I seem to have lured you into a trap. This is meant to be an article about the secret to losing belly fat, when in actual fact, there is no secret! I apologise profusely, but given this is the number one question I get asked on a daily basis by mums, you deserve to know the truth.
I want you to imagine your best Arnold Schwarzenegger impression saying the following:
The truth is this. the first place we put weight on (generally speaking) is around the abdomen. From there, body fat spreads outwards, upwards, downwards, backwards, like a dirty, dirty virus. if you have ever lost a considerable amount of weight (5kg+) then you probably noticed the first place for it to go, was around your face and neck. The reason being - the last place the weight is put on, is the first place the weight will drop off. And unfortunately the last place for it to disappear from is the Abdomen.
There is no secret formula, and 1000 situps is not the answer. What is going to make the difference in helping you reduce the 'icing on the cake', is a balanced diet, solid exercise regime, and perseverance. I say perseverance, because a toned flat stomach takes time and effort. The flatter your stomach, the more visible your abs are, and this all comes down to body fat percentage. Here is a photo of 'rough' estimates of body-fat percentage to figure. A bodyfat percentage of 18-25% may sound like a high number, but it fairly standard range for a healthy, fit woman.
So watch what you eat. Get rid of as much processed sugar as possible, starchy carbs, alcohol, and all the obvious bad food choices. Increase and vary your vegetable intake, lots of lean proteins, and heaps of water. Portion control is extremely important. We are conditioned to eat meals that are 2-3 times the size of what we actually need. Take a bowl of pasta for example. Who doesn't love pasta, right??? but we are probably eating 4x the amount of the recommended carb intake. I learned something pretty cool the other day. I might have been living under a rock for the best part of 34 years, but our trusty pasta server has a recommended portion device on it! Yep, that little hole in the centre of the server... no more than the amount of dry pasta that can pass through that hole in one go, is your serving size. In my eyes, it is still slightly too much.
If you are a relatively new mum, then start brisk walking with your bub 3-5 times per week. As your fitness and health improves, increase this to running with your bub (if running is your thing), joining a gym with a creche, or find yourself a mums and bubs group exercise class.
All that said, new mums need to build their core strength, improve pelvic floor strength, and address any abdominal separation if need be. Learning how to use your deeper core muscles, and strengthening the abdomen will help you subconsciously switch on those deeper muscles, and contract the more visible ones. This will help 'tighten' the abdominal area to a certain degree - but it's not the quick fix you are probably hoping for. Sorry!!
For more information on these very basic, highly effective exercises, check out our blog on 'living a pain free existence'.
Team Fit Mamma