She ultimately credits her husband for helping her scale back her expectations and her daughter for helping her find self-love again.

By Faith Brar
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Model Katie Willcox has been spreading the message of self-love for quite some time. The founder of the Healthy Is the New Skinny movement has been open and honest about how difficult it was for her to find a place for herself in the modeling world, how the body-positive movement is neglecting medium-sized women, how women shouldn't have to feel the need to lose weight to find love and how you're so much more than what you see in the mirror.

Now, the first-time mom is opening up about her decision to be transparent about her 60-pound weight gain during pregnancy, and how it took her much longer than she thought to go back to "normal".

"I'm back to my usual weight of 165 pounds, but it took me 18 months to get there," she told Parents for their August cover story. "I can't imagine the stress I'd have felt if I'd thought I had to return to my prebaby weight right away." (And just FYI, it's normal to still look pregnant after giving birth.)

Regardless, Willcox admits that she slaved away at the gym hoping to snap back into shape and learned the hard way that these things take time. "I tried going to the gym after six weeks, and I left in tears because it was so defeating," she told the mag. "I had no strength, and I literally peed my pants!"

Noticing her struggle, her husband stepped in to suggest she scale back a bit. "My husband, Bradford, who used to be a personal trainer, told me, 'We're not going back there. Let's just take a walk,'" she said. "So that's what we did. No workouts just walks. After a few months, I started lifting weights again. After nine months, I did some Spin classes. It was gradual. I put away the schedule and focused on True. You can't get that time back with your baby, so I told myself, 'I'll take the extra pounds for now. I'm cool with that.'" (Related: Emily Skye Reveals That Her Pregnancy Workouts Didn't Go As Planned)

Willcox says it was during this time that she also learned to love her body again-and that was all thanks to her daughter. "We're all born loving ourselves," she told Parents. "It's not something we have to learn how to do. Our kids love their body because they haven't been conditioned to see flaws. True loves herself. She kisses herself. She loves being alive. We were all like that once. If you want to understand how to love yourself, all you have to do is watch your kids."

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