I just want my old body back.
I feel like most first time moms can really resonate with that phrase.
We love our babies.
And we love the miraculous ways our bodies work through motherhood.
But, sometimes we just want our slimmer selves back, and there’s nothing wrong with that honestly.
The truth is that our bodies have changed permanently and that isn’t a bad thing!
I am honestly convinced that the postpartum body can really be your best body yet!
Now with that said, one of the most dreaded consequences of having a baby is the postpartum mommy pooch.
It’s that tummy overhang that now finds its resting spot over your jeans.
Medically, it is usually termed as diastasis recti, or the separation of the abdominal muscles.
And although it sounds unpleasantly permanent, it is actually completely treatable!
Let’s dive in!
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How to Check for Diastasis Recti?
You can check for the condition at home, no equipment necessary (source):
1. Lie flat on your back and bend your knees at a 90-degree angle.
2. Place two fingers right above your belly button and gently press down.
3. Lift up your head towards your chest while keeping your shoulders flat on the ground, getting your abdominal muscles to slightly contract as you would when doing a crunch.
4. If you feel a gap wider than an inch (or about the width of two fingers) between your abdominal muscles, then you have Diastasis Recti.
I find that videos are much more helpful in illustrating how this is properly done, so here is one that is pretty straightforward but there are many others out there.
You have probably heard it many times, breastfeeding helps with postpartum weight loss.
Breastfeeding burns an extra 300 calories which, if you maintain the same diet prior to pregnancy, could mean serious weight loss.
The problem is, though, that not every mom is able to breastfeed every baby, and that sometimes mom’s body actually stores fat, instead of breaking it down, during breastfeeding.
So it really is a hit or a miss, but it is largely impactful on losing the pooch!
Breastfeeding helps your uterus contract down to its original size pre-pregnancy which is also important to losing that pooch.
If you’re able to do it, then stick through it!
Just make sure to watch what you eat or else you could actually gain more weight!
2. Wear a Post-Partum Girdle OR Belly Bind!
Most moms really have no idea how essential this belly girdles and bands are to getting their abdominal cavity back into order, not to mention back to shape!
Incubating a baby for 9 months has really rearranged your internal organs.
Things have had to be moved and crunched in order to compensate for your growing baby!
Now that you have delivered, your core can really feel out of whack.
Unless you wear a girdle, you could find yourself struggling to walk or even stand because it will feel like your insides are about to fall down!
When you tighten up your core with a girdle or by binding, it helps to artificially keep everything together promoting both healing and retightening of your mom pooch.
After you deliver you will still look pregnant because your body needs time to retighten back to its original size.
I actually started to freak out because my pooch hadn’t shrunk an inch 3 days postpartum!
Once I started wearing my postpartum girdle, though, I noticed the improvement almost immediately!
And after a couple of weeks, my stomach slimmed down tremendously!
I just wish I had been more consistent with it because I stopped wearing it after 4 weeks (most are recommended to be worn at least 6 weeks postpartum for the best results)!
Postpartum Girdle Vs Belly Binding
Both the girdle and binding provide the same benefits.
Support the abdominal muscles and prevent abdominal muscle relaxation
Help to reduce waist size by promoting uterine contractions
Improve posture by supporting the lower back
The difference has more to do with comfort for the individual than anything else.
Girdles tend to be more rigid whereas belly binds hug the waistline more naturally and thus are more comfortable.
However, girdles are more practical as they are prefabricated belts while belly binds require assembly.
So, it really depends on what is more convenient for you.
Here is the girdle I purchased and it really worked great for me!
There are also postpartum corsets that have zippers instead of velcro, which is honestly more effective as the velcro loses its strength over time.
However, velcro offers the option of adjusting the girdle to your preferred strength which overall makes it more practical.
I’ll be giving the corset a try after my next delivery so I’ll definitely be able to see more of the benefits of each.
How to Belly Bind
If you would like to try belly binding, here is a good resource.
3. Eat More Proteins and Healthy Fats VS Empty Carbs!
It can be so tempting to splurge on fatty foods after delivering, especially if you are breastfeeding.
