Its been two and a half years since I had my baby and I’ve been going to the gym doing mainly weighs and 20 min cardio about three times a week for two months and I’ve lost weight but my stomach is still saggy looks like I’m pregnant underneath clothes, are Chacey’s words commonly heard among women after child birth.
From the moment your baby is born, hormonal changes cause your uterus to contract, shrinking it back to its pre-pregnancy state. It takes six to eight weeks for your uterus to return to its normal size. Stretch marks and the linea nigra, however, endure longer. Women take months to get rid of the “pregnancy pouch” – and sometimes it might get a bit too challenging.
The pregnancy pooch can be a result of “Diastasis recti”—a condition where the two halves of the rectus abdominis (your 6-pack muscles) are stretched apart during a pregnancy that often will not bounce back to their original pre-pregnancy condition.
Patience and smart handling are the keys. It took nine months for your abdomen to stretch to accommodate a full-term baby, so it makes sense that it would take at least that long to tighten back up. The degree of transition is individualistic and depends on a number of factors- your normal body size, how much weight you gained during pregnancy, how active you are, and your genes. Women who gained less than 30 pounds and exercised regularly during pregnancy, who breastfeed, and who have had only one child are more likely to slim down quickly.
Get Ready to banish your belly pooch with these tips:
- Try to Breathe Correctly: Take a deep breath through your nose as you expand your belly (fully expanded) and fill your lungs. Exhale through your mouth and empty your lungs as you contract your transverse muscle back toward your spine (a count of six). Hold this position before you do any exercise moves and/or activities, such as getting out of bed or lifting groceries.
- Exercise to burn Calories. Whether it’s a stroll around the block or a postpartum yoga class, physical activity tones stomach muscles and burns calories. A rigorous exercise regimen that includes an aerobic workout and movements that focus on the abdomen can work wonders. (But before starting an exercise routine, make sure your body is ready.) The American College of Sports Medicine recommends getting at least 250 minutes of exercise per week to lose weight. Walking at a brisk pace for 35 minutes per day will fulfill this recommendation.
- Watch your Food Intake: A low-calorie diet can help you lose weight, but give nature and exercise time to work first. Wait at least six weeks – and preferably a few months – before cutting back on calories, especially if you’re nursing. Women need 1,600 to 2,400 calories a day (click here, to check your BMR) to maintain a healthy weight. To lose about a pound a week, cut out 500 calories a day either by decreasing your food intake or increasing your activity level.
- Drink Plenty of Water Throughout the Day.Keeping your body hydrated can help with your skin elasticity, weight loss and general health after child birth. Aim for at least eight, 8 ounce glasses a day, and even more if you are breastfeeding.
- Lift more than just your baby. Adding strength training into your workout routine will addlean muscle mass and aid in the fight against fat by upping your metabolism. Strength train two to three days per week performing exercises that target the major muscle groups such as squats, lunges, step-ups, shoulder presses, rows and chest presses.
- Get Friendly with your Belly: Practice the “Ab Towel Move” by lying down on the floor on your back with a towel folded lengthwise and placed under the shoulder blades just below the arms. Reach crosswise with both arms under the breasts and above the stomach, and grab the ends of the towel—a crisscross hug type of position. Bend your legs at the knees and use your abdominal muscles to pull your navel in while lifting only your head and neck and look toward your knees. Practice 10 times daily.
- Change or Modify Your workout every 2 Weeks: Every now and then you can vary your exercise schedule either beginning with a cardio workout or strength training. Do not forget to warm up and stretch before your workout. After about six to eight weeks of engaging in the samefitness program, people get bored and drop out. It is essential that your exercise program be modified every few weeks. Your initial six to eight weeks involves actually learning the movements and results seem to come easy. From that point on, muscle fibers actually have to adapt by becoming thicker and stronger in order for results to be recognized. For that reason alone, exercise protocols need to be changed periodically. This will keep your muscle guessing and replace monotony.
- Get Some Sleep. It may seem impossible to get a full eight hours of sleep when you have a baby to attend throughout the night, but being sleepdeprived could make it harder for you to shed the baby weight. In one study, new moms who slept five hours or less a night were more likely to hold onto their extra pregnancy weight than women who slept seven hours.
Remember, slow and steady wins the race.
THE MODIFIED HUNDRED
THE FLAT-BELLY FLY