Three of the best proven methods to fix your mommy tummy, flatten your stomach, and feel confident in your post-baby body. You can do these things right now and start seeing results fast as you eliminate your “mom pooch”.
“How do I get rid of my mommy tummy?”
“How can I eliminate my mom belly?”
“Years after I’ve given birth I still feel like I have a mom pooch. Is there anything I can do about it?”
“Mommy Tummy”, “Mom Belly”, “Mom Pooch”… you name it I’ve probably heard it! These are actual emails that I get on a weekly basis from you mommas asking for tips and advice on how to lose weight in and tone this area.
If you’ve looked into this topic at all, you’ve probably been overwhelmed with information on how to fix this problem. From creams and wraps to diets and exercises, everyone has an opinion about what’s going to flatten your mommy tummy.
Well today I wanted to set the record straight and offer up three of the very best tips that are science-based and proven to help minimize your mom pooch and help you see the results you’re after.
WHAT IS MOMMY TUMMY?
Mommy tummy, mom belly, mom pooch, etc. simply refers to the excess weight that women carry around their stomachs after pregnancy. Often it’s due to increased weight/fat that was put on during pregnancy and the fact that the skin in that area has been stretched to its maximum limits to accommodate your growing baby. It can also be due to a condition known as diastasis recti – a separation of the abdominal muscles in the front of your abdomen.
Mommy tummy is completely normal and shows up with each pregnancy. It’s mostly a harmless condition, but in instances of a diastasis recti it can cause some problems (HOW TO CHECK FOR DIASTASIS RECTI). With your first child you may notice your stomach “bounced back” pretty quickly, but “mommy pooch” can get harder and harder to eliminate with subsequent pregnancies.
Whether you gave birth 2 months ago or 10 years ago – there are a lot of things that you can do to eliminate your mommy tummy and get your flat, pre-baby stomach back.
CAN I LOSE STOMACH FAT ONLY?
Oftentimes when I get questions about “how to eliminate mommy tummy”, they’re centered around “which exercises are the best to lose weight in my stomach”.
Here’s the thing – I don’t care if you just gave birth or have never had a child in your life – it’s impossible to “spot treat” fat. I can’t do stomach exercises and just lose fat in my stomach. I can’t do hundreds of triceps exercises and expect to lose fat just in my arms. I can’t do squats and leg lifts and expect just my thighs to shrink. That’s not how the body works.
If you’re going to lose fat – you lose fat from everywhere. Fat cells are actually “energy storage” cells. They’re a “reserve” energy source that our body taps into when our immediate energy sources are no longer available.
You can do sit ups and crunches until your abs are rock-hard, but if they’re buried under a layer of fat you’ll still never see them.
THE MOMMY TUMMY SECRET
In order to fix your mommy tummy and eliminate mom pooch your efforts must be twofold: You have to work hard to tone and tighten your core muscles the RIGHT way AND work to eliminate the fat covering them up.
This is best achieved by focusing your efforts on the following three areas:
Just like this circle is incomplete if one of these pieces is missing, you’ll never achieve your complete, desired tummy results if you neglect one of these crucial elements.
Let’s take a moment to discuss each in a little more detail.
Let’s be honest – your stomach (and stomach muscles) have been fighting an all-out war over the last nine months. In most instances they’ve been stretched to their extremes and then taken through the most rigorous ab workout imaginable (childbirth). It obviously makes sense that they’re not going to be quite the same postpartum.
Performing the RIGHT exercises for the RIGHT muscles the RIGHT way is crucial in postpartum rehab.
The majority of women I see in my PT clinic and gym spend a lot of time doing three of the most-common ab exercises = sit ups, crunches, and planks. These exercises mainly focus on working only one very specific muscle – the rectus abdominis. This is the “six pack” muscle down the front that gets stretched to the point of tearing in the case of diastasis recti.
While it is an important muscle to work, in the case of postpartum ab rehab and eliminating your “mommy tummy”, there are actually much better muscles to exercise that will yield better, more complete results.
So what are these exercises? Here are a couple of videos I recorded that will help you tone and strengthen your abs, heal your diastasis recti, and flatten your mommy tummy:
No matter how many ab exercises you do, you’ll never shrink your mommy tummy if you don’t actually burn some calories throughout your day. It is recommended that people get 30 minutes of activity most days of the week; this is equally important for postpartum women.