Something about burning an extra 300 calories really makes us think we can eat 6 caramel pretzel cookies (my postpartum addiction) and still lose weight.
Don’t make my mistake, 300 calories really isn’t that much extra food!
Instead, focus on eating healthy foods that will actually fill you up and avoid empty calories so that you make every one of those extra needed 300 calories worth it!
Your body will need those good calories!
Try consuming the minimal amount of carbs and instead focusing on proteins and healthy fats, that switch is what helped me lose my last 10 pounds (more about that later)!
Proteins and healthy fats fill you up so that you do not overeat!
Drink a protein shake before eating a meal so that you feel more full and avoid overeating!
For added benefits, if you’re nursing, make it also a lactation boosting shake by adding brewer’s yeast, rolled/steel-cut oats, fenugreek, fennel, or alfala!
Do not think that you have to eat fattier foods to produce enough and/or fatter milk.
I say this because the first pediatrician I talked to told me that my milk wasn’t fat enough, which was why my baby wasn’t gaining enough weight (long story short, the third lactation consultant we saw told me that my baby actually had a tongue tie, and once it was clipped my baby gained weight no problem!).
Sure what mom eats does have an impact on milk composition, but you do not need to eat fatty foods to have the right consistency and amount of milk.
You still need to eat because a drop in calories can mean a drop in your milk supply.
4. Eat Smart
Eating smart isn’t only about eating the right foods, it’s about eating the right amounts and at the right times!
Here are some helpful tips, you can find more in my post about losing weight while breastfeeding.
- Watch the Portions
One of the biggest reasons we overeat is that we eat big portions, and one of the biggest reasons (other than ‘supersizing’ your fast food meals) is that we use big plates.
Ever wondered why the average European is thinner than the average American?
Well, there are actually a lot of reasons, but the biggest one has to do with the size of our plates and cups.
I don’t know about now, but when I lived in Europe, the plates and cups were significantly smaller.
There was only so much food that you could fit on your plate, and then, if you did clean off your plate, you actually thought twice before you went to get seconds.
I mean getting seconds is a conscious decision you have to make.
Are you really still hungry?
Eating is automatic.
We can keep on nibbling as long as there is food in front of us!
So, why don’t you try grabbing a smaller plate and cup next time you sit down for a meal.
You will feel the difference, just watch!
Also, check out this info graphic on measuring portions.
No need for measuring cups or spoons, estimate on the go and start eating the right amounts!
- Don’t Be the ‘Family Piggy’
Not the cutest title in the book, but definitely a weak spot for us eco-moms.
I’ll admit, I was always the one to make sure no food was ever wasted.
That meant that I would not only eat my portion of each meal, but the portion left over by my husband.
So, he would eat until he was full… but I would eat until both of plates were clean.
Now add kids to the equation and it is no wonder mommy has a pooch that just will not go away.
Watch how much is put on everyone’s plate.
They can always get seconds if anything.
Watch how much food you make.
Try not to make too much of one dish.
I struggled with this and so we were stuck eating the same meal for sometimes four days.
We (well, mostly I) would literally be forcing down the last bits just so that we could move on to the next menu.
- Eat the Right Amounts at the Right Times
First things first, make sure you are still eating.
Full on starvation can do more harm than good for your body and the only weight you’ll be losing is muscle weight (source).
Also, not eating enough calories can actually cause your body to start storing fat instead of losing it (source).
Add the fact that your cortisol levels postpartum are already going to be spiked due to stress and sleep deprivation and you actually have a recipe for weight gain (source)!
So eat and avoid general dieting (you can still do an elimination diet, I will discuss that in another section).
That said, try to structure your daily meals to reflect a pyramid, eating a big breakfast and a small dinner.
Eating a big healthy breakfast will give you the energy you need to start your day right and you will be less hungry throughout the day and avoid overeating.
Also, make sure your small dinner is not too late.
Avoid eating past 7 PM as foods eaten close to bedtime are more likely to be stored as fat (source)!
5. Drink Water!
Did you know that most times when you think you are hungry, you are actually thirsty?
We often confuse thirst for hunger which leads us to eat when our body doesn’t require food which leads to excess calories and thus weight gain instead of weight loss.
