The best-kept pregnancy secret and the biggest surprise is the Mummy Tummy!
Pregnancy; a major milestone in a woman’s life, a time of happiness, anticipation and hormones! Exciting new challenges lie ahead and nine months of expectations come alive at that precious moment; a bundle of joy is born.
Overjoyed with love, full of emotion and surrounded by your nearest and dearest. We can all agree that childbirth represents new life and new beginnings; fresh and invigorating! It is, without a doubt, one of the most cherished times in our adult lives.
However, the best-kept pregnancy secret and the biggest surprise by far is the Mummy Tummy! The midwife missed this out of the antenatal classes for sure.
A burden of weight, where the pre-pregnancy waist is a distant memory, this brand new body seems almost alien to a new mum. The new stomach now clings to your clothes, pours over jeans, and ruins every chance of looking half-decent in a swimsuit.
Bombarded with washboard celebrity stomachs in the media, a new mum can naturally feel overwhelmed, demoralised, intimidated and pressured into returning back to their ‘normal’ self and former glory days.
The idea of ten thousand sit ups before bed is a crazy notion, an unpractical thought, surely only applicable to flamboyant pop stars and fitness fanatics, which no new mum is – even the thought is tiring enough. So, what are the practical solutions to combating the waist line after childbirth, while juggling life as a new, real, modern mum?
Let nature take its course!
Expecting your bump to ‘pop’ once the baby has been born is an unrealistic expectation. Some women can still feel and look pregnant!
Please don’t feel like you’re the only new mum who has retained this unanticipated bump, it’s completely normal:
“The birth, in effect, creates a slowly deflating vent so that the stomach will, in time, shrink,” explains a midwife.
No sane person will promise that the middle region will return back to its pre-pregnancy state, however, it is vital to remember that the initial days of post-pregnancy weight, do not represent a permanent form.
Don’t forget the skin has been through 9 months of stretching, pulling and re-shaping – patience is key, even though it is understandably annoying.
Walk, walk and walk some more. Walk everywhere! The simplest solutions are sometimes the best. Walking is a great way to ease yourself back into exercise.
Walking is underrated. The open air, free space encourages a clear mind thereby reducing stress levels. Walk at your own pace, choose your own intensity.
A recent BUPA study found: “Of long term successful weight losers, almost all maintain a good programme of walking.”
Walking alone, with other mums or with your new baby, is proven to burn calories. A fascinating fact: “Take an extra 2000 steps a day and, studies have shown, the body will never be overweight.”
As the tummy fat tissue is notoriously known as being a very stubborn fat to lose, this is a great way to start that journey back to you.
That’s such a cliché, you say, but a good balanced diet really will assist in losing the mummy tummy a lot quicker. Eating ‘rubbish’ food will make you feel exactly that.
Energy is a valuable asset in early motherhood, and your diet will reflect these levels. To an extent, we really are what we eat.
Nutritionists bellow out the food groups; carbohydrates, protein and fibre, however, a secret, in the fitness world, to a flat stomach, comes in a very small food type – a nut.
The Almond to be exact, jam-packed with the essential vitamin E, the nut is also responsible for holding a weapon to weight loss – magnesium.
This is a mineral your body must have in order to produce energy, build and maintain muscle tissue, and regulate blood sugar:
“A stable blood-sugar level helps prevent cravings that can lead to overeating and weight gain,” says David Katz, MD, a professor at the Yale University School of Medicine.
The most appealing part of an almond is its ability to block calories: “Research indicates that the composition of their cell walls may help reduce the absorption of all of their fat.”
A diet of foods rich in vitamins and minerals will most certainly assist with weight loss and weight control.
For the hard core – stomach crunches!
This exercise, even a few times a week, will certainly show results. Build up slowly, possibly starting with only with a few a day if exercise is a completely foreign concept, and notice the difference to a much stronger core in weeks.
The basis for a ‘stomach crunch’ is to find a comfortable spot; lie on your back on the floor, put your feet on the floor, knees bent, and place your hands behind your neck to support your head. Press your lower back into the floor, then lift your head and shoulders off the ground. Repeat 10–15 times.
As you get stronger, add difficulty (lift your feet off the floor during reps, for example) and variations (like tilting your legs to the side and reaching for the opposite knee as you come up to tone the oblique muscles on the sides of your torso). Working different muscles is essential for losing that belly fat after pregnancy.
Recruiting a belly-shifting buddy, for support and company while you battle the mummy tummy can give you the motivation and much needed push, when energy is lacking. Talk to other mums, share advice and support.
Don’t set unachievable targets, which include expecting miracles overnight. It’s paramount that in the initial first months of motherhood you stay patient and be easy on your body.
Once your body is ready, persist with the hard work and be very, very proud of your achievements.