The “Mummy Tummy”
The “Mummy Tummy”. Let’s be honest, you didn’t expect to look exactly the same just after having your baby and you knew your body would somewhat change.
Fine. You get that.
But what you might struggle to understand is why your tummy has a new-found shape in the form of an apron and why, no matter what you do, you just can’t seem to get rid of it! This is always reported as the part of the body that undergoes the most change and for many it may never be the same again.
While we know that the mommy tummy is simply yet another beautiful reminder that you’ve created life (how awesome are you!?), we also know that for a lot of women, their mommy pouch is a bit of a shock to the system and it is normal to feel like you want to improve your physical appearance and get back to what you are used to.
That’s why we are here to help.
This article will help you to understand why your body has changed shape and is struggling to change back, especially your tummy area. If you can understand this you may find it becomes much easier to address this issue. So let’s start with what happens to your tummy during pregnancy and postnatal.
Step 1: Is it Diastasis Recti?
The first thing you need to do is determine if you have diastasis recti (DR), which can occur after natural and C-section deliveries.
It’s really important to find out if you have DR, because certain abdominal exercises can weaken the area’s connective tissue and worsen your abdominal separation.
While it’s important to seek medical advice or book your 6 week check if you suspect you have DR, the simple exercise below can usually give you a good idea:
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
- Take one hand and place your fingers directly above your belly button.
- Lift your head off the floor as if you were going to do a crunch – but keep your shoulders on the floor.
- If you feel your fingers sink into your abdomen (and it feels a bit squishy) then it is likely you have abdominal wall separation
If it is confirmed that you have DR, you should focus on closing your abdominal gap and strengthening your core muscles as soon as possible.
Step 2: Take advantage of NEAT
No, we’re not talking about spending hours tidying up all the toys (although that kind of movement will actually help!). NEAT refers to everyday movements that you wouldn’t usually class as exercise (or as we like to call them, non-exercise activity thermogenesis).
Without a doubt, the best way to lose your mom belly is to decrease your sedentary time while increasing your daily activity.
Let us explain why this is important in addition to traditional exercise:
Most of us can only perform traditional exercise for around one hour a day. Even if you exercised for 1 hour a day, 7 days a week, that would still leave 23 hours a day without exercise. Of course, there are only so many calories you can shift in one hour of daily exercise!
Think about it, if you spend the remaining 23 hours not doing much physical activity, you are missing a great opportunity to get rid of your mommy pouch. Luckily, as you are probably realizing, children are going to help keep you pretty active!
If you’re wondering how to shape up your mommy belly, you already have most of the tools at your disposal! Seriously, do not underestimate the power of everyday movement. You’ll be surprised at how simple things such as walking to the shops or standing up and walking around every 15 minutes can help! This combined with a postnatal plan where the personal trainer can also help target the abdominals in a more considered and intense way, will do wonders!
“One of the most effective ways of targeting the mommy pouch is movement – and lots of it!”
– Kira Mahal, MotivatePT Founder & Mum of two
Step 3: Increase your Protein Intake
If you’re thinking about how to reduce your mom pouch, you need to be thinking about adding more protein to your diet!
We know that being a new mom sometimes means eating what you can when you can, but making simple changes to your diet can make a big difference to your postpartum body!
Protein is made up of amino acids that serve to build almost all of the tissues in your body. It also has the highest energy demand (which means it helps you to burn more calories) and it keeps you full for longer.
The good news is that it’s really easy to add more protein to your diet (we’re simply talking more meat, fish, eggs or supplements for vegetarians!) even for busy mums like you! Another pro tip; focus on meals rather than snacks. When we snack we are more likely to reach for the wrong things.
Step 4: Get more Fibre
Like many women, you’ve probably often wondered if you’ll ever get rid of your mummy tummy. Little did you probably know that something as simple as increasing your fibre intake can help.
Fibre is well known for its health and fat loss benefits, but did you know that it’s also an insoluble carbohydrate, which means that your body doesn’t digest it? (Yep, it passes right through you and comes out the other end!)
Eating more fibre can not only help to reduce your mom belly, but can slow down the rate of food absorption, normalise your blood sugar levels and help to decrease hunger. It really is worth making the time for that bowl of Weetabix or wholemeal porridge in the morning!
Step 5: Strength Train
The final step in the battle against the mom pouch is resistance training exercises. These kinds of exercises mean working out with the sole purpose of building strength and lean muscle, which is incredibly important for postpartum recovery.
If you want to know how to lose your mommy belly through exercise, all you really need to learn are basic compound exercises such as squats, lunges, dead lifts and shoulder presses.
These are movements that train multiple muscle groups at the same time, allowing you to build more muscles and strength while burning more calories.Forget sit ups and crunches. When it comes to exercise, these are how to get rid of the stubborn fat around your torso! Resistance bands are also brilliant because they are versatile, easy to store and relatively inexpensive. Our top picks are here.
And there you have them – five simple tips that you can implement to start reducing your mummy belly today! By taking this advice on board, you can not only increase your chances of regaining your pre-baby belly, but more importantly, improve your overall health in the process.
Patience, a dose of positivity and expert help with some private training are also the magic ingredients. You got this mumma!