To avoid this, try to drink a minimum of eight, 8 oz glasses of water throughout your day and a little more if you are outside in the heat or performing strenuous activities.
You will ensure that you aren’t eating when you don’t need to by drinking enough water throughout the day.
I love my 32 oz Hydro Flask.
Carrying it around with me was the only that helped me stay on top of my water drinking while I was pregnant and breastfeeding.
It is literally half a day’s worth of water and so you know that by the afternoon it should be empty.
They also sell a 64 oz flask, so a full day’s worth of water.
Another thing that you can start putting into practice is drinking a glass of lemon water or just plain water and waiting for 15 minutes before eating a meal to make sure that you are actually hungry.
By the end of that 15 minutes, you will be able to differentiate whether or not you felt hunger or thirst (hint one will be satisfied by that drink of water).
6. Drink Up a Daily Dose of Green Tea!
Green tea is packed with loads of potent compounds that boost metabolism and promote fat (particularly abdominal fat) breakdown (source).
That is why drinking a daily dose of green tea can really help you lose that pooch!
Here are some of the best ways to utilize this powerful metabolism booster in your ‘lose the pooch’ plan:
1. Drink About 3-5 Cups of Green Tea a Day.
Studies have shown that regular, daily consumption of 3-5 cups of green tea reaps the most benefits for not only weight loss but for the prevention of many cancers, diabetes, and heart diseases too (source)!
Drinking one cup is not sufficient in order to really see a difference, although it is still beneficial (source).
Macha can actually be more powerful than your standard green tea and can also be incorporated in your diet to boost weight-loss (source).
Just make sure not to consume more than two cups per day to avoid toxicity (source).
2. Or, Take an Epigallocatechin Gallate (or EGCG) Supplement.
If that much green tea is too much for you, you could take a daily EGCG supplement instead.
EGCG is one of the most important antioxidants found in green tea and it is one of the main components that make green tea such a powerful booster of metabolism and fat breakdown (alongside caffeine) (source).
You can get this highly rated EGCG supplement at your door in two days from Amazon Prime!
3. Drink Your Green Tea or Take Your EGCG Supplement BEFORE Your Workout to Burn More Calories!
A study found that men that took green tea extract before their workouts burned 17% MORE fat than those that didn’t (source)!
So not only does tea help you burn an extra 3-4% of calories while you rest (that’s what happens when your metabolic rate is raised!), but it increases the calorie burning effect of your workout (source)!
Now, this is not to say that you will just start shedding all that unwanted abdominal fat by just drinking some tea or taking a supplement, the weight loss associated with green tea is pretty moderate (source).
However, when green tea is combined with other forms of weight loss strategies (diet, exercise), the benefits definitely are shown to be multiplied!
Be sure to ask your doctor before starting any new treatment or supplement!
There are risks associated with drinking too much (toxicity risk) green tea, especially for the pregnant, nursing, and those taking medications.
Green tea contains caffeine and catechins (antioxidants that may reduce the absorption of iron) (source).
7. Try a Clean Eating Diet
Everyone knows that diet and exercise (which we will cover later) are the main ways to lose weight.
Now I won’t go into diets like Keto, Paleo, and smoothie as you will likely need to talk with your doctor and/or lactation consultant (if you are breastfeeding) on when you can start those type of diets.
Your body needs plenty of nutrients to recover after delivering a baby, and, if you are breastfeeding, you will also need a lot of nutrients for adequate milk production.
What every woman can (and should) try postpartum, though, is clean eating.
That means avoiding things like foods high in sugar and fats and those that are highly processed.
Here are some things you should look out for and what you could eat instead (just make sure to drink a glass of water prior):
Cookies, cakes, strudels, and, yes, those cream cheese bites!
Try to limit your consumption of these as they are high in sugar and carbohydrates!
Grab some fruit!
Fruit can have a lot of sugar but it also has a lot of fiber, improving your metabolism and making you feel more satiated without the sugar crash of pastries.
Greek yogurt parfait. Acai bowl. Oatmeal with nuts, fruits, and honey.
I know these are usually meant for breakfast, but, as you will quickly notice, my healthier dessert options are usually taken from the most important meal of the day.
