It’s Official: Jessica Simpson and Weight Watchers To Make New Moms Feel Fat

Jessica Simpson Weight WatchersIt’s official: Jessica Simpson signed a $3 million deal with Weight Watchers to become their spokeswoman in 2012, immediately after giving birth to her first baby. Together, they’ll be mainstreaming the dangerous idea that immediate post-birth weight loss is healthy. Simpson’s decision is only mildly enraging (after all, what else would she do with her flatlined career?), but Weight Watchers should know better than to manipulate new moms into feeling bad about their bodies. Their program’s success is built on taking a balanced approach to weight loss, not enforcing the bad body image habits perpetrated by celebrity tabloids.

Sources say that Simpson will focus on losing her baby weight and prepping for her wedding with Eric Johnson, conveniently timed for soon after she gives birth. Early rumors about the deal held that she was signing on to get back to her early career weight, but sources say that it’s just the baby weight she’ll be losing. Which would seem like a fairly healthy goal, if it weren’t for the fact that she’ll be trying to drop pounds immediately after giving birth, when a new mom’s body is still adjusting hormonally and, depending on whether she’s breast-feeding, may actually need extra calories, not fewer.

But what’s even worse than Simpson’s—and other celebrities’—questionable commitment to immediate post-pregnancy weight loss is that Weight Watchers is mainstreaming it. Fox News explains their twisted reasoning for choosing Simpson to be their next rep:

According to a report from Us magazine last month, the company wants her to use their famous points system to follow in the footsteps of their other celebrity spokeswoman Jennifer Hudson to “lose a significant amount of weight.”

Not all weight gain (or loss) is equal, and thought

I haven’t had kids, but I imagine that it would take my body a few weeks to recover from nine months of growing a fetus and hours of pushing it through my vagina. I’d like to think that the people around me could understand if I didn’t “bounce back” to my pre-pregnancy weight—or even try—right away; after all, new Moms typically have myriad concerns other than looking good in daisy dukes.

Weight Watchers’ prides itself on a system that doesn’t promote deprivation or crash dieting; that’s why it works for so many women. But making new moms feel bad about their bodies, and pressuring them to tackle weight loss too soon, is just irresponsible and bad for the brand, if you ask me.

Photo: Featureflash / Shutterstock.com

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    • Regina

      I see a ton of comments around about how fat she is pregnant, I can’t imagine those are healthy for pregnant woman (or her either) but no one raises an issue with that.

      And I’m sure they’ll give her a day or two to bounce back. You’re acting like she’s going to be counting the points the minute after the last push.

      But the bottom line is, after how much people ridicule her, I can’t really blame her for taking it to heart and wanting to lose the weight. Not right, but the public can’t pretend they didn’t contribute to this now that they’ve pushed her this far.

      • Briana Rognlin

        You’re right that messages about how “fat” she is while she’s pregnant are pretty abominable, but like I said in the post: My biggest issue is with Weight Watchers for treating her pregnancy weight like it’s the same as any other weight gain; they should know better, even if she (or tabloids or “the public”) doesn’t.

    • Amy S.

      Weight Watchers allows the user to account for their life, if you are a breastfeeding Mom you are allowed X amount of points over and above what you would be allowed if you were not a breastfeeding Mom. Weight Watchers is a healthy way to lose weight. Whether or not you just had a baby! As long as she follows the plan and doesn’t undercut the calories (or overdo the workouts) she will be fine!

      • Nancy

        Exactly! And Weight Watchers doesn’t just discourage crash dieting, it’s not a ‘diet’ at all in that sense. It’s a healthy diet in the true sense of the word; a whole healthy lifestyle. You also only need about 300 more calories than you normally would when you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. And they aren’t encouraging people to get thin right after they have a baby, they’re encouraging people who want to get healthy, and yes thin, again to try Weight Watchers to help, which is a healthy way. And if you’ve ever heard of how it works you wouldn’t think she’s expected to “drop pounds immediately after giving birth.’ If it were any other kind of ‘diet’ company, I would probably have agreed with you.

      • Briana Rognlin

        Hey guys, great info about the points system and how it works with breastfeeding; thanks!

