Oh, the Mummy Tummy. The one area that we try to pretend does not exist, yet can never forget its presence. It is that little extra layer of love that never seems to want to move or change despite our very best efforts.
While I do have a few tricks up my sleeve to help reduce* or even banish your Mummy Tummy forever, I want you to keep one thing in mind. That tummy is there because you grew a tiny human! Give yourself a pat on the back and on your Mummy Tummy because that was no easy feat, Mama!
1. Work on your Core before Pregnancy
If you are planning on becoming pregnant, having your body in tip-top shape will only serve to help you later. Specifically, working on your core.
Not only will this help you “bounce back,” but it is important to have a strong core when you are carrying the equivalent of an eight-pound bowling ball around in your belly in the third trimester.
For the best core workout of your life, try Pilates. The whole philosophy behind Pilates is that your core is where all of your strength and power lies. But rather than simply doing a ton of crunches, you work on your entire body, using your core to support every movement.
You also stretch and your muscles turn long and lean. Just in case you are not completely convinced, Fitness Magazine lists 8 Reasons Every Woman Should Try Pilates.
2. Eat Right during Pregnancy
You know the saying “Eating for Two?” Well, that is not exactly accurate. Eating for two does not mean that you eat double your regular portion (although you will need to up your caloric intake in the second and third trimesters). Eating for two means that everything you eat, baby gets, too.
So, if you are chowing down on cupcakes and chili cheese fries, the baby is eating that, as well. I would never tell a pregnant woman not to give into a craving, but keep in mind that growing a human being requires nutritious food to help keep you both healthy and strong.
I was plagued with epic morning sickness during pregnancy, so I began juicing. Juicing, for me, was a great way to get all of the nutrients baby and I required.
Plus, it was easier to keep down than solid foods much of the time! Juicing is also a great way to stay healthy after the baby is born and it has the added bonus that you can drink one-handed.
Pregnancy Juice Recipe:
- 1 inch ginger
- 1 orange
- 3-4 carrots
- 1 mango
3. Wrap it Up after Pregnancy
Our Victorian Era sisters were onto something. The use of corsets was used fashionably during the late 1800’s, but it is actually something that should make a comeback post-pregnancy.
After having a cesarean section, I had no idea how much I truly use my abdominal muscles. Suddenly, even sitting down hurt. So, I invested in a postpartum girdle. Best purchase ever.
These corsets work to support your abdomen and back after giving birth, via cesarean section or naturally. Besides making a tremendous difference in my comfort, there is also the added bonus of cinching everything in to fit back into your pre-pregnancy wardrobe! So, wrap it up, Mamas. You will feel better and look better!
4. Eat (or Drink!) your Fiber
Breastfeeding does wonders for both mama and baby, as you may know. Breastfeeding burns calories, which helps you lose* the baby weight and helps to shrink your uterus back to size. However, not every woman is able to breastfeed.
Nursing mama or not, fiber helps all of us! Fiber helps you maintain your weight and control your blood sugar, which helps with all of those sugary cravings!
We should get about 100 plus grams of fiber per day, but most people do not come close to this amount. Try starting your day with a bowl of oatmeal.
You can add sliced apples if you are breastfeeding or goji berries if you are not. Make yourself a mid-morning shake with bananas, pears, blackberries, and almond milk. Add a teaspoon of chia seeds for an extra fiber boost*.
A sandwich that includes whole grain bread and avocado is the perfect way to fill up at lunchtime. Munch on a handful of almonds and an array of in-season fruit for an afternoon snack. Or try apple slices or carrots with homemade hummus! For dinner, try to include whole grains, beans, and plenty of veggies. Like whole grain pasta with cannellini beans, spinach, and chopped artichokes.
5. Oil up and Get Out
I am a bit obsessed with essential oils and have learned that there really is an oil for everything! A great belly banishing oily combo incorporates Lemon, Peppermint, and Grapefruit.
Lemon is a wonderful mood booster, peppermint is fabulous for the tummy and digestion, and grapefruit assists with water retention while giving your metabolism a boost*. Combine 10 drops of each oil in a 10mL roller and top with your favorite carrier oil. Roll over your tummy, thighs, or any other “problem” area.
Once you have oiled up, it is time to get out and start moving! I’ll be honest, I have not set foot in a gym since before my daughter was born. However, I make sure that I get plenty of exercise. Now, I just include my daughter in on the fun.
When she was a baby, I strapped her in my baby carrier and practiced walking up and down the stairs or took long walks around the neighborhood. For some social interaction, we took Mommy and Me Yoga Classes. I am not sure if I worked up a sweat, but I definitely got an abdominal workout from laughing so hard.
As your little one gets older, staying active as a family is part of the fun. Talking walks or family bike rides, will help you stay in shape while enjoying some quality time with those you love.
Chasing a toddler is a workout in itself, but we also love going on hikes, swimming, and to the local trampoline park to jump our calories away. As you stay active, you will begin to notice that your mummy tummy is saying a sweet goodbye!
6. Drink Up
I know that when you feel bloated, the last thing that you want to do is guzzle a bunch of liquids. But, trust me, this is the way to go! Drinking plenty of water will actually reduce* bloating, flush your system, and keep you hydrated for tackling mom life.
You may have heard that drinking at least 8 ounces per day is the way to go, but that amount actually depends on several factors. Take your weight and divide it in half and that is roughly the amount of water you should drink per day, in ounces. Add on if you are nursing or very active. Your body will tell you when it needs more!
If you have a hard time remembering to drink water, try the Plant Nanny app. This app will remind you to maintain your daily water intake, but does so with a cute plant that you have to take care of “watering”. I love the regular alerts throughout the day, so I can remember to drink water and keep track of how much I have had.
If you have trouble drinking water because water is pretty boring, try an infused water. I love cucumber, mint, and lemon or strawberry and pineapple.
I just add my ingredients to a large water pitcher and then refill throughout the day. You can also try lemon, ginger, and dash of cayenne pepper for a spicy kick that will boost* your metabolism. Drinking infused water will also help with your soda cravings!
A Final Tip
Don’t be too hard on yourself, Mama! Remember that your body did an incredible thing and embraced the changes in your body. Losing the baby weight takes time and patience. Don’t rush it or deprive yourself. You have a little one who needs you to stay fueled! Mummy tummy or not, you are beautiful and don’t forget it!
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