Giada De Laurentiis Credits Yoga, Diet for Postpartum Slim Down

12/15/2009 at 02:00 PM ET
Courtesy Shape for use on CBB

Having a baby changes everything, and for Giada De Laurentiis that adage holds particularly true. The 39-year-old celebrity chef tells the December issue of Shape magazine that her approach to diet and exercise has been irrevocably altered since welcoming daughter Jade Marie, 20 months.

A former gym devotee, Giada turned to yoga as an expectant mother and never looked back. “I thought, ‘Oh, this will be a good way to stretch’ but it turned out to be so much more,” she notes. “It taught me to breathe, it strengthened my muscles and it helped me relax.”

In fact, yoga has become so important to Giada that a private instructor arrives at her home every day at 4:45 a.m. for an hour-long session. The early start time might make some moms cringe, but Giada says it is crucial.

“If I don’t do it first thing, I simply won’t do it,” she admits. “With my crazy schedule, that often means cutting into my sleep.” She adds,

“But yoga gives me the energy and focus I need to get through my day. I’m not saying I don’t need a cup of coffee in the afternoon sometimes, but it’s the yoga that definitely keeps me centered.”

It also helps her maintain her enviable physique, which she says she reclaimed by giving up white sugar and cheese for six months after Jade was born. “I gained 22 pounds, which doesn’t sound like much, but I’m only 5’3″ so it was a lot for my height,” Giada points out.

“Because I had a c-section, I couldn’t work out for a long time afterward, so I knew the best way for me to lose weight was through diet.”

Jade is Giada’s daughter with husband Todd Thompson.

Source: Shape, December issue

FILED UNDER: Bodywatch , News , Parenting

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ErykaWynter on

I have a very good friend who works at Food Network in New York and apparently Giada had a c-section fairly early and only delivered a 5-lb. baby in order to avoid “getting big” and having her hips spread at the end. Of course this could be false, but it is a very reliable source. Just thought I’d share…

melissa on

I have a hard time believing someone would put their babies health and life at stake so they don’t get too big and the hips don’t spread.

fuzibuni on

ErykaWynter… interesting story, but i would put money on it being a rumor. Sounds like Giada might have some jealous co-workers.

I don’t think any decent OB would agree to an elective pre-term c-section with a baby at 5 pounds. it would be considered grounds for malpractice. Also, Giada herself would have been held legally responsible for her decision if the baby had complications.

Louise on

I can’t comment on whether Giada had an early C-section or not. However I personally know of a women who did this- she found a doctor to do a section at 37 weeks so as not to gain any further weight. It’s not beyond the realm of possibility.

Sandra on

I met Giada a few years before she had Jade, let me tell you the woman is miniature. I’m 5’4″ and there is NO WAY she is 5’3″ She’s 5’0″ or under. She wore platform sandals that were probably 3-4″ high. I know someone who only gained 10lbs because she didn’t want to get “fat” her baby was only 5lbs, this woman is also really thin, I’m fairly sure she has an eating disorder, but she’s also short. I don’t think Giada would have been that cruel. She was really personable and sweet when I met her.

Brandi on

From the birth announcement, Jade was only born 5 days before her due date and was 5 lbs 13 oz.

I dont think 5 days would make much of a different in the width of your hips would it? And Giada carried so small the entire time, people here were saying that she didn’t even look pregnant. It’s not a surprise she had a small baby.

Mrs. R. on

It’s not surprising her baby was small if she’s petite. It seems reasonable.

It’s a bit annoying to say ‘oh well, I’m petite, so gaining 22 lbs was a LOT’ because the healthy range for most pregnant women is 25 – 35 lbs… and if you start out underweight (which a LOT of TV people are) you should gain more.

4:45 AM? Yuck. Wouldn’t do it, even if it did ‘center’ me. Sleep is higher on my priority list (but then again, my guy is only 4 months, and I have a 3 YO too…)

Sarah on

22lb is not “a lot”, even for a 5’3″ frame. I am 5’2″, was 110 pre-pregnancy, gained 30 with each of my kids, and am back down to 110. It wasn’t a lot for my body. Geez, talking about gaining 22lb, and it being a lot sets a great example. In fact, it’s under the recommendations for normal-weight women to gain, and a lot under what they want underweight women to gain (which I’m sure she is, as I was). Ugh… Let’s make pregnant women feel fat now when they’re right on target. BLARGH

Lila on

I think she looks great! I can imagine it must be hard to diet when you are surrounded by food all day long, so I give her credit for doing it.

Jenifer on

I give her credit for the early A.M. workout, there is no way I could do it. There is something about super thin cooks that I don’t trust, LOL. How good can their food be? 😉 That’s why I love Paula – you know she loves her food!

On a side note, wasn’t their a supposed trend in Hollywood a few years back called “To Posh to Push” that was about celebrities setting early c-sections?

