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 weight loss, 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 this program, you can follow along with Pilates-based, diastasis repairing workouts along with a three-week plan to heal your core. No PDF exercises, but real videos walking you through and cuing you to correctly breath, use your abs and control your pelvic floor.
That program also teaches 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. Another super simple simple way to work on your posture, with no program at all is to wear a belly-band! I used this one, but there are a few out there that work really well for re-engaging your abs and reforming your posture after pregnancy.
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.
This postpartum workout program + app has some awesome at-home, body-weight cardio workouts that will help you burn fat and lose some of the extra fluff over your abdominal muscles. If you live somewhere where getting outside to do cardio is very difficult, or there is no where to walk, grab an affordable treadmill, (under $300!) and you can wear baby while walking on it!
Your nutrition is also going to help as you add in cardio. Keeping your carb count (and by carbs I mean breads, potatoes, crackers, rice etc) down, and your protein is very important!!
If you struggle with carb and sugar cravings while breastfeeding, TRY THIS!! HELPS SO MUCH! It also supports a healthy milk supply, so you can safely lose weight and breastfeed. The reviews speak for themselves!
Second, think about repairing the muscles (aka fixing Diastasis Recit):
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 this 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. I just filmed a video on the 5 most important moves you can do to correct your diastasis recti immediately after baby is born!
Improving posture is essential:
I have a FULL video where I go over your posture after baby. This is one of the largest reasons so many mamas never really fix their pooch. I STILL STRUGGLE with this every day. Sitting on the computer, holding my littlest one, hunching over the sink. It seems like everything is pulling me forward, rather than upright. Please watch this video, and it will go over EXACTLY what you need to know for improving your posture!
Video Tutorial on Improving Posture to Correct Diastasis Recti:
Get support with a belly band or wrap.
I mentioned this in the beginning, and you will see the one I used in the video above. How belly bands work are to mentally remind you to pull your abs in and hold yourself upright. They don’t actually push your abs back, like most think. This process retrains your muscles and your mind to work together in a better position. During pregnancy, the extra weight on our belly pulls us forward and causes a slouch. Belly wraps are awesome to help train out of this! They are also really helpful to correctly holding your baby. 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.
Eat small, healthy meals to reduce bloat:
I know breastfeeding hunger is real, and sugar cravings can really throw a wrench into a healthy eating plan, but this is essential to helping your tummy stay flat. Eliminating extra sugar, while also eating small, healthy snacks is going to do wonders for bloat. When you eat large meals, your stomach has to expand for the food, which also means that your ab muscles have to expand back out. Keeping your meals small and healthy can do wonders for encouraging your abdominal muscles to go back, as well as weight loss.
Also, eliminating foods that can cause sensitivity can decrease bloat and increase energy. Foods like gluten, dairy, soy and corn are the most common allergens that can make your tummy look more bloated, but also cause fussiness in baby. This protein powder is free of those allergens and non-GMO, which makes an awesome morning smoothie, and this postpartum diet plan is fabulous for weight loss without losing your milk.
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!
Repairing Diastasis Recti and the Mommy Pooch can happen, with the right steps and patience!