How can I lose my baby belly would have to be one the most asked questions that we would receive as Personal Trainers. I get it. I’ve been there after giving birth and seeing the sagging skin, stretch mark covered, wrinkled mess of a belly we now own. Add to this broken sleep, skipped meals, emotional eating, stress relieving alcohol consumption and we are left with a dilemma of choosing our sanity or our skinny jeans.
In reality, we won’t go back. We are forever changed as mums. We must accept that parts of our bodies will be different and that it is ok. There are worse things in the world to be than chubby around the middle. Your body is strong, your body is capable and you just grew a human so give yourself a break. If you are 3, 5 or 10 years down the track and still holding onto weight, that’s ok too. We are working in jobs (or running businesses) while trying to juggle mum responsibilities and trying to have a social life. It’s a tough gig so making small, regular changes is the way to approach it.
Your baby belly is made up of a stretched uterus, muscles and skin, along with stored fat that was essential for the growth of our babies. Some women are lucky enough to snap back like an elastic band due to their fantastic genetics. Other women take longer to heal and need to put in extra effort. There are some things you can do to improve your belly so that you feel more comfortable within your own skin. Body positivity and acceptance will take time so try making small changes in your busy mum life.
How Can You Improve Your Post Baby Belly
- Get Moving: Walking is THE best way to get started. If you pick up the pace and get the heart rate up, you will help your body use stored fat as it’s energy source.
- Build Muscle: Strength training builds muscle which has a positive impact on your metabolism. Lean muscle requires more energy to function, therefore burning stored fat.
- Core vs Crunches: When choosing exercises to work the stomach area, it’s best to go with more bracing type exercises as opposed to crunches or sit ups. Crunches can make your abdominals bulge, making the stomach round in shape. Activating a muscle called the Transverse Abdominis is what will support your internal organs as well as work to flatten your stomach muscles. Read More: Understanding the Core and Pelvic Floor
- Cut The Sugar: Excess sugar in your diet is likely being stored around your midline so cutting back on your indulgences can help. Aim for fresh fruit, vegetables, eggs and meat in your meals. And include good fats like avocado and nuts too.
- Alcohol: Ok, now I’m really going to break your heart. Our beloved wine (any alcohol really) impacts our hormones. I recently read this great article about the process of alcohol breakdown in the body and it’s impact on hormones. Basically, when we drink alcohol, the body works to remove the alcohol from our systems first, therefore putting carbohydrate utilisation on hold, resulting in it being stored. Read more here: How Alcohol Affects Your Hormones
- Reduce Bloating: Part of the reason you still have a belly could be bloating from food choices, lack of fibre or lack of water. Keeping hydrated helps to nourish your skin but also helps your digestion, reducing bloating.
- Acceptance: I chose the photo for this blog to show you what our babies think about our baby belly. They are beautiful, squishy and comfortable for them to lay. I asked Blake last night if he loves mummy’s tummy. He said “yes, can I see it?”. “Wow!” he said in the cutest little voice. His amazement comes from the fact he used to live in there and he thinks it’s pretty amazing, as should you. We could focus on how imperfect it is or feels, but maybe we need a new perspective.
Rather than focus on reducing fat or your baby belly, focus on rebuilding your strength from the inside out. Your body has been through an amazing transformation to create this new life so finding the right balance for you is key. If you would like to know more, please contact us with your questions.