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Michelle Obama neglected wellness routine after becoming a mother

Michelle Obama has had to learn to put her health first after neglecting herself when she became a mother.

The former U.S. First Lady and bestselling author of Becoming is now helping to inspire other women to do the same.

"We (as women) have to own our health. It's one of these things that no one can take from you," she said during the Essence Festival in New Orleans over the weekend.

Michelle, who led a major child health and fitness campaign during her husband Barack Obama's presidency, believes women need to "un-train" each other when it comes to prioritising wellness.

"When it comes to our health as women, we are so busy giving and doing for others that we almost feel guilty to take that time out for ourselves," the 55-year-old added.

The former lawyer also noted how eye-opening it was when the former U.S. leader managed to keep up with his fitness routine after they welcomed daughters Malia, 21, and Sasha, 18.

"A lot of mothers will understand this, because I found myself looking around after I had my kids, and I didn't have time for me, but my husband was at the gym every day. And I was like, 'Well, how are you going to the gym?' He was like, 'I make time for the gym.' I was like, 'What?'"

These days, Michelle makes time for weights and heavy cardio to "things like yoga that will keep me flexible."

She added, "I want to feel good, and I want to be as healthy as I can be because I want to be able to enjoy my seventies and eighties."