The Exercises That Got Rid Of My Mommy Belly

The Exercises That Got Rid Of My Mommy Belly

​As a mom of 4, I've had ot work on my mommy tummy after pregnancy 4 times. As a Pilates instructor, and Pre/Post Natal Fitness Specialist, I know the exercises that work, and the ones that don't when it comes to healing your diastasis recti and losing the mommy pooch. Each pregnancy causes your abdominal muscles to separate in order to make room for baby, so after each pregnancy I've had to help those muscles come back together. In addition to doing the healing exercises, I've also had to lose the belly fat that like to stick around after pregnancy. 

 How to get rid of mommy belly exercise before and after

Since I've had my four babies, I've been helping new mamas for years to heal their core and repair their pelvic floor after pregancy. It sounds overwhelming, but there are actually some very simple exercises you can do at home, which can make a huge impact on healing your abdominal muscles postpartum. I put all of these exercises together in a simple program that takes 8 weeks at home. You can follow the exercise plan and actually build your core strength back up. You can get your abs back again after baby, and if you also take advantage of the nutrition guides and products I've created at Milk Dust, you can burn the belly fat while breastfeeding too! 

If this is your first pregnancy, or your first time experiencing the mommy pooch, you might be wondering where the mommy pooch comes from, and how it develops after pregnancy. 

What is the mommy pooch?

The "mommy pooch" is a common term used to describe the postpartum belly or abdominal pooch that some women experience after giving birth. It refers to the area of the lower abdomen that may appear slightly protruded or saggy after pregnancy. The technical term for this condition is "diastasis recti."

During pregnancy, as the uterus expands to accommodate the growing baby, the abdominal muscles may separate along the midline, creating a gap between the left and right sides of the rectus abdominis muscles. This separation allows the uterus to stretch and make room for the baby.

After childbirth, some women find that their abdominal muscles do not fully come back together, leading to the appearance of a bulge or pooch in the lower abdomen. Diastasis recti is a common postpartum issue, but not all women experience it to the same degree.

It's important to note that diastasis recti is not harmful, but it can be a concern for some women due to the cosmetic appearance or potential core weakness. If you suspect you have diastasis recti or are concerned about your postpartum belly, it's a good idea to consult with a healthcare provider or a physical therapist who specializes in postpartum care. They can assess the severity of the separation and provide appropriate guidance and exercises to help improve the condition, strengthen the abdominal muscles, and promote core stability.

Why do you have belly fat after pregnancy?

Having belly fat after pregnancy is a common and natural occurrence for many women. Several factors contribute to the presence of belly fat postpartum:

  1. Pregnancy Weight Gain: During pregnancy, it's normal and healthy to gain weight to support the growing baby and prepare the body for childbirth. Some of this weight gain comes from increased fat stores, especially around the abdomen.

  2. Hormonal Changes: Pregnancy causes significant hormonal fluctuations, including increased levels of estrogen and progesterone. These hormones can influence fat storage and distribution in the body, leading to increased fat accumulation, especially in the abdominal region.

  3. Stretching of Abdominal Muscles: As the uterus expands during pregnancy, it puts pressure on the abdominal muscles. This stretching can cause the abdominal muscles to separate, resulting in diastasis recti (the "mommy pooch" or separation of the rectus abdominis muscles), which can contribute to the appearance of belly fat.

  4. Postpartum Fluid Retention: After giving birth, some women experience postpartum fluid retention, which can cause temporary bloating and puffiness around the belly area.

  5. Lifestyle Factors: The postpartum period can be challenging, and taking care of a newborn can leave little time for self-care. Sleep deprivation, stress, and changes in eating habits can all influence weight gain and the accumulation of belly fat.

  6. Genetic Factors: Genetics can also play a role in how and where your body stores fat, including around the abdomen.

It's important to remember that postpartum body changes are normal and vary from woman to woman. Your body has undergone significant changes during pregnancy, and it takes time for it to recover. It's essential to be patient and kind to yourself during this period.

What exercises work to get rid of the mommy belly?

When you are looking at exercises to get rid of the mummy tummy, there are some really important things to know. Because the mommy belly deals with abdominal separation, the stomach muscles are going to be much more sensitive and overall weaker. Doing the wrong exercises, like crunches, can actually increase the separation and work on strengthening the wrong muscles. The best abdominal exercises are the ones that work on breathing and inner core work, rather than pure strength. Don't do basic ab exercises like bicycle crunches, or planks. These aren't designed for diastasis recti, but for abdominals that haven't been through pregnancy. For example, pelvic tilts are an exercise the works really well, and one that I love because it pulls your belly button in, works with your breath and pulls the abdominals back toghether. This isn't a strength building exercise, but a rehabilitation exercise. The mom pooch is similar to pulling a muscle during a sport or activity. That muscle needs to be slowly built back with specific movements, then you can work on strengthening it again. Some of the best exercises are Pilates-based with breathing incorporated to reduce the separation of the abdominal muscles. A workout program that takes you through reps, and increases reps and guides you through exercises to heal first, then build strength, in my experience, has the best results. 