        It’s not that I think Weight Watchers is going to make Jessica Simpson crash diet or subsist on some ridiculously low amount of calories; I just think they’re sending the message that what happens to your body during pregnancy is so bad, you need to erase any signs of it right away. We have enough of that b.s. in the media, without a weight loss company jumping on the bandwagon.

    • Abigail

      You’re right. God forbid a woman should get back to a healthy, thin weight after having children. That would be horrible. God forbid she should be attractive and not have baby belly fat. We will all die because she’s losing weight in a healthy way. The. Freaking. Horror.

      • Briana Rognlin

        Abigail, see my comments on Avodah’s post, above… I’m not saying its bad for new moms to want to lose their baby weight. But the whole idea that it’s unattractive to be pregnant or gain weight while you’re pregnant is messed up, if you ask me. God forbid a woman let her weight fluctuate naturally with pregnancy and breast feeding! God forbid we call her “attractive” before she loses every last ounce of fat!

        There’s a middle road between blasting women for weight gain during pregnancy and thinking that having a baby will automatically make you 30 pounds heavier for the rest of your life. Weight Watchers seems to be promoting the former attitude, and I just wish that they’d go for a more body positive approach. (By the way, Jennifer Hudson is also a Mom, and says that some of the weight she lost on Weight Watchers was her “baby weight”…the difference is that she didn’t sign up to lose it before she’d even had her baby.)

    • Avodah

      Ugh, Briana, it is weight gain. Being a mommy is no excuse to remain overweight. Weight Watchers is NOT treating it “like any other weight”. As someone else said, they have different points for women who are nursing. Weight Watchers is an excellent way to lose weight healthily, and it is has help thousands of women.

      God forbid a woman not use pregnancy an excuse to be overweight. God forbid.

      • Briana Rognlin

        I’m not promoting that women use pregnancy as an excuse to be overweight here. The media has trained us to think that we have to go to one extreme or another, because that’s what’s most sensational, but in reality you have more options than being overweight forever or losing all your baby weight right away.

      • Avodah

        Brian, then what is the problem? Weight Watchers promotes balanced, healthy choices for life. I could imagine a woman who just had a baby needing support and guidance about healthy choices? What is the problem?

      • Briana Rognlin

        Weight Watchers isn’t a doctor or nutritionist who provides guidance about healthy choices—it’s a company that makes money off of a weight loss program. Choosing a spokeswoman who’s signed up to lose weight before she’s even had the baby sends the message that all pregnant women have a weight problem, and jumping on the bandwagon of making women feel bad about their weight gain during pregnancy so that they can make more money.

        Any good doctor would tell you that weight fluctuation during and after pregnancy is normal—and some people even consider it a positive thing—but the media and weight loss companies make more money if we make that seem undesirable and like something that needs to be “fixed” right away.

    • AmandaCG

      I have had two children. The first baby I was already overweight when I got pregnant, I could not wait to lose the weight, get healthy, feel better and look better. The second baby I was at a healthy weight when I started and proceeded to gain 40 lbs with him. When I had him I chose not to breast feed and practically starved myself trying to lose the weight on my own. I lost 50 lbs with Weight Watchers and have never felt better. It took almost a year to lose it all. I agree, heaven forbid that she would want to get healthy and in shape after the baby. I think a majority of new moms have that as one of the first priorities after giving birth. Good for her for having a healthy plan instead of some crazy UNHEALTHY and DANGEROUS diet like Atkins or South Beach or whatever other new thing some Hollywood Trainer would plan for her.

      • CW

        South Beach is not at all dangerous- it was developed by a cardiologist to be a healthy alternative to Atkins. Dr. Agatson does say that nursing moms should start with the less-restrictive Phase II of South Beach and add in an extra 3 servings of low-fat dairy.

        South Beach with its emphasis on whole foods, produce, lean proteins, moderate amounts of whole grains, and healthy fats is a LOT healthier than that highly processed Weight Watchers brand junk food.