Just see that you opt for unsweetened Greek yogurt and honey, and make sure that your granola and oatmeal are also low in sugar.
Try this delicious vanilla ice cream alternative.
My aunt actually gave me this idea!
Did you know freezing bananas almost gives them the consistency and flavor of vanilla ice cream without the processed sugar and fat?
Try it for a quick sugar fix.
For an added kick, dip your bananas in dark chocolate.
I’m literally drooling just thinking about it!
Curb your cravings with this classic duo.
Peanut (or almond) butter and apple slices.
You really can’t go wrong with these two.
It’s the sweet snack that is both filling and satisfying.
Like pastries, candy is loaded with sugar but instead of carbs there are mostly fats.
Tempting, but not worth it if you’re looking to slim your postpartum waistline.
Opt for dark chocolate covered fruits.
Dark chocolate is the much healthier alternative to milk chocolate as it doesn’t have the added sugar and dairy fat.
Mixing it with fruits balances the bitterness making it a great candy alternative
Grab some sugar-free gum!
This is honestly my go-to in the check-out lines as the gum is usually found around the candy
Chewing gum really does curb the candy craving (and sometimes even your appetite).
Potato or corn chips, they’re super bad for you in that they are so processed that they have zero nutritional value (which is why you’re hungry despite killing the whole bag) but they have a whole lot of fat!
I’ll admit, though, this one is my weaknesses (oh Flamin’ Hot Lime Cheetos, why do you have to tempt me so).
Try hummus and whole grain crackers or veggies.
Not only is this more nutritional, packed with protein, but it’s quite satisfying and loaded with lots of flavors, of course depending on which hummus you choose.
Grab some cheese.
Cheese sticks don’t necessarily scream weight-loss, but they sure are better than chips!
In order to get the most out of this snack, opt for the ‘healthiest cheese‘, mozzarella.
Whole wheat chips and salsa or guacamole
Another crunchy snack that has more substance is salsa (or guacamole) and chips.
Just don’t overdo it with the chips as salt and fat content can get pretty high with every crunch.
Burger and fries are so convenient and yummy (especially In-N-Out burgers!) and once in a while they might not be that bad, but they usually lack in nutrition and are comprised of heavily processed ingredients.
Opting for healthier options at your favorite fast food joint might be better than the usual options, but they still don’t compare to home food in salt, sugar, and fat content.
Meal plan and cook your favorite fast foods at home.
Meal planning both saved us a bunch of money and helped us limit eating out.
When you know you have good food at home, you are less likely to buy out.
And even with fast food cravings, I have learned that homemade always tastes better (I prefer a homemade crunch wrap vs the drive-thru one any day!).
Doing fast food copycat recipes at home might not compare to zucchini noodles, but they’re still way healthier than if you were to buy them from your local fast food joint!
Make sure to carry water with you wherever you go.
If you want to avoid impulsive fast food runs, make sure that you have water with you wherever you go!
As discussed in an earlier section, sometimes our cravings actually mean we are thirsty.
And don’t forget the snacks!
Sometimes that water might not be enough because, well, you’re actually hungry.
That is why you should also make sure to carry around some healthy snacks with you.
We choose fast food because we want food, and the satisfaction associated with it, fast.
By carrying around a tasty snack, you provide that quick satisfaction conveniently enough so as to excuse the need to stand in that drive-thru (and overall consume unnecessary calories).
Juices and Soda
As you may already well know, these bad boys are full of sugar.
That means that they’ll never quench your thirst but will only drive up your calories, and quickly!
Choose sparkling flavored soda.
Either grab a lemon flavored Perri mineral bottle or an Italian soda (just watch the sugar content of the respected brand).
These offer the same carbonation without the overload of sugary syrup.
Try infused water.
If you’re looking for something not carbonated and with even less sugar, then infused water is just for you.
Sometimes it’s even more refreshing than water itself (sometimes).
Definitely less boring, though!
Eat some fruit.
If you’re craving juice, go for the actual fruit instead.
My husband taught me this as he loves orange juice but he will always opt for just oranges instead.
Unlike with juice, the fruit actually fills you up.
Smoothie or juicing time!