Sonya on

Elective C-sections are generally scheduled 2-3 weeks before the due date to avoid going into labour. Not sure if this was Giada’s case, but she does seem very weight conscious (with her going on a diet as soon as she gave birth, I hope she wasn’t breastfeeding). 22 pounds is like 10 kilos, which is below every medical recommendation.

Didn’t Madonna have C-sections at like 35 weeks to avoid gaining weight?

Frankly, I find it sad and feel sorry for her. She just had a baby and all she could think about was her weight:-(
Not to mention how mad this kind of stories make me with all those eating disorders young women have.

Cat on

22 pound is just fine for a small women to gain. My sister is very tall and slim and only gained 22 pounds and her babies were a good size. Every women’s body is different. I am tiny too and with my first I gained 45 pounds and with my second only 23 pounds. Both of my girls were 2 -3 weeks early ( do to hight blood pressure ) and they weight 7 pounds. So it’s normal.

mrsh on

I was 100 lbs. pre-pregnancy and I’m 5’3″. I only gained 20 lbs. but would have probably gained more had I not been diagnosed with gestational diabetes at 27 weeks. Up to that point, I had gained 17 lbs. The strict diet I had to follow made it so I only gained another 3 lbs. in my last 12 weeks of pregnancy. I delivered naturally at 39 weeks and my daughter was a healthy 7 lb. baby. Everyone gains weight differently. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if Giada was very weight conscious during her pregnancy.

Courtney on

Some of these comments are a little ridiculous. “She just had a baby and all she could think about was her weight” – you do realize this was an interview with SHAPE MAGAZINE, correct? A publication that focuses on physical fitness, workouts, diets? Of course the interview was going to be about her return to pre-baby form. What did you expect?

Jen on

I’m 5’2″, and was 108 when I got pregnant. I sit naturally at 100 lbs, but gained weight in preparation for getting pregnant. I gained 24 lbs, gave birth to a 7.5 pound baby, and I didn’t look like I had gained a lot at all. It was evenly distributed and lots of times when people saw me from behind, they were shocked when I turned around and was pregnant.

Sounds to me like Giada is trying to justify her diet and exercise routine.

Jessicad on

“To posh to push”, whoa. That’s pretty disturbing.

Kristin on

I don’t care how much she weighs, how much she gained…I just wish we could see a picture of Jade! I do respect Giada’s decision to keep her out of the spotlight. Has anyone seen a pic?

Jen on

I think it’s so wierd that we so often see cover stories on magazines of how people “amazingly” lose weight after the birth of their babies. Pregnancy is a temporary state and the body goes back to a pre-pregnancy size afterward. (Boob changes and stretch marks, now that’s a different story! Lol)

Shoot, when I think about almost every single pregnant mother I know, they pretty much go back to a similar size after the bubs is born.

Anna on

Wow! I would never be able to get up at that time. It would also make me very tired the rest of the day. I wonder what time she goes to bed at night? Must be quite early.

Jessica on

Kristin – Here is a picture of Jade. Adorable girl! She’s also been shown on a few episodes of Everday Italian. I think she looks more like her father.

DD on

22 pounds? I never know if that means before or after the baby comes out. That sounds like very little weight if that included the pregnancy/baby. The pregnancy alone (baby, placenta, amniotic fluid, extra blood volume, bigger breasts) is usually close to 25 pounds.

DD on

Oh, I have to add that I was also surprised at how quickly my body bounced back after pregnancy. I am 5’2″ and baseline 100 lbs. I went to 133. I swear I lost more than 20 in the hospital and more in the following weeks (no exercise and no dieting — I was recovering from C-section and breastfeeding). I was 105 at my 6-week follow up. I thought I’d have to work out for a year but I was pretty happy with my body even the first weeks after birth (except for all the new spider veins!)

Rebecca on

It’s funny that people have said they don’t trust her because she’s skinny, so how good can her food be? Liking a food, loving it, whatever you want to call it, isn’t license to gorge yourself silly on it. I’m sure she eats all the food she makes, she just eats smaller portions and works out. Nothing wrong with that.

I do love Paula Deen, and find that Julia Childs and her husband lived until the age of 91 (2 days short of her 92 birthday) and 92 respectively, even with the huge amounts of butter and other fattening things in her recipes, amazing (even though Julia Childs’ husband had a stroke 4 or 5 years before he died.) It’s very interesting how people that use all these fat substitutes, and eat fat free foods are dying younger than the people who have bacon every morning, lol.

mrsh on

DD – I took it to mean she only gained 22 lbs. total. Like at 9-months pregnant, she was up 22 lbs. not that she had a remaining 22 lbs. to lose after she gave birth, she definitely didn’t gain that much weight! She was very small even just weeks before birth.

mrsh on

Oh, and the “too posh to push” phrase actually started with Victoria Beckham, because she had c-sections supposedly to avoid labor. How true this is, we will likely never know. I do remember watching an episode of TLC’s A Baby Story that featured a young woman who scheduled a c-section because she felt pushing was “beneath her.”

