She’s standing in front of the mirror, staring at her loose, bloated stomach that was once a cute, tight tummy. “I hate you,” she whispers furiously. “Just be flat and cute again.” Have you been there? Have you ever got to the point where you can’t even see every other beautiful, strong incredible detail of your body because you are so distracted by your stomach which has been damaged through pregnancy? Unfortunately, many women experience this after childbirth. Keep reading to find out how you can stop hating your stomach today.
Do you long to “fix” your stomach but you know surgery is not an option?
It is possible, but most women have this healing process all wrong. They barrel headlong down a path that is not going to lead to healing, but rather to further injury and more self-criticism. Real healing, real progress is possible.
Understand Your Injury
Your stomach is different after childbirth because you were injured. A diastasis recti is a muscle injury. Your stomach isn’t fat. Your stomach isn’t ugly. Your stomach isn’t a curse. Your stomach is injured. When the abdominal muscles do not fuse back together properly following childbirth, a diastasis recti develops. This gives the stomach a loose, pooched appearance. When you finally accept this, you can show yourself a lot more compassion and patience and actually start making some progress.
Why Is My Stomach Bloated?
For most women, the appearance of their stomach is a combination of a few different things at work on a few different layers. On the deepest layer, many of us are experiencing some level of bloating at any given time. This bloating is often caused by a low fiber diet and a lack of probiotics in the gut. You can start cutting down on this deep level bloat today.
- Up the fiber with foods like oats, flaxseed, avocados, Brussel sprouts, and blackberries.
- Take probiotics to help your digestion get on track, shed built-up waste, and help the body slow the absorption of fat. Some studies also show that probiotics play a significant role in mood stabilization.
- Try experimenting with fermented foods for better digestion and gut health
- Up the protein with lean meats, protein shakes, or plant-based protein sources. Protein will help your body build muscle mass which is critical when you start working on your abdominal muscles.
Put on Your Imaginary Girdle and Stop Hating Your Stomach
The next layer of your stomach would be the muscles themselves. These muscles, like we mentioned already, have been injured. In the course of that injury, they have almost forgotten how to function. The simplest baby step on this journey toward healing is a little exercise I like to call “girdles.”
Think of how a girdle works. You put it on and it squeezes your belly in. One super-easy way to start your journey toward healing your diastasis recti, is to put on an imaginary girdle and try to keep it on all day long. Washing dishes, driving down the road, sitting at your desk. You can do this exercise anywhere.
I’m not talking about sucking in your gut. I’m talking about standing up straight, holding your abdominal muscles tight, and keeping yourself erect. Make a conscious effort to pull the abdominal muscles in and sit up straighter and stop hating your stomach. It is a habit that must be strengthened over time, but it is very effective.
It will improve your posture, strengthen your abs, and even make you feel just a little more in control. When you are ready to really start working on strengthening those abdominals, there are great, specialized workouts specifically designed for healing diastasis recti.
Move Your Body
The last layer of the belly is the fat between the muscles and the skin. Most women are carrying around extra fat, extra weight after the birth of their babies. Losing weight is often a part of the puzzle when it comes to regaining a strong postpartum body. As you lose weight, your stomach will inevitably grow smaller.
However, for most women, their bellies will never look exactly like they did pre-pregnancy. If you are not going to get corrective surgery, then it is important that you make peace with this fact and rather focus your energy on things you can control like getting in your needed cardio each week.
When you do a healthy amount of cardio for your age, you will reap tons of benefits, including a smaller tummy. The road to healing your diastasis recti can begin today with these simple steps. As you gain momentum, you can add more mommy inspired exercises to strengthen those abdominals, stop hating your stomach today.
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