There are certain words that may reasonably come to mind with the mention of Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi: “Jersey,” “reality TV,” “alcohol,” “Guidette,” and even, now, “mom.”
But “diet guru”?
It’s a distinct (though scary) possibility. On Friday, Snooki announced plans to publish a pregnancy book next year. Though it's not going be an "advice" book, according to the reality star, she does "hope that this book will help all pregnant ladies out there."
She started giving moms pointers earlier this week, though we wouldn't necessary call her tips "helpful."
Online excerpts from her interview in latest issue of Us Weekly detail her quick postpartum weight loss. The mag's cover photo, spreading like wildfire on the internet, boasts a svelte Snooki and the promise of her secrets to so-called success.
Since when are we taking health advice from the patron saint of the "Jersey Shore" hangover? Since celebrities started making a second career of this post-baby body business. See Miranda Kerr, Victoria Beckham and Gwyneth Paltrow— just a few providers of questionable weight loss tips for new moms in recent years. Snooki's diet guru reinvention is just the latest reminder for non-celebrity new moms everywhere that their still-mushy, jiggly bellies do not measure up. And not only that: The Snooki-style weight-loss regime may not be the best idea for the average postpartum woman.
“I lost the first 20 (pounds) in two months, just from breastfeeding,” Snooki told the magazine. “And then right when I was able to work out—after six weeks—I went into the gym with a new trainer Anthony Michael.” Now the 4-foot-9 mama weighs 102 pounds, a figure she maintains by working out with Michael frequently and eating his Express Fitness Home Meals (with options like chicken wraps and tilapia-topped salads), consuming just 1,300 calories a day.
While it’s great to see Snooki turning over a new, sober leaf, and feeling good about herself, we can’t resist pointing out just a couple of things here: First, that Snooki, someone with historically poor judgment when it comes to health and well-being, may not actually be the best nutrition spokesperson out there. Her past drinking binges are no secret, and in 2011 she was harshly criticized for hailing Zantrex-3 diet pills as the secret to that year’s slim down; doctors called her endorsement of the caffeine-fueled pill “outrageous” and potentially dangerous.
But second, is her approach to weight-loss even remotely healthy or realistic for someone just six months postpartum?
“I think it could be dangerous,” Erin Cox, a mother of three and author of “One Hot Mama: The Guide to Getting Your Mind and Body Back After Baby” told Yahoo! Shine. She noted that when a woman is pregnant, she usually notices which celebrities are carrying children, too.
“Then, when you see them three months after giving birth in a bikini or gown it can be really discouraging,” she said. “It can affect your self-esteem if you let it. But it’s important to realize that it is their job, and that they have a staff to support them in everything they do.”
Further, Cox added, it’s useful to remember that it takes the average woman 9 month to one year to lose their baby weight. It could be even longer for older moms (Snooki is just 25). And the best way to get there, she believes, is not with calorie deprivation, but by learning to be mindful when you eat—consuming healthy meals, controlling portions and adding exercise.
According to guidelines from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, endorsed by both the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals and the American Dietetic Association, weight loss after having a baby should be gradual—4.5 pounds a month max after the first month postpartum. As for calories, daily intake shouldn’t dip below 1,800 a day, with an additional 500 for women still breastfeeding (it’s unclear whether Snooki still is).
“Inadequate caloric intake may increase postpartum fatigue and have a negative impact on mood, especially if the mother is breastfeeding,” the guidelines continue. “Postpregnancy dieting may be accompanied by a significant decrease in bone mineral density.” Further, it warns, “Weight loss should not be promoted as a benefit of breastfeeding, because some studies suggest that lactation may actually impede weight loss.”
Us Weekly declined to comment on its Snooki interview. But former Us Weekly editor Janice Min spoke out about what she called the “Momshell (mother-as-bombshell)” phenomenon in a candid New York Times piece last year.
“In today’s celebrity narrative, just two kinds of desirable maternal female physiques exist: the adorable gestating one (with bellies called “bumps”) and its follow-up, the body that boomerangs back from birth possibly even better than before,” she wrote. “Me? I’m currently stranded on an island like the one on ‘Lost,’ only this one is inhabited exclusively by still-pudgy moms struggling to find their way back. I am partly to blame for my own physical netherworld. As the editor of Us Weekly, covering the Suris and Shilohs of Hollywood for six years, I delivered what the young female audience wanted: cute moms and babies.”
Well, we might be able to thank Snooki and little Lorenzo for delivering cuteness. But as for the low self-esteem and discouragement? Thanks—but no thanks.