Jenifer on

Rebecca, I am the only one who said it and it was a JOKE hence the “LOL” and 😉

Toni on

I do have to say that I have all of Giada’s cookbooks and have made many of her recipes. Her food is wonderful! I met Giada a few years ago and she couldn’t have been nicer…she seemed genuinely interested in what I was talking to her about, and happy when I told her that one of her recipes is my husband’s favorite for his birthday.

Jade is regularly on “Giada’s Kitchen” (Everyday Italian is only on in reruns now.)

All Women Stalker on

Oh I wanna see photos of her baby, too. I bet she is super cute. 🙂

Heather on

I don’t know what her story is, but I’ve only gained a few lb with both of my pregnancies due to hyperemesis and my babies weighed 8 lb 9 oz and 9 lb 3 oz.

It could just be that her daughter was meant to be small just like my babies were meant to be big.

Rebecca on

There are those that say that, and don’t mean it as a joke. It wasn’t so much at you 🙂

K on

I met her in person, she is most definitely not 5’3″ She is 5′ or 5’1″ at MOST.

Mitta on

ErykaWynter That is so sad to hear because I LOVE Giada! But I’ve heard it too….unfortunately many celebs do this and the doctor’s let them!!

Liz on

The women in my family are all on the fuller-figured side to begin with, and gain very little during pregnancy because of this. None of them ever look really pregnant, just like maybe they put on ten pounds or so evenly over their bodies. Due to morning sickness (and late pregnancy afternoon and evening sickness), my mother said she weighed less post-pregnancy than pre-pregnancy. Believe me, she is not one to starve herself, and I was not at all a small baby. Every woman is different.

I think people are jumping to an awful lot of conclusions with Giada having a C-section, that her decision was predominately about her weight or something else seen as superficial. A vaginal delivery is more harmful to the baby if it goes wrong; if a C-section goes wrong, the danger is more on the mother. Some women (especially if their childbearing years are on the decline or if it is their first pregnancy) are simply not comfortable with the risk of vaginal delivery to their child, assuming the worst happens.

Anatomically-speaking, some women have more chances of a negative outcome with vaginal delivery. A relative of mine who was very tiny in build (like Giada) had a vaginal delivery years ago, and her baby simply could not fit through the birth canal even when she was at full dilation. The OB/GYN was anti-caesarean and used forceps to force the baby through instead of doing a C-section, and the child was left permanently brain-damaged. Sadly, this was not an uncommon circumstance in the U.S., because that attitude is not uncommon. There are some countries where C-section is far more routine than in the States, even ones where the general populace is poorer on average. Just because vaginal delivery is “natural” does NOT mean it is always safe, and to act as if anyone choosing before an emergency strikes to go with a C-section is making a bad choice is simplistic and short-sighted.

Lastly, Giada was 37 years old when she gave birth. First-term pregnancies after age 35 aren’t ALWAYS more problematic, but any wise doctor and patient will be aware that the possibility very much exists. (This is based upon medical documentation over many years of statistical review.) While 37 is obviously not an old age, elderly primigavida can carry such significant additional risks to both mother and child that a planned C-section may at least reduce the feeling of stress and anxiety in an expectant mother. This lowering of stress alone can be important to the health of both mother and baby. Gestational diabetes, hypertension, congenital malformation, obstetrical complications, and even stillbirth are statistically higher for women over age 35. A C-section obviously may not prevent those things from happening, but it can be a wise option depending upon a particular woman’s circumstances. At 37, Giada would likely have realized if her pregnancy and delivery went badly, she might never have another opportunity to conceive or carry a baby to full term.

In any event, it’s important to remember that this was not only Giada’s child, but also her husband’s. We have NO idea what his feelings and thoughts were on this, too. I am guessing that if he is a normal husband and father-to-be, he’d have had active input on the decision-making process, with his primary concern being the welfare of his wife and unborn child. I think it’s quite unfair to attribute a decision solely to the woman here, and judge HER solely for it, too.

It’s also preposterous to act like she’s not quite so “saintly” a mother for having not suffered through the unknown or through vaginal delivery. (Would people be attacking her quite so harshly if she was not famous, thin and wealthy, I wonder? Could some of this judgment be little more than jealousy over what people see as Giada having an easier life with easier, more abundant options?) It’s absurd to equate greater pain with greater virtue as a delivering mother, or equate a C-section as being someone less holy a birthing experience. I find it sad that people act as if having a C-section is automatically done in vanity, a method of “taking the easy way out”, or is done without concern for the unborn child. Although it’s possible one or all of these things were true in Giada’s case, none of us has a clue about it either way!

By the way, I’m not thin, wealthy, famous, abounding in endless life choices, or a woman who has had a baby- so I’m not defending her because I’m just like her.