      • Rebekah Mae

        the South Beach diet isn’t unhealthy at all! CW is right, the diet focuses on whole foods, veggies, proteins and a little bit of grains. Not to mention there are different phases to the South Beach diet so it’s not stressful to you or your body as you desperately count your calories and try to only eat x and y for lunch for the next two weeks.

        Educate yourself on these diets before you start labeling them “Dangerous” and “Unhealthy”

      • AmandaCG

        Let me elaborate on what I meant by dangerous and unhealthy. I have seen time after time after time women (myself included), friends and family members try these diets and fail miserably. These diets left us feeling deprived, acting like complete lunatics from the lack of balance in our diet, binge eating on “forbidden foods”, then helping us not only gain back the 10-20 lbs we lost but also gaining an extra 5-10. We were left feeling worthless and hopeless because we failed yet again. If that isn’t dangerous and unhealthy, I don’t know what is. I agree that the Weight Watchers line of food is less than desirable. I chose not to eat them because I try to stick to a clean diet. But that is a whole other matter that is up to the individual to educate themselves on. There will be endless debates on what “diet” is better. But from my experience and the experience of my friends and family, Weight Watchers is the only thing that has worked for us. It is the most reasonable and do-able “diet” out there. It’s not a diet. You don’t have “phases” you don’t have to go back to phase 1 if heaven forbid you eat a piece of cake or fall off the wagon for a few days. Weight Watchers teaches you the way you are supposed to eat everyday for the rest of your life.

      • CW

        Well., I’ve been on South Beach/Sonoma (it’s basically the same diet) since 2003, except for my 2 subsequent pregnancies. I’m currently 10 lbs. below the weight at which I started my first pregnancy. There aren’t any totally “forbidden” foods, just foods that one should only eat in small portions on special occasions. And I don’t have to obsess over counting calories (which is what the WW points system essentially is).

    • NotThumper

      Oh come off it people, these women are CELEBRITIES! If you honestly think that any one of them has lost any weight (baby or otherwise) from WW, Jenny Craig, or any other dieting program you are severely kidding yourself.
      Sure they may eat right and exercise, it’s easy to do if someone creates the meal plan (or meal itself) for you and if someone else is watching the kid you have all the time in the world to exercise! So if it appears to melt away quickly it’s most likey due to the fact that that is ALL they are doing.
      I feel for Jessica, I do. She has been criticized for her weight for years and that isn’t ok. I don’t blame her for wanting to slim down and be healthy after her child is born. I do, however, think inking a deal for an obscene amount of money completely undermines her “good intentions”.

    • Jessica

      I think that encouraging the safe, healthy, and rewarding eating habits that Weight Watchers encourages is a fantastic idea for post-baby slimming, and that your article is a hyper-defensive attack on something that could be misconstrued as “fat-shaming.” Weight Watchers, time and time again, has proven to be effective in a safe way above all other diet or diet-like methods, and is customizable to the special needs of labor-recovering and nursing mothers, and for you to claim otherwise comes off as rather ignorant of the system. Many, and I feel comfortable saying that very nearly a majority, of women in this country gain weight after children and never lose it. It’s the number one excuse for post-childbirth women being overweight. If not within a few weeks/months of birth, barring any particularly major/unusual health implication, when IS the appropriate time for a woman to get back in to shape? You speak of extremes, but I think its’ a more ridiculous flip-flop of extremes on this site, which I previously thought encouraged health, to say that its unreasonable for a post-birth woman to employ the safest most effective form of managing caloric intake to healthily lose baby weight. Baby-weight ISN’T like other weight gain, and I think that this is actually a good thing, that they are focusing on her weight BEING different. This isn’t “Get Jessica Simpson thin” it has the definite distinction of being “Jessica Simpson loses baby weight,” and I wholeheartedly believe that it will be treated differently.

      For all the fat-shaming I see and detest out there, I’m confused at seeing Blisstree taking the opposite approach- I think its laudable that Jessica Simpson and Weight Watchers will be joining up, I think it will encourage and support all the women out there who may have refused, don’t know how, or need help with losing post-baby weight.