Pelvic floor exercises are also essential to losing the mommy belly

If you ingore your pelvic floor, then you are ignoring an essential part of core. The core is both the pelvic floor muscles and the abdominal muslces, and many new moms don't realize how connected these muscles are. The good news is that if you work on these muscles together, you can achieve a flat tummy faster. If you only work on your abdominals, the pelvic floor muscles can be left weak, causes issues with bladder control and lower belly pooch. If you have the right exercise program, then you won't have to work on your pelvic floor and abdominals separately, but the exercise plan will have proper exercises in the right order to encourage your whole core to heal together. 

What is the 8-week Mommy Pooch Challenge Exercise Plan?

​After 4 pregnancies, and years of healing myself and helping other mamas, I put together all the exercises that actually work to heal your core and pevlc floor. I then took those exercises, and built a slow progression to actually building strength back into your abs. Many times, mamas stop at just healing their core. They do the Pilates work, or the pelvic floor exercises, but then move into their preferred workout plan, and never keep building strength in their abdominals. The program I created first takes you through healing your abdominal separation through great exercises that are proven to build back your abdominal wall muscles. Think of these exercises as pulling and cinching your abs back together. Imagine a zipper being put to pull your abs in again. These takes the first few weeks of consistent and specific exercises and reps. From there, you start progressing into building strength back. I've found that if you take your ab work just a bit further and build your core back to strong again, you can actually start to see your abs again, and you will have a safe foundation for continue exercise and strength training. With a strong core, whatever HIIT, cardio or workout program you prefer, you can go into with confidence. Building your core strength also helps heal postpartum issues like pelvic pain, urinary incontinence and poor posture. I highly recommend this program to help you build your foundation back, see your abs again, and develop a strong foundation to whatever workout plan you enjoy doing. On top of this program, there is some nutrition details included to help you burn fat and reduce extra weight on your belly. This is also an important part of healing your core again. 

How do you burn the belly fat after pregnancy?

A healthy diet is really important to losing the extra weight and extra fat that likes to hang out on the belly after pregnancy. I have a lot of nutrition guides, blog posts, and products on the Milk Dust site that go over exactly how to eat to burn the belly fat. Overall, you want to make sure you are eating nutrient dense foods, and getting rid of processed foods. This is really important if you are breastfeeding. Increasing nutrients will allow you to eat at a lower calorie count, without affecting your milk supply. If your body is getting enough nutrients, it can safely tap into store fat for fuel to breastfeed. The only way to lose the belly fat postpartum is to stick to a healthy eating plan that is nutrient-dense and high in protein. I have a great high-protein recipe pack with a nutrition guide. This is really helpful if you aren't sure what to make or how to eat high protein. If you want to take it a step further, the Milk Dust Macro Plan will help you get set up with macros to keep you in the right calorie counts, with enough protein to burn the belly fat, keep your milk supply and lose weight. 

How does protein help you lose the mommy belly?

Protein can aid in fat burning and weight loss through various mechanisms. Here's how protein can be beneficial in supporting fat loss:

  1. Thermic Effect of Food (TEF): Protein has a higher thermic effect of food compared to carbohydrates and fats. TEF refers to the energy expended during the digestion, absorption, and metabolism of nutrients. Protein requires more energy to be broken down and processed by the body, leading to a higher caloric expenditure. This means that your body burns more calories to digest and utilize protein compared to other macronutrients.

  2. Satiety and Appetite Regulation: Protein is more satiating than carbohydrates and fats, which means it keeps you feeling fuller for longer. When you consume an adequate amount of protein, it can help reduce hunger and curb cravings, making it easier to stick to a calorie-controlled diet. By feeling satisfied and less hungry, you may be less likely to overeat or snack on high-calorie foods, ultimately supporting fat loss.

  3. Preservation of Lean Muscle Mass: When you're trying to lose weight, it's important to preserve lean muscle mass while targeting fat loss. Protein is essential for repairing and building muscle tissue. Adequate protein intake during weight loss can help preserve muscle mass, which is metabolically active and can contribute to a higher basal metabolic rate (BMR). A higher BMR means you burn more calories even at rest, making it easier to create a calorie deficit and promote fat loss.

  4. Glucose Regulation and Insulin Sensitivity: Protein, when consumed with carbohydrates, can help slow down the absorption of glucose, leading to more stable blood sugar levels. This can help improve insulin sensitivity and reduce the likelihood of excess glucose being stored as fat. Milk Dust also has a propietary blood sugar blend specifically to help stabalize blood sugar and stop sugar cravings. 

  5. Increased Fat Oxidation: Studies suggest that higher protein diets may enhance fat oxidation (the breakdown of stored fat for energy), particularly when combined with exercise.

  6. Energy Expenditure during Exercise: Protein intake can support physical performance during exercise. When you have enough protein in your diet, your body is better equipped to perform workouts effectively, potentially leading to increased calorie expenditure and fat burning during exercise sessions.

It's important to remember that while protein can be helpful for fat loss, it is not a magical solution on its own. Successful fat loss involves a combination of factors, including a balanced and calorie-controlled diet, regular physical activity, sufficient hydration, adequate sleep, and managing stress levels. If you're considering a weight loss plan, it's always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian who can provide personalized guidance based on your individual needs and goals.

I have a lot of resources for weight loss here on the Milk Dust site, and adding in a supplement like Milk Dust Lactation Protein Powder is a great step to ensuring your diet is on track and your milk supply is safe. From there, following a Macro Diet Plan or Clean-Eating Plan is really helpful to burning the belly fat and losing the mommy tummy all together.