London - Whether it’s Victoria Beckham (back to a skinny size 6 just weeks after giving birth to baby Harper), model Miranda Kerr (rarely seen out of tiny leather shorts, with baby on hip) or even presenter Myleene Klass (back in a teeny bikini), it seems not a week goes by without a celebrity pinging back into shape after having a baby.
It’s enough to make any new mom throw her toys out of the pram. So what is it really like to deal with that baby weight if you haven’t got a personal trainer, a dietitian on speed dial and round- the-clock help with your newborn? How do your feelings about your body change - and is your figure ever the same?
Bank worker Lisa Colclough, 32, who lives in Bournemouth with husband Dan, 35, a supermarket manager, and sons Dylan, three, and Harry, eight months, agreed to keep a post-pregnancy diary after Harry’s birth last April.
Harry was born just over a month ago and I feel very low about my body. I’m still in my maternity gear and can’t imagine ever fitting into my pre-pregnancy clothes again.
As a result, I haven’t got much confidence. I won’t get undressed in front of Dan, as I don’t want him to see me naked, and I avoid looking in mirrors.
The weight gain upsets me more than after my first pregnancy. I think it’s because, having had two children, I don’t think my body will ever be the same again. I don’t cry easily, but I feel very emotional about my appearance.
When I glance in a shop window and see a fat, frumpy woman pushing a pram, I can’t believe it’s me. Dan tells me I need to be patient, but it’s hard not to get downhearted - especially when you see photos of celebrities who lose their baby weight in a couple of weeks.
Abbey Clancy gave birth to her daughter, Sophia, just before I had Harry, but was back in her skinny jeans before he had even arrived!
I usually have an hour-glass figure, but at the moment I hate my huge, saggy DD-cup breasts - they used to be a pert C - and my wobbly tummy. I think I’ll always have a ‘muffin top’, as my tummy muscles have been weakened after two Caesarean sections. I certainly don’t feel very sexy, and making love isn’t a priority.
Before I got pregnant with Harry, I was 9st 7lb and a size 10-12 - that’s what I’d like to achieve in the next six months.
During both my pregnancies my downfall was chocolate. I’d have a medium-sized bar of Dairy Milk and a Mars bar every day. Both times I put on about two-and-a-half stone. Last time, I lost the weight by refusing chocolate and cutting down portion sizes, and it took about five months.
I’m going to follow the same plan this time and exercise at home on the Wii, too, when I’ve got more energy.
Harry wakes up every two-and-a-half hours through the night for feeds, and I am exhausted all the time from looking after two children.
It’s been a good month! I’ve been strict about having only one treat night a week, when I’m allowed chocolate, and I’ve been monitoring my portion sizes - I’d got into the habit of eating the same amount as Dan.
I may still be overweight and frumpy, but at least I no longer look pregnant. I’m finally starting to rediscover my waist and have been able to squeeze into some of my old skirts.
I was feeling very good until I met up with a friend who had a baby at the same time as me. She lost all her baby weight within a month, while I’ve still got a long way to go - it did make feel like I’d failed a bit.
On the plus side, Harry has started sleeping from 11pm to 5am and it’s really helped me to find the motivation to start exercising.
I had to wait ten weeks after the birth for the Caesarean scar to heal, but I’m using the Wii for 30 minutes, three times a week - doing step aerobics and hula-hooping.
It’s easier to fit into daily life than going to the gym and I don’t have to organise childcare.
I’ve also been trying to find time for myself and as a treat had a full-body massage. I felt self-conscious stripping off for the masseuse, but it was so relaxing I fell asleep.
The month started well and the weight came off quickly. I packed away the last of my maternity clothes. Harry even started sleeping through properly.
But it all went downhill from there. Dan trapped a nerve in his back and was signed off work for six weeks and told to rest. I’m so exhausted from looking after Dan as well as the kids that I feel I deserve to treat myself, so I’m back to a bar of Dairy Milk a night.
I’ve managed to go swimming a couple of times a week, as Dan can babysit in the evenings, but it hasn’t been enough to stop the weight going back on. I feel horribly demoralised.
I don’t think I’m an easy person to live with at the moment - poor Dan can’t do anything right.
Dan is back at work, so it’s been easier to get back into a routine. I’ve been on the Wii Fit for 40 minutes every day and have even been for a 40-minute jog. Exercise definitely makes me feel more positive.
My size-12 skirts are still a little snug, but I can fit into two pairs of my pre-pregnancy jeans, and my belly is a lot flatter.
My main issue now is my flabby arms. They’re the part of me I’ve always hated most, so I usually avoid wearing sleeveless dresses.
I’ve been doing arm-toning exercises - bicep an tricep curls holding tins of beans, which I do when Dylan’s having a nap. Harry is very good, he lies on his back, watches me and gurgles.
In general, I’m really pleased to see my figure coming back. I’m looking in the mirror more and making more of an effort with my appearance - wearing make-up and figure-hugging clothes. I’ve started undressing in front of Dan again and, because I’m happier about my body, our love life has improved.
This month I’ve really noticed changes in how I look - I’ve lost weight off my face and my figure is starting to look like it did before I got pregnant. As a result, I’ve been feeling really positive - and have hardly been nagging Dan at all.
I’ve been managing to stick to my healthy lifestyle. Dan has been trying to eat healthily, too - he gave up smoking recently and put on nearly a stone - and it’s really nice to do something together. He’s also been paying me lots of compliments, telling me how sexy I’m looking, and how well I’ve done.
I’ve been doing a lot of walking with the children, as it’s been difficult to do so much exercise at home because I’ve started weaning Harry and potty-training Dylan. I seem to spend most of my time cooking and washing these days. That’s the difference between celebrities and the rest of us - they have help with the children and the housework.
I didn’t make my target of 9st 7lb but I’m so close I’m still delighted. At times it felt like a slog, so I really feel I deserve to have my hourglass figure back.
I’ve felt so positive about my appearance, I even treated myself to blonde highlights for the first time since having the children. I used to have them done regularly and since I went to the hairdresser I’ve been smiling every time I catch myself in the mirror. Dan says it reminds him of how I looked when we met.
I’m back at work in a few weeks and there are girls in my office who always look perfect, so there’s always a bit of pressure to look good.
I’ve been planning my new work wardrobe - my body shape has changed and my hips are bigger - so I’m not sure my smart work trousers will fit any more. My style has also changed since having Harry. I’ve worn more dresses and skirts while I’ve been on maternity leave, and friends tell me they suit me, so I’d like some more feminine clothes.
Now I’ve got my confidence back I’d love to lose a little more weight, even get down to 9st, but if I don’t lose any more I’ll be happy anyway. I am never going to be skinny.
Celebrities may get their figures back within six weeks, but I think it’s easier if you’ve got personal trainers, chefs and nannies at your beck and call.
It’s much harder doing it on your own, and while it may have taken longer for me to reach my target, I am proud of what I’ve achieved. - Daily Mail