Melissa Rycroft with husband Tye Strickland and daughter Ava Grace

Being a new mother certainly takes its toll. Between the feedings, the diaper changes, the play dates and all that falls in between it is easy to forget about yourself and give into the thought that a pre-baby body is no longer possible. Well former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader and reality show star Melissa Rycroft begs to differ.

Growing up, Melissa was always active. She didn’t follow a special diet or workout regimen, but was heavily into dance and gymnastics. That active lifestyle continued when she became a cheerleader for the Dallas Cowboys. “It was the first time I was ever really on a diet,” she says. “I used to eat like most college students; pizza and junk food. Then when I became a cheerleader we had a nutritionist talk to us about food and eating healthy. I finally started to pay attention. Plus with workouts that lasted 6 hours a day, you had to make sure you were eating and eating good stuff.”

Melissa continued her healthy habits throughout her pregnancy and says she even worked out up to her 9th month. She claims she does believe that achieving a sexy and healthy body post-baby is possible, but admits that even her own body isn’t quite the same since the birth of baby Ava. “I gained about 50 pounds during the pregnancy,” Rycroft says. “I was lucky that most of it came off quickly, it was mostly water weight but my body is just different now. There is a good 5-10 pounds that I carry that I just don’t think I’ll ever get off.” Post-pregnancy, Rycroft headed back to the gym almost immediately where she focused most of her efforts on cardio. She said she did everything from the treadmill to running to the elliptical and the bike. When at home she would try to get out and take Ava on long walks around the neighborhood. While she does admit that strength training was not a huge part of her post-baby body routine, she does claim that she did do a ton of lunges. “That’s one thing that definitely did change; my butt. It was so nice and tight before Ava and now, even with the workouts it’s just not the same!”

Melissa believes that all moms should take some time out for themselves and says that a little “me-time”, is the key to actually being a better mom.

Whether it’s going to the gym, getting your nails done or just meeting a friend, try to get out of the house at least a few times a week,” she says. “This will help keep you from psyching yourself out. Keeping yourself healthy is important in order to be a good mom.”

Rycroft also shared her thoughts on finding balance in a crazy life. She says that trial and error is often the best way to go and feels that you have to try different things to see what works for you and for your family. Whether that “thing” is a shift in schedules or moving to a new location, with a few little changes balance will come.

Melissa Rycroft may no longer be receiving roses on The Bachelor, engaging in Salsa on Dancing with the Stars or kicking up her boots at a Cowboys game, but her future schedule is still jam packed. Be on the lookout for her upcoming book, “My Reality” set to release in June 2013. She says the book details her life as a reality star as well as her biggest reality role ever, being a wife and mom. As far as the possibility of another baby for the star, Rycroft says, “Maybe… someday.”