Now if you still want a sweet drink, go for something homemade instead.
Homemade juices or smoothies have much less sugar than your store-bought juices, and they taste better!
Removing certain foods from your diet can be difficult, especially if those foods are something you have previously eaten often.
I have found that associating my dietary restrictions with a spiritual goal, like a fast (more specifically, the Daniel’s fast), gives me way more motivation to commit and endure than just the desire to lose weight.
Food cravings are a type of addiction that require discipline in order to be managed.
8. Exercise Correctly.
Everyone knows that successful weight loss involves eating healthy and exercise.
However, postpartum exercise isn’t quite as simple as before pregnancy.
If you are trying to lose your pooch, you need to be careful with which exercises you do or you can actually make it worse!
The medical term for the mom pooch is Diastasis Recti.
It is the condition in which the connective tissue that keeps your abs together is stretched to the point that the abdominal muscles have become compromised and unable to keep the abdominal cavity secured.
This is why you have that bulge of fat that just hangs there.
Incorrect exercises like crunches, that put strain on the connective tissue, can cause the gap between you abs to actually increase and cause further protrusion of fat and even intestines!
Check out this helpful infographic on exercise no-nos:
Other activities you should avoid include (source):
Any exercise or activity that causes the pressure in your abdomen to increase resulting in a “domeing” or bulging of your stomach should be avoided until you are able to suck in your belly button and thus establish more control over your abdominal cavity while doing them.
Make sure to focus on your abdominal muscles while doing each.
Try to draw your stomach towards your spine, performing these compressions throughout, for the intended results.
– Pelvic Tilts
– Glute Bridges
– Heel Slides
– Cat Cows
– Bird Dog
– Single-Leg Kickbacks
– Standing Rotational Exercises (any type)
– Upright Push Ups
– Head Lifts (ok, so maybe not exactly the way it’s done in this rendition, think lifting your head towards your core; still this would work too!)
– Toe Taps
– Table Tops
– Wall Sits
– Side Planks
– Single-Leg Lifts
– Standing Thigh Toners
Include a daily stroller walk with your baby in your exercise regime.
Not only will you be burning calories (just make sure to up your pace), but you and baby will be enjoying some much needed fresh air!
Try this Challenge!
9. Do the Vacuum Crunch!
Or the stomach vacuum.. whatever you might call it.
Glad you asked!
This is the BEST exercise for diastasis recti (source).
Researchers found that this one exercise was even helpful for moms 1-year postpartum (source)!
That’s pretty impressive if you ask me!
This exercise engages your transverse abdominal muscles which is what makes it such a great and effective exercise for both treating and preventing (check out my pooch prevention post HERE) diastasis recti.
Also, it is best done on an empty stomach or about 2-3 hours after you have eaten, so plan accordingly.
This is how it works (source):
1. Pick your position. You can either do this exercise standing, sitting crisscrossed (or just sitting using a support pillow like the Bümmaa for posture support; this pillow is great for dealing with all things post-partum like perineal pain) or laying flat on your back.
2. Put your hands on your belly and then take a deep breath, letting your belly fully expand in the process.
3. You then exhale while sucking in your abdominal muscles as far back as you can towards your spine, and then hold that position.
4. While you hold, continue to take tiny breaths. As you exhale each tiny breath, suck in your stomach further back and make it tighter.
5. Doing this at least 10 minutes a day has been shown to have great results (source)!
I have also found this illustration from Braceablity to be visually helpful
10. Do Kegels!
Kegels are exercises that help strengthen your pelvic floor.
Your pelvic floor weakens throughout the course of pregnancy due to the constant pressure put on it by the weight of your growing baby.
Having a weak pelvic floor usually results in incontinence and sexual difficulties, but it also affects the stability of your core.
A weak pelvic floor does not perform optimally and thus contributes to increased abdominal pressure, making diastasis recti worse (source).
The only way to truly get rid of that hanging pooch is to focus on the entire core (the abdominal muscles, the pelvic floor muscles, and the lower back muscles) (source).
Exercising only abs will only temporarily narrow your diastasis, it won’t help you get rid of the pooch because in order to regain full strength and stability of your entire core you need to activate the deep core muscles: the transverse abdominis and the pelvic floor muscles (source).