    • Nancy

      I think it might be ‘fat-shaming’ if it were any other diet company, but I really think that’s not what Weight Watcher’s is really doing. Has anyone at Blisstree ever tried it, even for story purposes? I’m not being snotty :) I really want to know. Briana, why don’t you or someone else at Blisstree try it out for a while and report on it? I think that’d be a great read!

    • Liga

      After losing weight with WW after three pregnancies, I would urge you to look into the WW for new and breastfeeding mothers. It is very sensible and gives very good guidelines for minimal weight loss within safe boundaries. Show me one woman who does not want to loose her baby weight ASAP! By following WW you can do so immediately after birth safely!

    • Beth

      After all the discussion about weight and Hollywood promoting bad body images, bad eating habits, etc. I have come to the foregone conclusion that it is up to us to feel good about our bodies and be at peace with ourselves. It would be nice if society were more forgiving about motherhood and the pounds you put on–some of it is just water, btw– but we, women, need to feel better about ourselves the way we are. If we want to lose weight, fine, but we need to do it sensibly and keep it in perspective as a life goal. Hollywood just isn’t going to keep the perspective for us….As mothers, it is also up to us to set an example for our children. Our children are bombarded with Hollywood images and popular culture, but we need to remember that we are important influences in our children’s lives too…. Whether we work in offices, stay at home or anything in between, we raise our children and impart our values.

    • liahca

      Talk about motivation.

      Jessica Simpson is rightfully gaining weight while she’s pregnant with her first child, but as Page Six reports, the pregnant celebrity is ready to drop those pounds to the tune of $3 million, as soon as she gives birth.

      Sources tell the newspaper, the blonde singer inked the deal with Weight Watchers, which should help her speed up the process for her wedding to Eric Johnson.

      Simpson’s weight fluctuations have proved to be of great interest to the public, so it’s somewhat surprising the 31-year-old isn’t relishing one of the only times she can gain weight (relatively) free of public criticism.

      Still, this isn’t the first time the star has promised to slim down for cash — and is currently in litigation over it.

      In 2005, Simpson was reportedly paid $500,000 to take part in an (unreleased) exercise video about losing weight, and instead, chose to gain weight and reap those benefits, alleges the CEO of the company that produced the video.

      Following comments Simpson made to Lucky magazine about how gaining weight made her more relatable to the average woman, and helped in creating a billion dollar fashion empire, Speedfit’s CEO, Alex Astilean told the Huffington Post, he believes it was never Simpson’s intention to be the spokesperson for the video.

      One thing is for sure, Simpson seems determined to make as much money off this pregnancy as possible. From unsuccessfully trying to wrangle $500,000 out of the tabloids to announce Hollywood’s worst kept secret, to the first photos of the child (which aren’t thought to bring in much money), to dropping the post-baby weight, the singer is making it clear her body and this baby is a business.

    • Amanda

      This article is ridiculous – women should not be gaining more than about 20 pounds during pregnancy. I know a reprehensible woman who just had a baby recently, for nine months I watched her over indulge on chemical laden foods like candies, sodas, and other processed snacks! Appalling! With all we know about health and food consumption, does anyone read? Have you people out there seen the research? Start with the film Food Inc. – if all of this sounds foreign. All of you out there taking pregnancy as an opportunity to overeat need to focus back on yourselves and realize that what Simpson is doing is a good thing – for her career, and for all of those women out there feeling unattractive, tired, sad, lost and need someone to inspire them. Women who have just had babies need to take care of themselves, and feel good about themselves to maintain good self image and set a good example for their child – eat healthy, etc. There really should not be THAT MUCH weight to lose after all – if you’ve gained more than 30 pounds, or were overweight to begin with…you have a problem, think about that. Further, WW modifies its program to accommodate nursing mothers, etc. – I’m really surprised at how negative a light this article attempts to shine upon efforts to create a young healthy mom role model for American women…how SAD!

      • CW

        Are you a trained OB-GYN or midwife? If the answer is “no”, then who are you to be saying how much a woman should gain during pregnancy?

        20 lbs. may be a healthy weight gain for someone who started pregnancy overweight, but a woman on the thin side perhaps ought to be gaining 30 or 35 lbs. The very first OB I saw with my first pregnancy even gave me a big lecture about how he thought I needed to gain 45 lbs. (one of the reasons I switched doctors).

