I did something stupid the other day. Maybe I was riding high after working out for 30 minutes without dry-heaving. Maybe I was having a stroke. Whatever the reason, I retrieved the scale from the depths of the bathroom closet and stepped on it.

“What the ($*@! Is that a phone number? No way do I weigh that much!”

Except I do. Yes ma’ams and sirs, I most definitely do. There’s a lot of pressure to bounce back after having a baby. If I’m being honest, it’s not even a bounce, it’s a Serena Williams death serve. I’ve done some soul-searching though, and I think I’ve found the reasons why I and so many other new moms can’t seem to lose the extra pounds in the expected time. Prepare yourselves, ladies. It’s about to get real.

Can’t lose the baby weight? Maybe it’s because:

1. You aren’t sleeping. Babies sleep between 12 and 16 hours a day. Surely you can squeeze in a measly eight uninterrupted hours of zzz’s. If not, reassess your priorities, put that crying baby down and get thyself some beauty rest. Your waistline will thank you.

2. You’re eating the wrong foods. I know you can’t see straight from sleep deprivation, postpartum depression and new parent anxiety, but you really need to plan your meals better. Half a Pop Tart between crying jags does not a healthy mama make. Spend your weekendscooking and stocking up on freezer meals. Who says Sunday is the day of rest?

3. You aren’t exercising. Look, I’m busy raising a family and working 50-hour weeks too, but darn it, we all need some “me” time! Tell your husband to blow off his mandatory conference call and get home to watch the kid immediately. You are going for a 10-mile run no matter what!

4. You’re still playing the pregnancy card. Pregnancy lasts 9 months, ladies, and it’s time to get our postpartum butts back into gear. Sure, you were a bit slower while carrying an eight pound person in your uterus, but he’s out now and God knows there’s nothing more difficult than being pregnant. Shake off those C-section stitches and dislocated hip joints. Stop making excuses. You don’t need a fully aligned pelvis to do ab crunches, anyway.

5. You’re too stressed. A 60-year-old male pediatrician once told me that raising one child isn’t that hard, and he so right. I’m sure his wife just had a bad attitude while she was raising their brood all by herself. Seriously though, think of all the advantages us gals have today: affordablen childcare, the support to “have it all,” a government that advocates paid family leave. Yep, we’ve got it easy, and that’s why we all need to sit back and take a chill pill. Being a mom isn’t difficult, and stress will only keep those kale chips firmly attached to your hips.

6. You aren’t thinking positively. Stop being such a Negative Nancy. You wanted a baby and now you have one. What’s the problem? Adjusting to motherhood requires a can-do attitude with no room for doubt or negativity. Like my 5’11”, 24-year-old trainer with no kids says, True transformation comes from within. We should all heed her words, for they are truly wise.

7. You’re comparing yourself to other people. It’s easy to resent the Hollywood moms who jump into a bikini 47 minutes after giving birth (and Instagram it, naturally). Their skin is stretch mark-free and their abs have magically regained muscle tone, all without the help of Photoshop. It’s important to remember that these celebrity women aren’t being conceited or smug: they are setting an example for the rest of us. Instead of resenting them, we should look up to them and emulate their good habits. I for one vow to take more ab-tastic selfies. Because that’s what role models do.

8. You aren’t making the most of your time. I’ll bet that your baby takes at least one nap per day. That means you have a whole 34 minutes to yourself. Instead of sitting, breathing, or even showering, you could be doing squats or whipping up a kale smoothie. Think, woman! Those thighs aren’t going to shrink themselves.

9. You aren’t breastfeeding. Everyone knows that one ounce of expressed breastmilk equals one pound of back fat. Don’t tell me you had supply issues or that bleeding nipples were just too painful to endure. Work smart, not hard. Position your babe on his boppy, whip out your boob and feel the burn.

10. You had a baby. You felt nauseous for six straight months. Your blood supply increased by 50 percent. You grew an entirely new organ to nourish a growing baby. Your uterus swelled to 500 times its normal size. You created, protected and birthed a live human. Excuse you for carrying a little extra weight around. The good news is, it doesn’t really matter. Self-obsessed society may not approve of it, but they will get over it. In the meantime, give yourself a break and spend your time adjusting to your new life rather than running marathons on the treadmill. Trust me, those extra pounds will be waiting when you get back.