The awesome thing about pelvic floor exercises like Kegels is that they not only target pelvic floor muscles, but they can also help to activate the traverse abdominis (source)!
How Do You Do Kegels?
To do Kegels you must first isolate and then contract the muscle that is called the ‘urethral sphincter’.
If you can hold back your pee, you know how to do Kegels because essentially that is exactly what you are doing, squeezing the urethral sphincter.
You can work out your pelvic floor muscles by doing variations of these contractions (source).
First, work on the duration of your contractions, aiming for at least 10 seconds per each one.
Then, once you have mastered that exercise, work on the number of reps, aiming for up to 10 contractions before resting.
Eventually, your goal is to do three sets a day consistently for at least 15 weeks in order to get the best results from the exercise.
The awesome thing about Kegels is that you could do them literally anywhere and they are super easy to do!
11. Log your daily calories and plan your exercises.
When you write down what you eat, that type of awareness starts to influence your eating habits.
If you aren’t eating healthy, your calorie count will definitely get your attention.
So, start logging your daily calories!
Additionally, writing down the exercises you plan on doing, at least a week in advance, motivates you to follow thru with the script you have assembled for yourself.
I have noticed that most of the time the biggest reason I didn’t exercise was that I didn’t know where to start and then where I was going with doing this exercise or that one.
Having a weekly plan made it so easy to stay committed!
Writing things down is only the first step, setting goals is how you transform plans into progress.
Here are some helpful tips for staying on track with your postpartum weight loss:
1. Determine your minimal required calorie count.
You’ll probably need to speak with your healthcare provider or nutritionist as this value is unique to every momma.
Knowing the minimal number of required calories you need to consume will give you a better idea of how much calories you should be consuming with every meal.
2. Choose your exercises.
The biggest part of planning out your exercise regime is choosing which exercises you would like to focus on.
Once you have chosen your exercises, now just make sure to up the reps and/or intensity of your exercises daily for best results.
3. Keep it all written down in the same place.
Last, but definitely not least, make sure that your calorie log and exercise plan is written down in the same notebook.
Keeping track of your postpartum weight loss journey in a specific notebook will make it easier to stay consistent and follow thru with the accomplishing the goals you set.
4. Reward Yourself!
Accomplishing goals is hard work, so make sure to reward yourself when you accomplish them!
It’s both encouraging and motivating as you start having something to look forward to once you meet a goal.
My favorite rewards are those that include pampering.
It could be as simple as getting a manicure/pedicure or going a full-on spa day.
Whatever you prefer!
12. Avoid Putting Pressure on Your Abdomen
Just like you should try to avoid doing exercises that strain your abdominal muscles, you should also refrain from other daily activities that put on the same strain.
As a rule of thumb, anything that causes your stomach to ‘cone’ should be avoided.
Coning occurs when the pressure in your abdominal cavity increases due to strain, the result is the narrowing of your stomach.
Avoid this as it increases the pressure on your already weakened connective tissue.
Things to Avoid (source)
– Front-Loading Baby Carriers
Try slings that diagonally distribute the weight evenly across your chest, instead.
– Lifting Heavy Objects (that includes your toddler!)
Try to avoid this if you can.
If you can’t, remember to lift correctly, using your legs, and try to suck in your stomach towards your spine throughout.
– ‘Pushing Too Hard’
Postpartum constipation is REAL, try not to push, though.
Not that you will actually want to, but just in case, beware.
– Leaning Forward When Pushing the Stroller
When you lean while pushing your heavy stroller you also increase the pressure in your abdomen.
Watch your posture so that you don’t accidentally worsen you diastasis!
Speaking of posture…
13. Watch Your Alignment!
Just like it’s important to watch your posture during pregnancy if you want to prevent against diastasis recti while you’re pregnant, it’s important to watch it after you deliver.
Having an incorrect posture when sitting or standing can increase abdominal pressure.
If not corrected, incorrect posture could wreak havoc to not only your core, causing diastasis recti, but also pelvic organ prolapse and hernias (source).
What is Alignment?
Alignment refers to the way your body ‘stacks’ when you sit or stand.
