Source: USA TODAY
Jessica Simpson says “being pregnant for two years took a toll.”
She and fiancé Eric Johnson, a former NFL tight end, have two children, daughter Maxwell Drew Johnson, born May 1, 2012, and son Ace Knute Johnson, born June 30, 2013.
Her hefty weight gain during her first pregnancy was a hot topic in the tabloids. She says she was “constantly hungry” and had a “big appetite.”
Simpson, 33, says she didn’t pack on as many pounds with her second pregnancy. Still, she says, whenever she went to the doctor and stepped on the scales, “I would say, ‘Really, I could gain that much weight in one week?’ “
Simpson is back to her pre-pregnancy weight before Ace but won’t say what it is.
“With Maxwell, I vegged out and laid around. I knew I didn’t have to watch what I was eating for the first time in my life. I kind of let loose, and I gained a lot,” says the singer, actress, fashion designer and celebrity spokeswoman for Weight Watchers. Many remember her incredible figure in cutoff shorts and skimpy tops from her role as Daisy Duke in the 2005 movie Dukes of Hazzard.
Simpson says she lost more than 50 pounds on Weight Watchers after Maxwell was born. She’s 5-foot-3. Weight Watchers tells members that a healthy weight range for a person of her height is 113 to 141 pounds.
When she got pregnant for a second time, Simpson says she gained “what a normal pregnant woman would gain. I did put on a good amount with Ace,” but she won’t give the exact number.
The difference between the pregnancies was that she was already leading a “healthier lifestyle” during the second pregnancy, and she kept exercising, working with her personal trainer three times a week and going on “walks with Eric, my almost-husband. I tried to get 8,000 to 10,000 steps a day. I wasn’t trying to lose weight. I didn’t mind gaining weight.”
When the doctor gave her the OK after Ace was born, Simpson says, “I jumped back on Weight Watchers.”
She followed the company’s new Simple Start plan, a two-week program that doesn’t require people to count points. It provides a shopping list and menu of options for meals and snacks, as well as splurges such as a glass of wine or serving of ice cream.
The plan is based on studies that indicate that weight loss during the first month of dieting is very predictive of both short- and long-term weight-loss success, says Gary Foster, co-chief scientific officer for Weight Watchers. “We want to keep it simple and structured, because those two things drive success,” and if people experience success, they are more likely to stick with it, he says.
“I saw the results really quickly,” Simpson says, and then she went back to the PointsPlus program.
As far as preparing the family meals, Simpson says she has “somebody who comes in and helps out. I do want to make sure I stick with the right recipes, and obviously my schedule is a little jampacked.”
She describes herself as “an OK cook. I’m not one of the best. Eric is really good at chopping vegetables. I’m not good at chopping.”
She gradually increased her exercise and now is going full speed ahead on that.
One day recently, she walked 18,000 steps. “With both kids, I’m running up and down my stairs a million times. Kids can keep your metabolism going. Eric and I go on walks together. I try and walk about 4 miles a day consistently. It makes me feel better.”
Exercise helps her “with all the hormones I have to deal with. Working out and being active overall makes me a happier person to be around. I let out so much more anxiety if I go out and walk and talk to Eric, who is basically my therapist on our walks.”
In addition to walking, Simpson’s physical activity includes doing somersaults in the backyard with Maxwell.
She is also working with personal trainer Harley Pasternak four days a week for 45 minutes. “It’s a lot of resistance training, lots of lunges and squats. There are bursts of cardio throughout the workout as well.”
Simpson is on a mission “to be the best version of myself and to feel great. I want to be a great mom and a great example to my kids.”
For years, there has been a lot of publicity about Simpson’s weight cycling. “People are going to talk about this no matter what. I might as well choose to live a healthy lifestyle.
“It does get old having people harping on how much you weigh or your body after pregnancy. I need to feel comfortable in my own skin. People are going to pick me apart no matter what I do. I’m always going to have critics out there who will make a story out of something.”
With two children a little over a year apart, Simpson says she and Eric “have our hands full. It’s so much fun. Every day we don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s fun to watch them interact. They definitely keep our lives busy but full of smiles. We laugh a lot.
“I’m the luckiest girl in the world to have Eric with me and by my side, and he’s an unbelievable dad.”
The couple is in the middle of wedding plans. “I’ve been pulling all kinds of sketches for dresses and colors. It’s a good goal for me. It’s good for me to feel the best I’ve ever felt when I walk down the aisle.”
About having more children, she says, “I can’t even think about being pregnant again right now.” But, she adds, “I would never say never.”