The twinkies are 5 years, 5 months, 4 weeks & 2 days old. YIKES!
Lots of women, especially new moms, complain about their mid-sections. Any way they can find to shrink their tummies without costly and painful surgery, they naturally will jump at. Me being one of them. Well was one of them, until I followed some of my own advice below.
Despite popular belief, crunches and similar stomach exercises where the abs are forced and can actually be damaged in the process, are by far not the most effective way to get great abs. And a 6 pack is hard to achieve for anybody. For some it is impossible. You can work out for a lifetime and never get that super chiseled look, but for most of us ladies that’s just fine with us. We just want to be flat bellied without pouches. We aren’t looking to enter into any fitness competitions.
After having children especially, it can be harder, but certainly not impossible, to get this area back in check. Yes, even after twins. Here are some non-invasive things you can do to improve your belly, your body and your confidence.
10 tips to a flat, sexy belly!
1) A healthy low-calorie diet is a VERY good start.
The more fat you ingest, the more fat you need to burn off. Unfortunately, fat for us ladies tends to accumulate in the stomach and thigh areas. So it all starts with a healthy diet, 1st and foremost. Do remember that some fats are necessary for our health and our bodies, however, an over-abundance of them will do you more harm then good, in more ways then just a muffin top.
2) Cardio exercise
Not only does this improve tone in all of the muscles in your body, and helps to strengthen your heart, which is a BIG plus. But cardio exercise also helps burn calories, which in turn burns fat. So it does not always have to mean targeted stomach exercises to affect the stomach region. That is a common misconception.
Take in an aerobics, Zumba, or step class, and you will be doing your mid-section a big favor. If you can’t get to a gym, then wait for the kiddies to go to sleep at night, or get up extra early, pop in a DVD and burn baby burn! You’ll find yourself looking and feeling better in no time! The kids are almost back in school now – no excuses!
3) Overall strength training
Don’t just focus on the abdominals, but rather strengthening the entire body including the abs. Over working the abs or working them improperly, can cause a diastasis. (A gap in the muscles of the abdominals, that allow your organs to protrude through, and this can lead to back pain and even hernia.)
So to avoid this, avoid traditional crunches, and spending too much time focusing on just your mid section during strength training. You can do yourself more damage then good. I learned this the hard way. Plus, who wants great abs, and to not tone up everywhere else, as well?
4) Belly binding
This practice goes back for centuries and centuries. Women have bound their bellies up tightly to trim their waistlines and recover from childbirth. Some women have used them to slim their waistlines a bit more dramatically than we would like to do in today’s day and age, but compression is PROVEN to shed inches off your waistline, and give you more of a curve in that ever important ‘waist line’ area, while flattening the belly over-all, including a mummy tummy pouch. Postpartum moms have been using these garments for so long with amazing results, hence why the practice continues on, and technology only gets better and better over time. This is why belly binders now are so much more effective and comfortable.
If you have an abdominal separation due to pregnancy, delivery or from incorrect exercises, you can draw the two halves of your abs together, eliminating the bulge a diastasis recti usually causes, thus flattening the belly, eliminating back pain and other health risks over time. Save 10% now on the binder I used to get my belly back after twins HERE. The Squeem Perfect Waist. Email me for the secret coupon code now. Only good until September 18th from this post only!
5) Partial genetics
My mother looks like she is a bit on the pregnant side. (Sorry mom). Even though she isn’t heavy at all, she does have a belly bulge. So much like stretch marks, I am guessing, that it isn’t all genetics, or at least so far. I’m sure her belly was flatter when she was younger, but she never had any terrific muscle tone in her body or her abs. We were never built exactly the same way.
I don’t recall her ever exercising once, and she did smoke for many, many years, but YAY finally quit fairly recently. I’d order her up a Squeem, but she might just slap me with it for the insinuation. 😆
Just as they say stretch marks are genetic, and my mom had those to after only 2 small babies, and I do not. There is no reason to feel doomed over genetics at all. It may have something to do with it, but it’s not an exact science that is for sure…not unless I have been adopted, along with a few of my close friends who have great abs, despite their own mothers. There may be a partial connection, but don’t lose hope. Read on.
6) HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE
It’s a fact that lack of water not only causes dehydration, but also bloat. Who knew? You might have thought the opposite but trust me, that thought is wrong. You need water in your muscles to make them more responsive to exercise anyhow and to replenish any water that has been perspired out of your pores.
This helps to cut down on the bloat that at certain times can make us look pregnant, especially at certain times of the month ladies…I know I’ll keep drinking my 8-10 glasses a day, despite hating the taste. I do try for even more, but it’s hard with the kids to remember all of the time.
Try some lemon or lime to spice it up a little, and don’t drink too much caffeine and alcohol. These things dehydrate, taking some much needed water out of your skin and body, and can actually CAUSE bloat. Just something to think about, next time you reach for that soda pop or wine. If you must have your occasional ‘fix’, do compensate by drinking EXTRA amounts of water. 1 extra glass of water per caffeinated or alcoholic beverage. My dad told me to do this years ago. A glass of water for every glass of wine. I know moms do enjoy wine so bring the water along also so you can re-hydrate! It’s important for your entire body and health overall.
7) Lower your stress levels
Whether it sounds weird or not it has been shown that people who have a high amounts of stress in their lives, over time, tend to accumulate more belly fat, and simply have wider mid-sections. Reduce stress by relaxation breathing, a daily warm bath, meditation, take a yoga class, and try to find more positive ways to handle the stressful situations you encounter in life. It may just make some difference!
8) Sleep more consistently
You can’t always help with this one, but you are more likely to be in the ‘too little sleep’ category if you are a new mom rather than not. Newborn sleepless nights and teething tots won’t last forever, so when you do have control, do try to get AT LEAST 5 straight hours of sleep per night, which we all crave more, but at least that much, and up to the recommended 8 hours, which is optimum.
9 or 10 hours seems heavenly, but actually may help fat accumulate in your mid-section. Less then 5 hours a night is the same deal, and I can prove this with two words..’MY HUSBAND.’ Before we had our 1st child together, he slept peacefully for about 8 hours a day after & before work and had a natural nice shape and flat belly. Now…he gets VERY little sleep, and instead of his once V-shape, he looks more like the shape of a donut. Coincidence? I think this IS part of it.
9) Drop those cigarettes!
Are you a fiend for nicotine? Well then not only are you hurting your health from the inside, but you are likely affecting your silhouette as well. People who smoke tend to carry their fat more in their mid-sections than their thighs and rear. Do try hard to quit the stick, not just for your body but for your overall health and your loved ones! That is most important.
You may never have washboard perfect abs, and that is OK. But you can do all of the things above to get to the best ‘you’ that ‘you’ can possibly be, and feel happier in your own skin. You don’t have to jump to the extremes of surgery when there are far less expensive and less drastic things that you can do to improve yourself. Not just for your belly, but from head to toe.
Thanks for reading, and good luck on your flat belly journey!