Having correct body alignment is what makes up good posture.
There are certain habits that can actually contribute to the misalignment of our bodies.
These include; sitting more than walking, putting our weight on our coccyx instead of our ‘sit’ bones, and wearing heels (source).
Consequences of Improper Alignment
Improper alignment (when our chest is out, our butt is tucked in, and our stomach is sucked in) increases the pressure of our core.
When the pressure of our core increases, it looks for a way out, that means it goes either forward, up, or down (the pressure can’t escape through you back because of your spine, but it can still cause back pain).
When this pressure is directed forward it causes diastasis recti, when it goes up it causes hernias, and when it goes down it causes hernias and pelvic floor dysfunctions (source).
Not correcting your body’s alignment will not only contribute to the development of a mommy pooch (or worse!), but it can also prevent your chances of fully closing up your abdominal gap if you are looking to get rid of it!
If you want to have the ‘sucked in belly’ look without the sucking in (which actually causes your abdominal pressure to increase and exacerbates diastasis recti), alignment is the way to start!
How to Get Proper Alignment
Proper alignment essentially is when your neck, shoulders, and hips are aligned.
You could also visualize it as your three main cavities (thoracic, abdominal, and pelvic) are stacked right on top of one another when you sit and stand.
Your ribs/chest should not be puffed or thrust forward, your butt shouldn’t be tucked in (like when you clench your glutes), your stomach should not be sucked in, and your knees shouldn’t be bent (source).
You should be relaxed when you sit and stand.
This is a perfect illustration of how high heels could mess with your alignment and ultimately your core and pelvic floor!
What You Can Do!
1. Pay Attention!
Start watching how you sit and stand, and correct yourself when you catch yourself slouching or notice that your body alignment (or misalignment) is causing your abdominal pressure to increase.
2. Avoid Sitting for Long Time Stretches.
Sitting for long stretches naturally leads us to slouch because oftentimes we don’t sit correctly, on our sit bones as we should.
Give your body the opportunity to recuperate by taking short walking breaks.
Naturally, we maintain alignment better while walking than while sitting.
3. Watch the Heel Height!
As shown in the graphic above, heels contribute to misalignment tremendously because of the way your body is forced to adjust to accommodate the disproportionate height increase in your heel vs your sole.
Try to limit the amount of time you spend in heels, if you can, and try to avoid wearing extra high heels often, too.
And when you do wear heels, work on stabilizing your core.
This is done the same way you would do when performing your abdominal exercises.
Draw your stomach towards your spine, focusing specifically on utilizing your abdominal muscles
4. Wear a Posture Brace.
A posture brace does an awesome job of both keeping everything together, thus promoting postpartum healing, and providing spinal support, thus encouraging proper alignment.
It doesn’t always feel comfortable, because you can’t really slouch while wearing them, but they get the job done and you become quickly mindful of your bad sitting habits while wearing it.
5. Invest in a Butt Pillow!
Finally, you should really look into investing in a good postpartum pillow.
Like this one ->> Bummaa Postpartum Pillow
Sitting on the Bümmaa Pillow not only promotes postpartum healing by removing pressure off of your perineum but it also positions your body into proper alignment automatically so you don’t have to keep reminding yourself not to slouch!
I cannot stress enough how grateful you will be that you bought this postpartum essential!
As a first-time mom, I had no idea what to expect after labor, and frankly, no one really talked about it.
I could not sit by the end of my second day postpartum, and that was a big problem because I had to sit for the majority of those first days due to cluster feeding.
I tried everything from propping myself up using a bunch of random pillows, to ultimately ‘slumping’ into the most comfortable position just to endure through each nursing session.
I wreaked havoc to my core and my back.
Don’t make my mistake.
Be prepared and you’ll save both your energy and health!
You’ll need both now that you’re a momma!!
14. Try These Natural Remedies to Help Tighten Up Your Tummy Skin.
Mommy pooch isn’t only about fat reduction, it’s also about skin ‘reduction’.
Losing that abdominal fat might leave you with some sagginess which, for me, appears just as bad.
Here are some natural remedies you can start doing today to tighten up that skin!
A big culprit of postpartum sagginess is stretch marks!
