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Misery of the mums who long to be as sleek as Zeta

08:01am 3rd February 2005
Catherine Zeta Jones

Role model? Mums long for Zeta's slim looks

When celebrities such as Catherine Zeta-Jones regain their figure within weeks of giving birth, it tends to be with a lot of help from their personal trainers.

But most mothers don't have such advantages as they fight a losing battle to shed the pounds.

They end up so depressed at failing to emulate the stars that half consider resorting to plastic surgery, a survey claims.

Most mothers are still not back to their pre-pregnancy size or shape two years later - and 93 per cent say celebrities losing weight so drastically after giving birth "puts immense and unwelcome pressure on ordinary mums".

The survey of 2,000 mothers across Britain, commissioned by Mother and Baby magazine, found only three per cent were happy with their body after giving birth.

Those interviewed thought Miss Zeta-Jones had the best body of the star mothers, ahead of Victoria Beckham, Davina McCall, Kate Winslet and Elizabeth Hurley. Ideally they would like the Zeta-Jones top half and the Beckham bottom half.

'Worrying' findings

Mother and Baby editor Elena Dalrymple, who has a 16-month-old daughter, said the findings were "worrying" and warned that mothers were picking the wrong role models.

"Mums should be revelling in the joy of their new baby and eating well so they can healthily breastfeed, not despairing about their body shape and semi- starving themselves," she said.

"But the pressure from super-slim celebrities to be a 'yummy mummy' is so immense, ordinary mums feel they should have a film star body and be back in their jeans just days after the birth.

"They are comparing themselves with women whose jobs depend on looking great all the time, and who have plenty of help from an army of people to get them looking that way.

"Normal mothers do not have the time to get in shape straight after giving birth. Looking after a baby is more than a full-time job and it is wrong to start starving yourself when you are having to breastfeed."

She added: "A gorgeous baby is worth a few stretchmarks and slightly bigger thighs."

The average age of the mothers interviewed was only 28, yet 85 per cent said they would not feel confident on the beach any more.

Plastic surgery solution

Twenty-four per cent said they would "definitely" have plastic surgery either now or in the future and a further 25 per cent said they would "consider it".

Their top three choices of cosmetic operation would be tummy tuck (55 per cent), liposuction (50), and breast enlargement (48).

They say motherhood has left them with a "flabby tum" (83 per cent), stretchmarks (62), droopy breasts (51), poor muscle tone (43), flabby legs (31), cellulite (30), flabby arms (23), saggy bottom (20) and puffy ankles (7 per cent).

Their partners, however, are far more tolerant. Ninety-four per cent of men think the new mother is "just as sexy as before" and less than 30 per cent think she should "shape up" or lose weight.

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