      • Tobi

        So, would you call yourself an armchair-OB/gyn or an armchair-nutritionist?

        Seriously, unless you’re a doctor, this is laughable.

    • Aubree Nash

      I think it is interesting that you have such a strong opinion for someone who has not actually had kids. Pregnancy is beautiful but I think you would be hard pressed to find any women who does not want to get back to pre-baby weight as fast as possible. I felt like a cow for nine months (and not because of comments made by anyone or the tabloids, etc but because I was bloated and uncomfortable all the time) and the sooner I feel normal again the better. I am on weight watchers and it promotes healthy weight loss that takes a lot longer than a couple of weeks. Also depending on how much weight you gain during pregnancy it can be like “any other weight gain”. If you go crazy and gain 60 lbs while you are pregnant (and many women do) you cannot attribute all of that gain to being pregnant and any doctor will tell you that is not a healthy weight gain for a pregnant woman and can cause many complications. Most if of that gain is from unhealthy eating and lack of exercise, which is the cause of most weight gain in general. Signin up before birth or after birth, what is the difference? Either way they are losing baby weight after they have a baby. Just because someone does not choose to hold onto and extra 20 lbs for 6 months they are in the wrong? That is just silly.

    • Nikki

      I know this is late, but I thought I’d clear up some things. WW isn’t going to do anything until she is cleared by a doctor. Until her doctor says she is safe to go on the plan, WW would be too afraid of damages to deal with her. If WW has signed her now, they did so not to get the pregnancy pounds off as soon as possible, but to keep competitors from signing her. Although I believe WW has signed her, they haven’t really said much about the deal. They haven’t said when she will go on the plan or why or whether she will count or not. None of this is certain yet. The only message being sent is not by WW. It’s being sent by gossip columnists and bloggers passing on the details of what they read elsewhere. There is no message from WW because they have barely even commented on the story. They won’t even officially confirm they’ve signed her.

    • Nikki

      I agree with you, but it’s a slippery slope. I know from experience that pregnancy pounds can easily become everyday pounds. That’s where a lot of us end up. You have 2 or 3 kids and suddenly you’re 50, 60 pounds over a healthy weight. I tried to be okay with extra weight, but it sucked. I felt tired and sick and just overall unhealthy. No matter what she ends up doing, WW is a healthy way to go. She can at least eat real food.

      Thank you for your response. I read the blog from time to time, but this was my first time responding. Sorry if I seemed mad. I wasn’t. Have a happy New Year!

    • oz

      big deal…. SHE’s always been fAT or heavy or thick, always back and forth with hr weight… now she has a millon dollar deal only because she’s having a baby… they are brainless!! 6 months and she’ll be back to her normal weight :p

    • Jaclyn

      I was on Weight Watchers while breastfeeding and they take into account the additional needs you have. You get more points, and they add servings of dairy to your daily nutritional requirements. WW is a very healthy way to lose weight after having a baby, and I’d suggest actually researching the modifications to their program for nursing mothers before suggesting that there aren’t any.

    • Caramellow

      Weight Watchers is probably the last diet that would be considered a rapid weight loss scheme–they consider healthy weight loss to be around 1 lb. a week. Unless Jessica Simpson skirts the program somehow, or puts in crazy exercise hours, it will most likely take a “normal person” amount of time for her to reach her goal. (Which makes the cynical part of me wonder if a reality show is in the works as some sort of comeback for her, but that’s another topic…)

      If the concern is about women starting to think about losing weight so soon after having a baby, I agree with the others that Weight Watchers takes breastfeeding and nutrition requirements into consideration in customizing how much you should eat to lose weight. I don’t see anything wrong with a woman choosing to jump-start her health after having a baby, especially if she has been majorly indulging during pregnancy, like Jessica Simpson was.

      If you expect to be at pre-baby weight (or thinner) overnight, though, then that’s a problem. Also, if the reason why you’re thinking there’s an urgent need to lose weight is because someone like Beyonce has, that’s a problem, too. (I agree that celebrities putting that expectation on women is wrong.)