In a candid new blog post, Katherine Heigl revealed that gaining 23 kilograms while pregnant led to "moments of sheer panic," but the experience of losing her post-baby weight has made her appreciate her body even more.
The 38-year-old actress, who gave birth to son Joshua Bishop in December 2016, wasn't sure what to expect during pregnancy. "Despite starting my gestation out on a pregnancy-friendly meal plan and hiking my butt off five days a week my weight kept creeping up," Katherine wrote in a blog post. "At a certain point, probably around four months I gave up the struggle and tried instead to respect my body’s needs and trust my instincts."
While Katherine shed a number of kilograms easily after giving birth, getting back to her pre-pregnancy weight proved challenging—and she's learned a lot from that process.
"The years of deprivation, counting every single calorie (kilojoule), completely eliminating major food groups and setting unreasonable weight goals are over," Katherine wrote. "None of those things ever really worked for me and only fostered an unhealthy, resentful relationship with my body, an attitude that I do not want to pass on to my daughters. There was something about my pregnancy and post-pregnancy body that instilled a sense of body pride in me and a freedom from body shaming that has been such a persistent part of my life for so long. It was the most natural and healthy thing in the world to put on weight during my pregnancy and allowing my body to shed it slowly, gracefully and healthfully feels... good."
Katherine explained that she doesn't enjoy high-impact workouts or weight training, but loves outdoor hikes and yoga. She tries to stay mindful of what she's eating, picking the most nutritious meals possible. For breakfast she loves overnight oats or smoothies, with a soup for lunch. And her number-one piece of advice? Approach weight loss with a positive outlook rather than a negative, critical one.
"Start every morning by saying out loud a positive mantra of your choice about your body," she wrote. "Mine is 'I am easily, with good health, inspiration, grace and gratitude losing weight faster than I can even imagine with harm to none.'"
This article originally appeared on Women's Health.