If you had an uncomplicated vaginal delivery, it’s generally safe to start some light activity a few days after giving birth or as soon as you feel ready. Please note – I said ACTIVITY not EXERCISE. Light ACTIVITY would include some gentle pelvic floor strengthening and walking per your pain/activity tolerance. If either of these activities is painful stop immediately and contact your doctor.
As a general rule, it’s safe to resume normal EXERCISE 6 weeks after an uncomplicated vaginal delivery and 8 weeks after a caesarean section, but please get your doctor’s clearance before doing so.
If it’s been years since you gave birth and you’re looking to flatten your mommy tummy – you HAVE to be doing some form of exercise most days of the week. Whether it’s walking, hiking, biking, swimming, aerobics, workout classes, workout DVD’s, or running – you have to get your heart rate up and keep it up for 30+ minutes. Other effective options include:
- Walking at a brisk pace (3.5 mph)
- Low-resistance cycling
- Elliptical trainer
- Slow jog (sustainable for 30+ minutes)
- Stair stepper
- Workout class
Low Impact Steady State (LISS) cardio is proven to be a highly-effective form of burning fat. When you do LISS cardio, you keep your intensity at a sustainable level for a given period of time. This can be walking, cycling, jogging, etc. It’s any cardiovascular exercise of moderate-to-long duration that maintains the same intensity throughout.
LISS cardio is determined by your heart rate. To find your “age-adjusted maximum heart rate (HRmax)”, you subtract your age from 220 (beats per minute / bpm). During LISS cardio you should aim to maintain your heart rate at 60% of this number.
(220 – AGE) x 0.6 = 60% of your maximum heart rate
For example, a 30-year old woman’s age-adjusted HRmax is 190 bpm. To work out at 60% of this number, this woman would want to do one of the preceding options and maintain her heart rate at 114 bpm throughout the entire 30-45 minutes.
Again, it’s impossible to “spot treat” areas of your body. “Losing fat” means losing fat from your entire body including your stomach; this is the activity and recommendations are the best way to do that.
Looking for some awesome home cardio ideas? Check out these videos:
“Abs are made in the kitchen.” Let’s talk about this all-important, no-avoiding-it, if-you-wanna-make-serious-progress fact – no matter how much exercise you do and how hard you work, you’ll never be able to outwork a bad diet. Period.
In order to make any progress with any kind of fat loss you HAVE to be mindful of what you’re eating. You can’t exercise for 30 minutes a day, eat an entire pint of ice cream, and then wonder what you’re doing wrong.
So how do you “eat clean”? Where do we even start?
The easiest, safest, most straight-forward approach to eating healthier is counting (at least being mindful of) calories. A good starting number of calories to eat for the majority of people trying to lose weight is 1700. (Increase this number by 500 calories to 2200 if you’re breastfeeding). This is a great step in creating the caloric deficit proven effective in weight loss. (CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT CALORIC DEFICIT)
Of course, not all calories are created equally. You should also pay attention to the KIND of calories that you’re consuming. The “Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Ranges” (AMDR) set forth by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies is
- 45–65% of their calories from carbs
- 20–35% of their calories from fats
- 10–35% of their calories from proteins
As very generalized rules, in order to lose weight and burn up that mommy tummy fat your diet should:
- Avoid colorless carbs (white bread, white rice, granulated sugar, etc).
- Eliminate snacks and sweets (candy, cakes, cookies, desserts, etc).
- Not contain any soda… diet or regular (do not drink your calories)
- Include more high-protein foods (meat, fish, poultry, dairy, soy, grains, green peas, etc).
- Use fats sparingly (especially fried foods).
Mommy tummy is a very real problem for a lot of women out there, but it certainly doesn’t have to be! Following the tips and advice presented in this post are proven, factual tips and secrets you need to start seeing the progress you desire. Following these tips will help you decrease fat and tone your abs and regain that stomach you desire!
I hope you found this post helpful! If you did, do me a favor and share it on your social media! I would love to get this word out to more people who are in need. Thanks so much in advance!
Here are some more great resources you might be interested in:
Make it happen,