Laura Arndt, a Pilates instructor and fitness professional, as well as the creator of Matriarc, an app for postpartum healing through exercise and nutrition, explains to Romper in an interview that it’s best to lose weight gradually and steadily to protect the skin’s elasticity. If you hold onto the baby weight too long — for over a year, for instance — it will be harder for your stomach muscles and skin to tighten up again. “Your body is meant to expand, and then it’s meant to go back,” she says. Which isn’t to say you have to lose all the extra weight instantly. It’s more important to take the long view, by eating right and easing into exercise intelligently.

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