You spent nine glorious months snacking on everything from peanut butter and pickle sandwiches to an entire rack of ribs. But not all the weight came from what you ate… you did have a little human growing inside of you, after all. Even though it took three trimesters to gain the weight, you were kind of hoping that it would just melt away (like it seems to with Victoria’s Secret models). Well, it didn’t quite work out that way, and now you’re terrified that the weight is here to stay. Don’t worry. Here are five tips for how to relax and lose the weight in a totally healthy, stress-free way.

pregnant woman eating apple

1. Start with your doc. It’s tempting to jump right back into pilates or start a dramatic diet, but that’s not always the healthiest way to go. “New moms should first check with their doctor before starting to exercise or change eating habits, especially if they are breastfeeding and/or experienced a C-section,” advises Kimberly A. Tessmer, RDN, LD.

2. Be inclusive. “Including all food groups is essential,” Kimberly says. This means making sure that you get enough fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean meats and seafood, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products. Even though you might want to skip a meal (or an entire food group) here or there, this won’t necessarily help you drop the baby weight — at least, not in a safe way.

3. Give yourself time. The thought of stepping onto the scale at your post-partum appointment kind of freaks you out. It’s only been six weeks, but you’re still not satisfied with how your weight loss is going. Celebs make it look so easy. They seem to pop back into shape within days of having their babies. But remember this: Everyone’s body is different. Do what feels right for you. “If you were at a healthy weight before pregnancy, give your body time to get back to that healthy weight,” Kimberly says. “There is no need to rush it and put extra stress on your body.”

4. Take time for yourself. Yeah, yeah, we get it — easier said than done. But losing baby weight in a healthy way means that there are no shortcuts and no excuses. Starving yourself won’t get you to where you want to go and giving up isn’t an option. Even though you’re a crazy busy new mom, you can still squeeze in time to eat the right way. “Use the time when your baby is sleeping to prepare meals so that you have good nutritious meals and snacks on hand, and you don’t tend to snack on unhealthy foods,” says Kimberly.

5. Stop comparing yourself to others. The always stylish, seemingly perfect mom down the street was back into her pre-baby jeans within weeks of giving birth, and you wish you could be like her. It’s time to put the negative thinking aside and get real. The truth is you really don’t know how she lost the weight. Maybe she went on a crash diet. (Kimberly recommends staying away from this type of extreme method, BTW.) Who knows, and really, who really cares? You’re not her. Stop comparing yourself to any other post-pregnancy body and start concentrating on how you can help yourself. You’ll lose the weight in your own way and in your own time.

What’s your biggest post-pregnancy body fear? Share yours and tweet us @BritandCo!

(Photo via Getty)