What To Do About A ‘Mummy Tummy’
This month we’re continuing on the topic of exercise and healthy eating. We’ve talked about high-intensity exercises like Crossfit and cost effective outdoor activities to keep you moving. But what do you do when you still look in the mirror and see that post pregnancy ‘mummy tummy’?
You could be very surprised as to what your belly looks like after giving birth. Even though you’ve given birth and your baby is out of your belly, you may still have a round abdominal area. You might not want to hear it, but a few weeks (or months)after you have given birth you will probably look about 4 months pregnant. Every woman is different and it takes time for your body to heal, especially your belly. Your stomach is like a balloon that has been inflated slowly as your baby has grown inside you. Giving birth doesn’t pop the ‘balloon’ (although is can most defiantly feel that way) it slowly deflates it, with a very very slow and steady leak.
From the moment your baby is conceived to the miracle when it’s born, hormones are flying around in your body at a million miles an hour. Changes cause your uterus to contract and shrink back to its pre pregnancy shape. Some doctors say that it can take up to about with 6
weeks for your uterus to return to a normal size. Cells in your body during pregnancy that have swelled up to release extra fluid which is extracted from your body through urine, sweat and other areas we won’t mention…gross! The extra fat you would have but on to nourish your little one at it grew starts burning off especially when you nurse and exercise, but it will take some time before you notice any chances.
Those dreaded stretch marks will, however stick around for sometime. Stretch marks will become less noticeable after about 12 month after giving birth. Depending on you skeletal structure and colour of your skin, the pigmentation starts to fade and the stretch marks become lighter. The texture may remain the same.
Get out and get moving! We’ve talked about this before, but we’ll say it again. You have to get that heart rate up during pregnancy and especially after giving birth. We can tell you right now so its absolutely no surprise that you WILL NOT want to get physically active and you won’t want to go outside. Now that is out the way…do the exact opposite!
Your little one has been up all night, and it’s way more comfortable in bed to catch up on sleep. We know, we get it! But the key here is to keep moving. It doesn’t have to be straight into the CrossFit box or a 5km run at 4am, just start off small and get your post pregnancy body used exercising without a large belly. At this stage you would have had a head start over all the other mums if you were exercising when pregnant.
Eat clean and eat often! You are no longer supplying much-needed nutrients to your baby inside you anymore. If you are breastfeeding, this will be slightly different but the same rules apply.
You probably barely have time to even go to the toilet BUT, if you want to lose that ‘mummy tummy’ then what you move past your lips and into your stomach is absolute key.
A lot of our mum’s follow the paleo eating regime, not to its full extent but more or less. We’ve found that eating paleo more or less gives you what your body needs - and what it doesn’t! Planning is very key to eating right and eating often. Get your partner in on this one, it will make all the difference!
You’ve done all the pre-pregnancy classes under the sun, read all the books and got unsolicited advice from almost everyone around you. Yes, this can be very stressful. Stress affects your body on a very deep fundamental level. Research has shown that your brain releases ‘survival’ hormones that tell your body to retain fat cells and go into shut down or hibernation mode. You could be exercising your little heart out, but if there is significant stress in your world then excessive exercise may be a bit redundant. Sit down and write down things that you feel anxious about, talk them over with your partner and see how these things can be minimised. Over and above eliminating the stress, you need to be boosting your happiness. I always think about the Monsters Inc movie when I think of this. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, wait until you have little toddlers running around and you’ve watched the movie 100 times over. Happiness trumps stress 10 fold, getting more of that ‘happy hormone’ oxytocin into you more often. This means taking care of your self because if there is an unhappy mum, chances are there is an unhappy baby. Oxytocin can be elevated into your body but exercising and watching more nutrient foods like fruit and vegetables. Hugs, quality time, massages, lots of sex and anything else that makes you feel good.
Its important to embrace your body when going through this stage of post pregnancy. Jumping on the scale everyday is not going to do you any favours. Health isn’t about a certain size or physical number on a bathroom scale, its about the emotional and physical feelings that you embrace.