Stretching your skin is the way your body compensated for the rapid growth of your pregnant belly, along with everything else.
If you’re still pregnant, I’d recommend investing in a good stretch mark cream and to use it on not only your belly but your breasts too (I wish I had)!
Although stretch mark creams can’t completely prevent stretch mark scarring, they have been shown to be very beneficial to both new and old marks by improving their appearance and, at times, even diminishing their progression (source).
If you have caught this after developing stretch marks, you are not late in the game.
Check out this awesome Skin Tightening cream voted #1 by TheBump!
- Combine with a Weekly Exfoliating Session
In order for the tightening creams to be most effective, you will also need to exfoliate the skin at least once a week.
The tightening cream promotes skin rejuvenation but over time this causes skin build-up, so, in order to remain the effectiveness of the cream, you must remove the dead skin cells.
Just make sure that you don’t exfoliate too often as this could result in dryness and actually promote stretch mark formation.
You can check out this Collagen and Stem Cell Infused Scrub for the ultimate skin healing results!
- Massage to Stimulate Skin Growth
Massaging actually stimulates blood circulation which can help with skin rejuvenation (source).
For added benefit, you can massage and work your skin tightening cream into your skin.
- Take a Collagen Supplement
Collagen is a major protein in your body that plays an important role in skin structure and health.
Taking a collagen supplement can increase the hydration and elasticity of your skin thus reducing the aging of your skin or wrinkles.
These properties also make taking the supplement super effective in tightening skin.
You can have your own hair, skin, and nail Collagen booster in just two days via Amazon Prime.
In order to minimize skin sagging, be sure to go slow when losing weight as abrupt weight loss doesn’t allow your skin to properly tighten up.
15. Avoid Getting Stressed
Stress is associated with the hormone, cortisol.
Stress-induced cortisol has been noted to cause insulin spikes and subsequent blood sugar crashes which lead to ‘comfort eating’ (source).
So more stress leads to more cortisol which leads to craving and eating junk food and ultimately leaves you with a greater waistline than you would like.
Here are some tips for avoiding stress eating:
- Get your sleep!
I get it, this might not be so easy in the first few months with a baby, but if you can, sacrifice housework to get in some snooze while the baby naps.
It has been shown that first-time moms that slept less than 5 hours had a more difficult time losing weight than those that go their 7 hours of sleep (source).
- Prioritize in self-care.
As moms, we tend to neglect ourselves as we care for everyone else.
The problem with that that is going to lead to burn out quickly and cause a whole lot of unneeded collateral damage in the process.
Work in some self-care into your schedule.
Drop off the kids and take a day off.
You’ll both avoid the stress and be more refreshed.
Honestly, it’s the best thing for the entire family (Happy mom, happy life)!
- Don’t buy junk.
Now in the case that you aren’t able to avoid stress, remove the junk food from the environment.
Having fatty processed foods within arms reach is a temptation even the best of us struggle to resist so don’t test yourself and make it a point to refuse to spend your money on a growing waistline!
16. Start early!
Finally, if you really want to get rid of that mommy pooch, start early!
Neglecting it will only make it more difficult in the long run, especially if you get pregnant before losing the prior baby weight!
So, if you are pregnant, check out my post on preventing the postpartum pooch and having a belly only pregnancy.
If you are already in the postpartum stage, you’re still not too late.
Reversing diastasis recti and the consequent mommy pooch is very possible, so keep at it and follow the tips!
I can vouch that if you take these tips to heart you are definitely on the way to your best body yet!
If You Enjoyed Reading This, You Might Also Like…
- 10 Real Ways to Have a Belly ONLY Pregnancy and Prevent that Mommy Pooch!
- Body Shock 11 Things No One Tells You About Your Post Delivery Body
- Tips On How to Lose Weight While Breastfeeding Without Losing Your Supply
- 40+ Breastfeeding Snack Ideas for Breastfeeding Moms
- Mom Hack: Surviving the Newborn Phase
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We need to help and empower each other to make mom life as easy as possible so we can continue to be super moms in all the important areas!
Stay smart momma and be on the lookout for more helpful posts!
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Until next time mommas!