We need to talk. American society is obsessed with weight, despite numerous studies saying the number on the scale doesn’t always correlate with health. Don’t think so? Today, Khloé Kardashian revealed her pregnancy weight was 203 pounds — and people ate it up.
The Revenge Body host, who turned 35 on Thursday, acknowledged to People that she had a skewed perception of postpartum weight loss and thought, “I would push the baby out, and then I’ll be skinny again.”
“Then you get home from the hospital, and you’re like, ‘What? It’s a big shock,'” she added.
While the human body is capable of incredible things (growing and sustaining another life form for nine months is proof), it has its limits. Some things to consider: Someone with an average pre-pregnancy BMI and weight should gain around 25-35 pounds during pregnancy, according to the American Pregnancy Association. That number is a bit higher for those who were previously underweight and lower for those who were overweight — and it’s not accurate at all for people who are pregnant with multiples.
Of course, these guidelines are merely recommendations. Every person and every body is different. Some women lose weight during pregnancy if they have a condition such as hyperemesis gravidarum, while others gain upwards of 40-50 pounds. In each instance, it’s up to a doctor to monitor a patient’s vitals and make recommendations to best suit each pregnancy.
As for weight loss, the average person sheds around 13 pounds during childbirth, according to the Mayo Clinic. That’s fluids, the placenta, and, of course, the baby. Still, some feel like they have to “snap back” immediately and lose every extra pound.
“As soon as I got clearance from my doctor, I was [in the gym],” Kardashian told People. “I was so excited to start working out again. Mentally I was there. But physically, I couldn’t do it. I was out of breath. I didn’t know how I was going to get to my end goal.”
It’s okay to set goals — but it’s imperative that they’re realistic and healthy. The Mayo Clinic does say that “it’s generally safe to begin light exercise within days of delivery — or as soon as you feel ready” with the expectation that each person consults a medical doctor before hitting the weights. (Keep in mind, too, that you need extra calories while breastfeeding to sustain healthy milk production.) And, as Kardashian herself said, it’s critical you don’t overextend yourself.
“I took it really slow,” she told People. “I did it day by day. If I could get through that workout, I did. But you’re not going to get it back in a day.”
“It took nine months to gain the weight; give yourself at least a year to take it off,” she later added. “You have to adjust. And you’re juggling with a baby and your life and trying to do those moments that are about you. You have to be kind and learn how to balance it all.”
Yes! But let’s take it a step further. Start practicing self-acceptance and kindness from the beginning. Know your trigger points and do what you can to avoid agitating them. If you’re like me and know you have a history of fixating on weight, know that you don’t have to look at the scale at the doctor’s office. Trust that they will tell you if you’re gaining too much or too little. Don’t obsess over celebrity or influencer Instagram accounts. You have no idea what kind of staging went on to make that photo look “perfect” — and, honestly, you have no idea what those people’s relationships — with themselves, their families, their food, or their health — are like.
Finally, accept that you just did something amazing by growing a human being. No matter what your body looks like a year postpartum (whether you’ve lost or gained weight), know that your body is, inherently, different now. No spin class could have prepared you for birth, and no instructor could ever delegitimize the unbelievable transformation you experienced physically and mentally throughout the process. Take the clicky headlines with a grain of salt and focus on what matters most: you, your family, and your health.