How Can I Lose My "Mommy Tummy"?

Updated on July 24, 2008
K.L. asks from Saint Paul, MN
11 answers

Hello,

I have an 11 month old and I still have a bloated belly that makes me look like I'm 5 months pregnant (but I'm not). I see all of these other women out there with young babies who look really slim and in good shape. I'm on a good diet of mostly lean protein, fruit, grains, veggies and low-fat dairy. I don't eat a lot of junk or drink a lot of alcohol but I do let myself have a treat/drink once or twice a week. My exercise routine consists of talking my little one for walks and chasing her around the house. Do these other Moms really have the time and energy to hit the gym and do 500 crunches a day?! Please let me know any ideas that have worked for any of you. Thanks!

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T.R.

answers from Minneapolis on

Hi K.!

I think there are a lot of great ideas in other responses for losing weight. I just wanted to give my two cents worth (maybe more like a dollar ;) ) I have three kids - a 6yr old, 4yr old and 3 month old. Working out has been a major part of my life before having kids, while pregnant and after having kids - running, weight lifting, etc. With the addition of each kid into our family and the changing of priorities, it has become more difficult to keep that up.

I think the best thing you can do is be honest with yourself in asking whether or not you want to commit to an exercise regimen. While part of my motivation to workout comes from wanting to be in shape (i.e. look good physically) - a major motivator for me is that I want to live a healthy lifestyle and set an example for my kids. It's possible to do that without committing to working out - you can be active with your child too. You need to figure out what works for you - do you want to incorporate working out into your life? Weight loss is all about creating a deficit between the amount of calories you consume vs. the amount you burn but don't forget to consider genetics as well. It might just be that your tummy area is your tough spot - which makes comparing yourself to others futile! I happen to be fortunate enough to have a stomach that seems to return to it's pre-pregnancy size rather quickly after giving birth. But my booty and thighs are MY tough areas. And some people don't have ANY tough areas and have high metabolisms without working out and can eat what they want (and whoever you are, you lucky women - you are the source of MUCH envy :) )

If you do decide to start a workout routine, do things that you enjoy - aerobics, running, whatever it maybe. I now look forward to running on my treadmill because it's one of the only times I get to watch tv now. And when I'm at the club on the eliptical, I actually get to read a book! These are true luxuries for anyone with small children (in my opinion anyways!). Whatever you decide to do - best of luck!

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C.L.

answers from Minneapolis on

First, I think 11 months is still pretty soon to be back in great shape. I know a lot of women do it, but I think they are in the minority. I certainly didn't get back into pre-pregnancy shape by then. It's also great that you are walking and watching your diet, but you probably need some sort of strength training and abdominal exercises. You can probably get some equipment and/or a video and do some of it at home. If you can afford it I would highly recommend a membership at the Y. They have great classes and trainers who can really motivate you. I find it much easier to stick to my routine in a group situation. They also have great free child care for your baby and as she gets older they have a variety of classes for children and swimming lessons. It's a great way to connect and meet people too. I've made some friends from my weight lifting class. Good luck.

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L.D.

answers from Minneapolis on

When you are pregnant you abdominal muscles get stretched out just like the rest of your tummy and it takes some effort to tune them again. Although walking and eating healthy are good for you, they won't firm up you tummy. I don't think you need to spend hours and money at the gym.

Try sitting on a exercise ball instead of a chair while you use the computer.

While you watch TV (if you get to) lay on the floor and do some leg lifts, pelvic tilts, hip raises, crunches.

The August issue of Parents Magazine had some simple exercises you could do at the play ground. The article is called "Go Play Outside" you should be able to read it on line.

I have also seen exercises you can do while walking with a stoller or using your child as a weight. Google something like stroller exercise or exercise with child.

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L.M.

answers from Minneapolis on

I have three children, 10, 4, and 3. I did not gain much with my first born as I was so sick all the time with him, but I gained 96 lbs with my second as he was a twin, and 40 lbs with my third. And as they are only 15 months apart, I did not lose much inbetween my youngest two kids. I eat whatever I want in huge amounts as I love to eat! I weigh less now than I did in high school. I am 5 eet 10 inches tall and weight 128lbs. I am not trying to brag or sound conceited, I jsut want to share why I am the size I am. I do not hit the gym, who has time for that? Instead, I do my own kind of work out. I can not sit still especially if my house is a mess or the lawn needs mowing, whatever. So I vacumm, mow, play hard with my kids, and don't ever think about my weight. I love sports though too! I play volleyball and softball on the evenings that my hubby can be home or we get a sitter and play coed ball together. Of course I play competitive ball so it is more of a work out than just bumping it over the net or jogging around the bases. I believe the jumping I do in volleyball is what helped the most. I play middle, and constantly am either blocking or hitting, and I play left field in softball so am running my butt off literally. The main thing is though is I am doing things that either I love or need to get done around here, not forcing myself to do a workout that I hate doing or worrying about how many calories are in that huge peice of chocolate cake on my plate. My suggestion to you would be to just every chance you have to be active. Take you little one to the pool, put a bike trailer on your bike and ride, don't wait for your husband to mow that yard just do it. The more you start doing these things the more energy you will have and the more you will want to continue being active. It does not have to be work it can be fun, and should be fun! Also, throw your scale away. The more often you look at it the more discouraged you will get. The weight does not come off overnight, so you should only step on the scale once every other month so you can actually see results. If I can go from over 200 lbs to 128 and wear that darn swim suit I wanted to fit into again, I know you can too! Good Luck to you sweetie! I hope you find a way to have fun and live happy!

