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Pink: How I Got My Body Back After Baby

09/09/2012 at 01:40 PM EDT

Pink Talks About Daughter Willow, Losing Baby Weight
Andrew Macpherson



After delivering daughter Willow Sage 15 months ago, Pink was in no rush to lose the 55 lbs. she gained while pregnant.

"I love to feel fit. I love to feel healthy. I wasn't in a race," she tells PEOPLE. "I was really kind to myself because I was actually really impressed with the fact that I had just had a baby, like 'I made a human!' "

The singer-songwriter, 33, was ready to hit the gym eight weeks after Willow was born, but it wasn't easy.

"It was slow because I literally couldn't even do a sit-up," says Pink, whose new album The Truth About Love is out Sept. 18. "I'd had to have an emergency C-section so I was numb. And exhausted. I was really afraid because my whole life is based on abs and core."

She kicked herself into gear with two workouts a day – sometimes on her own, sometimes with a trainer, and sometimes along with fitness DVDs from celebrity trainers Jeanette Jenkins and Jillian Michaels.

"I'm an athlete so I have to be strong," explains the pop star, who's known for her extremely physical concert moves. "It was hard work, and I'm still getting there – I'm still 10 lbs. away from my pre-baby weight."

These days, she works out for an hour and half five days a week plus rehearsals, and has been trying to stick to 1,200 to 1,400 calories a day with Freshology meal deliveries.

But, Pink says, for her the key is being realistic.

"I do the best I can," she explains. "I don't stick to it. I drink wine. Every day is a cheat day!"

For more on Pink’s new life – including how she's raising her daughter, her musical inspirations, plus how she navigates the ups and downs of marriage – check out this week's issue of PEOPLE, on stands now

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