Kristin Cavallari is darling, at five months pregnant. But let’s not forget: She’s only 5 months pregnant. And 25 years old. The fact that she hasn’t yet put on a ton of pregnancy weight isn’t extraordinary. Yet (proving once again how silly our media/culture is toward women, weight and pregnancy) digital tabloid Celebuzz implicitly compares Cavallari to fellow Celebrity Pregnant Lady Jessica Simpson, who is about to give birth. I think Cavallari answers pretty gracefully overall, though she still starts by framing it as a matter of ‘letting yourself go.’
Here’s Celebuzz’s question:
You look incredibly fit despite the fact you’re eating for two. Jessica Simpson has faced a lot of criticism regarding her weight gain. Do you think people are being overly harsh towards her?
And Cavallari’s answer:
Yeah, I mean, it’s easy to sort of let yourself go and just really enjoy it. I am, but I’m also being healthy about it, I’m not just eating crap. You have to be careful what you’re putting in your mouth, because that’s the nutrients you’re giving your baby. You don’t want to just eat macaroni and cheese or whatever, so you just have to find a healthy balance.
Good answer, no? In so much of the discussion around Simpson’s pregnancy diet and weight gain, the focus has been on how she looks, how quickly she’ll be able to lose the weight post-baby, whether she’s using pregnancy as an ‘excuse’ to ‘let herself go.’ Simpson hasn’t helped, of course, by talking about things like eating buttered pop tarts. But whatever; the occasional buttered pop tart isn’t going to kill you, if that’s your thing. Instead of using any of it to highlight nutrition and pregnancy in any sort of useful way, the entertainment media has mostly been using it as an excuse to gawk and fat shame.
Cavallari—who reminds me a bit of pregnant Betty Draper (not to be confused with pregnant January Jones/’fat’ Betty Draper) at the moment—seems to have a reasonably healthy attitude about eating during pregnancy. She also goes on to say that she’s been walking a lot, doing yoga and lifting light weights, which—yay; all are great exercises for pregnant women (or, in general). I just wish she hadn’t added this:
I’m definitely enjoying [pregnancy], but I’m not going overboard. At the same time, you are pregnant so you might as well have fun and live it up! When else can you just let yourself go?
Lest I sound like the celebrity health-quote police, please note: My complaint isn’t really with Cavallari. It’s that this idea is so pervasive in our culture—that women must always be either vigilantly watching what they eat or “letting themselves go;” that there is no healthy, non-obtrusive relationship between women and food possible; that it’s a battleground, and food is to be avoided or indulged in. It’s the whole language of talking about women’s diets in terms with moral connotations.
Oh, and for the record: At around five months pregnant (like Cavallari), a pregnant woman should have gained about 10-15 pounds. Current guidelines recommend a pregnant women carrying one baby gain about 2-4 pounds during the first trimester, and then 1 pound per week for the remainder of pregnancy (for a total of around 25-35 pounds).