Nikki Bella is sharing her honest thoughts about her postpartum body.
On Monday, the "Total Bellas" star stripped down to her bra and underwear to give fans a raw look at what her body looks like after giving birth to her first child just five weeks ago.
The new mom, who welcomed her son Matteo in July, filmed a video for her Instagram story and said that she was a bit nervous to show off her new figure.
"This was really hard to do but I felt like it was the right thing to do because I feel like sometimes on social media and with people sometimes in the spotlight we just truly don't showcase how hard postpartum can be and the journey of getting your body back," she said.
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The 36-year-old didn't share how much weight she gained while pregnant, but revealed that she's 18 pounds away from her pre-pregnancy weight, and said that she enjoyed a lot of rich foods while expecting her first child.
"I indulged in pizza quite a bit, especially towards the end and baked goods, especially when it got hotter or when I was just sick of being locked up inside. I would just use pregnancy as an excuse a lot and my fiancé happens to be a gourmet chef," she said.
Dr. Kameelah Phillips, an OB-GYN at Calla Women's Health in New York City, told TODAY that women typically gain anywhere between 11 and 40 pounds during pregnancy.
"This is highly dependent on her pre-pregnancy weight, level of activity, twins, medical conditions and other factors," she said.
As she embarks on her postpartum weight loss work, Bella wants to make one thing clear: She's going to shed the pregnancy pounds in the "healthiest way possible."
"There's going to be no crash diets. There's going to be no starving myself. It's gonna be bringing workout back in and healthy nutrition, which I have been doing. Of course I cheat here and there; I'm normal," she said.
Jodi Godfrey, registered dietitian/nutritionist and deputy director of the American Medical Women's Association, told TODAY Parents that healthy eating can play a huge role in any weight loss, especially for new moms.
"Focus on eating wisely such as following a Mediterranean style diet," Godfrey said. "You'll need to get plenty of calcium and vitamin D to protect your bones," Godfrey said.
Bella, a former pro wrestler who is engaged to pro dancer Artem Chigvintsev, seems to have kicked off her weight loss journey already, sharing a video of herself working out on TikTok over the long weekend.
Dr. Jane van Dis, co-founder of OB Best Practice, member of the American Medical Women's Association and an OB hospitalist at USC Verdugo Hills, told TODAY she always encourages her patients to take as long as they need to lose the weight.
"A healthy weight loss journey might be three months for some and 12 for others. There is no standard," she said. "It's important that women are not trapped into thinking that their body has to 'bounce back' after pregnancy."
Phillips also recommends that new moms take a breather before jumping into a workout routine after giving birth.
"I advise them to not even think about weight loss until they are at least six weeks postpartum when they have established breastfeeding and a routine for their new life with a newborn. Trying to lose weight too quickly can add to postpartum stress and affect lactation," she said.
In her Instagram story, Bella acknowledged that all the physical and mental changes that come along with giving birth have taken some time to get used to, and she sent a message of support to all of her fans who might be going through the same thing right now.
"I feel you and we're exhausted on top of it so it's not like we're getting beauty sleep. I wish," she said.
One of Bella's fans also sent her some positive words of encouragement: "Can we talk about how you still have abs!!!!! You’re body goals right now girl!!!!!!!!"
Despite her desire to get her pre-pregnancy body back, the new mom was quick to emphasize that having her son with her now makes her journey a lot more meaningful.
"Being a mom is the most rewarding thing ever ... I have the most amazing little boy ever. My Matteo is way worth it," she said.