A lighthearted look at news, events, culture and everyday life in New York. The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.
By Nina Pajak
Oh, January. Tis the season for reflecting on all that happened in the previous year and all that is to come. For remembering cookies and hams and chocolates and wines and martinis and Bailey’s past, and asking yourself WHY? WHY DID I DO THIS AGAIN? EVERY DAMN YEAR! WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH ME?
Do I secretly hate myself and my body? Does some part of me want to sabotage my goal of being thin because being thin represents something more emotionally complex than looking good in that sweater I really wanted to buy at J. Crew? Maybe I just don’t know what I’d do if I finally lost that last
five ten fifteen pounds I’ve been trying to lose since before I actually needed to lose them so I stuff my mouth with sugary treats to avoid that feeling of emptiness that comes when a dogged personal pursuit has ended.
Of course, it’s possible that I just really like cookies.
Every year, I beat myself up for bad holiday behavior and every year I force myself to get back on the horse as best I can. Except that this year is different. This year, I’ve got baby weight with which I am still contending.
Also, a baby.
The last thing I want is to become one of those Biggest Loser contestants whose story begins, “well it started with my first pregnancy…” and ends 500 pounds later. It helps that I didn’t gain 75 pounds with V, but I never thought I’d be closing in on a year with so little to show (or so much, I suppose). I blame myself for not working harder, but I also blame our insane celebrity mom culture for setting my expectations and ambitions in such a wonky place.
What is with this myth of post-baby hotness? All this crowing about the weight “melting off” and showing up to awards shows and photo shoots and premiers looking insanely amazing three weeks postpartum? This is hard. I mean, losing weight has always been hard! Why would it suddenly be easier when it comes along with bodily trauma and a screaming, helpless infant who requires all your money, time, energy and attention? That’s not a trick question. It wouldn’t.
Of course, it’s easier when you have lots of extra money to hire people who can help you both in terms of weight loss efforts and in terms of helping you to create the time to devote to said efforts, like nannies, chefs, trainers and nutritionists. It truly does take a village. So don’t give me that famous people garbage about breastfeeding and “running around” magically zapping away 65 pounds in just a month’s time. I will accept that some of them are genetically and metabolically blessed, but the rest are just lying, outright or by omission. It doesn’t do anything to help us normals with our morale. All of these inflated, physically improbable claims just make us feel like fatter, bigger failures.
Be of the people, celebrity mothers! Help us to dispense with the notion that women who have grown and borne new life can and should snap back into eighteen-year-old bodies they probably never ever had, all before their babies are old enough to hold their own heads up. If you could be a little bit fatter, we’d really be so grateful, but we understand that you’re under intense scrutiny and looking good is roughly two-thirds of your job. So even if you simply admitted how much time and money went into rehabbing your bodies, no one would judge you. We’d only love you more! We’d admire your honesty and hard work. We’d be inspired! We’d appreciate your acknowledgment of your own humanoid characteristics. We’d bitterly lament how much your resources dwarf ours and we’d snort at how impossible it would be for a regular person to replicate your success, you beautiful monsters, but we’d be catty and jealous in the good way. The best way, really.
Think it over, ladies. The rest of us will just be here, plugging away, eating cookies and pretending we’ll work them off when our kids learn to walk.
Nina Pajak is a writer living with her husband, daughter and dog in Queens. Connect with Nina on Twitter at @NinaPajak!