morning sickness munchies, or make up a bowl of pasta salad to reach for when your baby wakes you up at 3am again!”
Your body is different now, but no less gorgeous, so when you do have one of those ‘bad body days’ (and we all have them!) treat yourself to a conditioning treatment for glossy hair or a pedicure and make the most of your new found assets!
Just like: Davina McCall, TV presenter and mother of three confessed to feeling ‘fat and depressed’ 8 weeks after the birth of her first child Holly. “I’m giving myself an incredibly hard time about my body, which is daft, I know, but I can’t help it. The more I worry about it the more I eat, so it’s a vicious circle. I’m even embarrassed about going to the gym as I feel so yuck.” Second time round, however, she did things differently: “Halfway through my pregnancy with Tilly, I looked on the mirror and thought ‘ughh’. I didn’t feel good about myself but it was my own fault – I was drinking gallons of coke.” So, she embarked on a gentle fitness regime: “Walking and gentle exercises, just keeping me fit when I’d rather be lying on the sofa eating popcorn and watching telly.” She continued exercising after Tilly was born, so she didn’t need to resort to extreme diets to slim down.