The fitness queen reminds new moms that there are no shortcuts when it comes to reaching sustainable postpartum health goals.

By Faith Brar
February 14, 2020
Getty Images/Jerritt Clark/Contributor

Trainer Massy Arias has been nothing but honest about her postpartum experience. In the past, she's opened up about struggling with anxiety and depression as well as losing almost all connection with her body after childbirth. Now, Arias is sharing even more intimate parts of her postpartum fitness journey, reminding new moms to be realistic about recovery after childbirth. (Related: How Soon Can You Start Exercising After Giving Birth?)

In a powerful post on Instagram, Arias shared two photos of herself doing a hip bridge while holding her daughter Indie (who, BTW, is already a badass in the gym). In one photo, Indie is just a baby and in the other, she's a full-grown toddler. Arias's body looks visibly different too. The first image shows her belly still swollen from childbirth. In the other, she seems to be at her current fitness level.

Alongside the photos, Arias alluded to her postpartum physical transformation and shared that no "drastic changes," "waist training," "restrictive diets," or "fad trends" helped her gain back her pre-baby strength. (See also: The Best Post-Pregnancy Workout Moves to Feel Like Your Strongest Self)

"Don’t get hung up [on] the idea of instant gratification," she wrote in the caption. "Life isn’t a race but a marathon. When you focus on healthier choices with progressive movement, you’re not overwhelming yourself to think getting results is impossible."

Arias, a self-taught trainer, entrepreneur, and fitness model, continued by sharing that drastic measures or quick fixes might work for a short period of time, but the results are never longlasting.

"Most diet trends are restrictive, giving you the idea that you have to starve in order to lose inches," she wrote. "These don’t teach you how to eat to have energy, build muscle, and decrease fat at a rate that isn’t changing your perspective about healthy nutrition. What sounds too easy or implies that you’ll put very little effort to yield results is basically a lie." (Related: Why You Should Give Up Restrictive Dieting Once and for All)

To get the results you want—postpartum or otherwise—commitment is key, Arias shared. "You have to work your booty off and make compromises," she added. "Instead of going from zero to hero, break down your goals, making progress every week."

The most important thing to keep in mind, however, is that reaching your goals takes time, according to Arias. "You’re not going to change years of inactivity and/or unhealthy eating in a week or a month," she wrote. "Killing yourself in the gym lifting or doing cardio for hours without a strategy based on your fitness level for a week or a month while under-eating isn’t going to help you lose weight faster. This is only making you hate the tools that can help [you become] healthy, happy, and fit." (See also: Massy Arias Explains the #1 Thing People Get Wrong When Setting Fitness Goals)

These days, postpartum weight loss stories and transformations are all over Instagram. Although inspiring, they often fail to paint the entire picture, leading other women feel like they need to take the shortcuts Arias mentioned to replicate others' success. To separate fact from fiction, several influencers, body-positive activists, and celebs like Ashley Graham have spoken out about how this dramatic "post-pregnancy bounce-back" simply isn't realistic. The bottom line: losing baby weight, in addition to accepting your post-baby body, is often a process.

Take wellness influencer Katie Wilcox for instance: It took her 17 months to return to her natural size after giving birth. Then there's Tone It Up's Katrina Scott, who thought she'd "snap back" just three months after giving birth. The reality? It took her much longer than that—which, reminder, is totally okay. Even fitness star Emily Skye admitted to being frustrated with her slow post-baby fitness progress and had to work on appreciating her body for everything it had been through.

Together with Arias these women are proof that postpartum recovery has its ups and downs and being patient while your body heals is key—after all, you just created and carried a tiny human. NBD (but actually a very BD).

Just remember Arias' words: "it's about progress, not perfection."

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