This post probably contains affiliate links, to items I am in love with, and I am confident you will too! For any health advice I give on nutrition and wieghtloss, make sure you check with your doctor, as I am not a health professional. I am just a mama with lots of health and fitness knowledge and experience.
Losing the pooch after baby is one of the most difficult aspects of postpartum weight loss. Sometimes it feels as though we can lose weight everywhere, BUT THE BELLY! The pooch can linger too long, but there are some honest realities when it comes to the pooch that need to be understood, in order to move forward and work that belly back down.
I’ve had three babies now, and my stomach will never be the same, nor will it ever be super flat. That is a harsh reality, but through healing and specialized core work, you can repair your abs and encourage them to come back together as much as possible. In my program, I work on healing Diastasis Recti, as well as walk mamas through specialized Pilates moves and routines that protect the core, as well as engage and rehabilitate the pelvic floor. I also teach posture, which is a tremendously important aspect to healing the core…and no one mentions it because it is easier to do a core workout for 15 minutes, than stand and walk properly all day. I highly encourage you to check out my program if you think your core and pelvic floor needs some help. I also have a specialized nutrition program to go along with the workouts, which will ensure you aren’t keeping any fat on your belly. A lot of times, mamas misdiagnose their pooch for Diastasis Recti, rather than just extra fluff. That being said, if you know you’ve just got extra fluff to lose, here are 5 honest tips to help you get rid of it!
5 honest tips to lose the pooch:
First, focus on your cardio to burn calories. Most of the pooch is going to be stored fat left over from pregnancy. This is where walking can be one of your best exercises, not crunches. Crunches and ab routines (believe me, I was a Pilates instructor) are only going increase your muscle stamina, or make your muscles bigger and stronger. Don’t get me wrong, we want to keep our core strong, but that won’t lose the pooch. Cardio that is either long and slow, liking walking uphill for 45 minutes or sprinting is going to really help you burn fat. You should aim at doing cardio for more than 20 minutes because your body is first going to burn the glucose, or sugar in your blood. Once that sugar is used, your body will start using the stored energy or fat. The first step is the hardest, and that is to burn the fat around your muscles. You will better be able to tell if you have some separation still to work on too. If you aren’t sure what to eat to help you burn fat and lose the extra baby pounds, check out these 5 foods.
I have some very specialized cardio workouts in my program, just for postpartum mamas that protect your core and pelvic floor, while also burning calories and maintaining muscle tone. Most of the workouts take no-equipment too!
Second, think about repairing the muscles. I know my abs have suffered tremendously with three pregnancies very close together. I even have a small umbilical hernia I’ve greatly reduced after specifically working on my core and posture (all in my program) . A lot of the pooch comes from the muscles being stretched and separated, and we need to encourage the muscles to go back together. There’s a great video linked in this post that goes over some ab routines to help build those muscles back carefully. I also go over my postpartum fitness routine, which has some good exercises to start with too. You don’t want to do any crunches or ab exercises on your back, where you crunch up.
Get support with a belly band or wrap. I can’t believe I am just using one of these. It helps me engage my core by forcing me to think about my ab muscles and stand up taller. Do you know how ridiculously lazy I am when holding the baby? I crouch my shoulders down and let my stomach just hang out. So bad for your body and posture, but when the wrap is on, I am forced to gain control of my core again. I recommend wearing one as much as possible until your muscles regain strength and memory on their own. The better control you get of your core and muscles, the more they are going to tighten up and pull in on their own. This will really help reduce the pooch.
Find a consistent workout routine. This is probably the HARDEST part of losing the pooch. Finding the time and space to actually stay consistent with your workout time. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been so great about working out, then just had life get too busy, the baby start teething and lose sleep a few nights, or travel and completely lose everything I gained. Literally, I lose all my muscle tone in a couple weeks of not working out. How insanely annoying is it that muscle is lost in just a couple weeks, but takes sooooo long to gain?? If you can stay consistent, your muscles will start pulling back together, and you will be staying on track with your fat loss and calorie burn. If you can stay consistent, before you know it, the weight will be long! I am so impressed with my sister, who recently lost all her baby weight PLUS MORE before her baby turns one next month. It’s amazing what just gathering a routine can do! But, I also know the serious challenge this is. I have three kids under 5. Life is so busy and hectic, I can barely keep track of my workout shoes, let alone get them on.
Finally, give yourself time. Losing the baby weight is one thing. Losing the pooch is another. Part of it is losing fat, but the other half is allowing your muscles to repair themselves. Some of this is literally just your body doing its job in its own time. The muscles stretched and separated for nine months, so there is going to be months and months of the muscles going back together. You also have your own genetics in play, for how quickly your abs want to return to normal. Getting rid of the fat is the first step, then realizing where your muscles are at, and if you really have Diastasis Recti is another. Most mamas do have lots of separation after baby, and more time needs to go by for those muscles to mend. If you still have a lot of separation after 1 year postpartum, then definitely consider a specialized core plan. Extra weight on your belly also pulls your muscles out, so make sure to work on getting that off, to give your muscles every chance to repair!