The actress opens up about how getting pregnant and giving birth changed her body—and why she won't follow a diet.

By Faith Brar
Updated: February 21, 2017

It's no secret that pregnancy and childbirth affect your body in big ways. And for many women, like actress and mother of two Alyssa Milano, pregnancy can help a promote a positive body image. (Related: Fitness Blogger Shares Her Story About Accepting Her Post-Baby Body)

"Once you have kids, you realize what the human body is made to do," the 44-year-old told People. "You realize why sometimes women's bodies retain fat, and usually that's biologically to create breast milk. You realize all the changes your body goes through hormonally."

"It's really an awakening, when you get pregnant and have a child, that the female body is the most amazing machine imaginable."

Although Hollywood puts pressure on women to look a certain way, Milano shares that she's been fortunate enough to dodge those superficial expectations in her career. "People have always been very supportive of me in the business, no matter what weight I was," she said. (Related: This Mom Wants You to Understand the 'Dark Side' of Pregnancy)

Milano is passing similarly healthy practices down to her kids: "I'll take them to the gym, where they have a daycare center, so they can see where I'm going and what I do, and that it's important to work out and be active in a world that's so sedentary," she said.

As for herself, the actress follows an "Atkins lifestyle," which is not the same as the infamous diet. "I eat whole foods that are low in refined carbs and low in sugar. And foods that are rich in healthy fats and proteins, vegetables, and any fiber-rich carbs," she explained.

"I think that when you call things a diet you're setting yourself up to fail," she said. "Because to me, that means there's an end to it, and with health and fitness, you have to maintain your entire life...it's all about feeling healthy and strong, and fitting into my clothes, and keeping up with my kids."

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