After you become pregnant and have children there’s fat where there was never fat before, more fat where there was less fat and other changes that you see and just think….”what the heck happened here?” One really common complaint among moms is the baby belly that appeared and never fully disappeared (no matter 9 months or 9 years later)! So a common question I get is “How Do I get rid of this belly?” Before I answer this question I want to go over a few myths that won’t help you lose the baby belly.
5 Myths About Losing Your Baby Belly
1. Skipping meals– This is so common. When you were in high school that’s just what you did. Skip breakfast or lunch and the next day you were down a pound. It doesn’t work like that anymore. High School was a long time ago! When you skip meals you are actually creating physical stress on your body that causes the belly-fat storing hormone, cortisol, to elevate. Also, when you skip meals, you will consume more calories during the next meals (studies actually show this).
2. Do tons of ab crunches and sit-ups – This is such a common misconception and every magazine you look at has women doing ab crunches. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as spot training. You can’t do a bunch of sit-ups and expect the belly fat to disappear nor can you do a bunch of squats and expect the fat on your thighs to go away. Crunches and sit-ups work the muscles, but losing the mommy belly comes from overall fat loss. By the way, many moms have diastasis recti (separation of the abdominal wall due to pregnancy) and that’s one reason why my clients skip crunches.
3. Diet pills – It’s so tempting to take pills when you see the flat, beautiful tummies of the models in the the magazine articles. 1.) Think photo-shop 2.) How old are they? 15? 3.)The pills are stimulants and may cause you to lose some weight temporarily, but at what cost? There could be dangerous side effects (after all, it’s a pill and there are always negative side affects). If you think diet pills are a short-cut, that is your very first sign to put them back on the self. Sorry, but there are no short cuts in fat loss, just plain old hard work.
4. Lean Cuisines – Yummy…so you think! TV dinners are boxed, processed foods with tons of sodium, artificial ingredients, not enough protein, vegetable or fiber. I can’t remember the last time I had one of these! Your body needs real food for fuel and to get the vitamins and minerals it needs to function optimally. When you eat real food, especially veggies, you are getting micro-nutrients that scientists haven’t even isolated yet, let alone be able to put in a little box of frozen food. Don’t forget, when your body is running better because of good nutrition, it can burn fat better. Can you say “bye, bye, belly fat?”
5. Avoid all carbs – Ok, I love talking about this one because it sort of works, but it gets taken out of context all of the time. Do you know that your body’s main source of energy comes from carbs? Yep, it’s true. That’s just science not opinion. I often tell my clients if they want faster fat loss results then cut out filler grains and sugar, especially the white, processed stuff. Vegetables and fruit are full of nutrients and carbohydrates that energize you, help your mind feel clear, not foggy brained, and help you lose fat because your body is working better when it gets proper nutrients. I refer them to the book The Paleo Diet by Dr. Lorin Cordain for this topic. Lots of vegetables, some fruit, healthy fats and clean, lean proteins!
What’s a mom to do?
Here are some ACTION STEPS for you to try:
1. Eat real food. Does it come from the ground and not a man-made factory? Does it walk or swim? Then you’re probably good to go!
2. Exercise. Do metabolic resistance exercises, interval training and only as if you have lots of extra time (and the inclination), slow, boring cardio.
3. Get plenty of sleep. Most people, especially moms, need 7-9 hours of sleep. We work hard and your body needs this time to repair and recover. It’s really important to fat loss.
4. Drink enough water for your current body size. Your urine should be pale yellow or drink half your body weight in ounces. If you weigh 150 pounds than drink 75 ounces of water (not Diet Coke.)
Basically, there is no magic solution. Supportive nutrition, hard exercise and proper recovery will help most moms lose the baby belly. There are some circumstances when proper eating and exercise is not enough. Due to multiple pregnancies, large/multiple babies, age of the mother and how recent of pregnancy, the skin gets so stretched and doesn’t return to pre-pregnancy. Check with your doctor and discuss other options – you may find out that being patient will work best!