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B.J.

answers from Minneapolis on

Hi K.-
Yes it's possible!! After carrying over 100+ lbs of babies with twins at 40- I am in a bikini! I had what I called a kangaroo pouch- perfect description- not a whole lot of weight left to lose (only 17lbs after working hard like you and no time at the gym) but my shape was unsightly to say the least. I finally shut my mouth after my friends wanted me to use something they had- and after 2 years I did and lost 2.5 clothes sizes over the holidays no less (while most gain) and got my shape back. I am now in addition to a med. profession- a part time wellness coach. So if you want to call or email me, I'd be happy to share more. I'm not allowed to say a whole lot about that on the chat line.
My email is [email protected]____.com
My verizon cell is ###-###-####.
I'm on call til next Monday- so if it takes a day or two to reply- I apologize.
If you live in the Mpls/St. Paul area- I live in New Brighton and would be happy to meet with you. I have a scanner that does target weights, %fat and tells you what you need to achieve your ideal weight- and FREE service by the way too.
I can put you on newsletters too if you want.
If you email, put momsource in teh subject line so I know to grab it if it ends up in the bulk spam folder by mistake- that email filter.........
Make today great and don't give up.
B. J

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J.L.

answers from Minneapolis on

K.,
I am working on getting back into pre-child shape as well and use a sports nutrition line that has been amazing and inexpensive. The product I think that would most interest you is a fat to fuel conversion bar. It naturally uses your fat stores as energy first (our bodies typically use carbs first) for fuel which helps you burn fat more efficently, have a longer workout, and reduces lactic acid which causes sore muscles. Its awesome! I take one everyday, whether doing my workout routine or just running around with the kids. I've also helped people training for marathons and bike races have great results using these products.

Feel free to contact me for more information.
[email protected]____.com

Take Care,
J.

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S.K.

answers from Minneapolis on

K.,

Perhpas you are unsure of how many calories your are taking in. For one week, I would keep a log of everything you eat and drink, this includes gum, a few bites while making lunch and dinner and perhpas its the amount that you are eating. I learned after my only child turned about 2 years old to take half the amount of what I would normally put on my plate and then just finish my daughters. This really helped me keep the calories lower.

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L.M.

answers from Minneapolis on

My daughter is now 15 months old. I was active during my pregnancy (walking and swimming), and I resumed actively exercising when she was about 5 months old. Still, I've had the belly (my flubber). I knew how to eat well and thought I was active enough, but I got my fat measured by a trainer at the YWCA in St. Paul (I recommend contacting Troy S.), and I finally got a clear picture of how much I still need to lose - 13 pounds (I needed to lose this weight before pregnancy, too). This made me realize that I had to work harder to get where I want to be.

I signed up for MyFoodDiary.com ($9/month) so that I could track my portions and foods eaten. Plus, I can keep track of my exercise/calories burned on it, too. It takes commitment to note what I've eaten each day, but I figured I'd start getting the hang of how many calories are in the foods/meals/snacks I like to eat the most often, and I am. I'm starting to be able to keep track in my head now. I also started exercising five times a week, really exercising for me, not just chasing my DD around. It's working. I've lost five pounds so far (in three weeks). And, the flubber is diminishing (not so the stretch marks or c-section scar, but hey).

My recommendation is to meet with a trainer to really evaluate your fitness and physical statuses. Get your baseline data, then decide what your goals are and how to accomplish them. You'll probably have to exercise more and maybe scale down your portions a little. I know I've switched to soy milk for my morning cereal and almost-daily small iced mochas (my weakness/reward). Just those two changes knock down the fat tally a little bit for each day, which helps with weight loss, as well as cholesterol, etc. etc.

It sounds like you have good habits, but that you'll have to work a bit more focusedly to get the results you want. Good luck!

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J.C.

answers from Minneapolis on

My youngest is 3 -- I still have it! I will keep watching this to find out other womens' secrets!

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N.S.

answers from Minneapolis on

I'm going to guess that diet and your weight are not your problem. Muscle tone is more than likely what's at issue. For some women, depending on how strong or weak your abs were at the time you were carrying the baby, the position and weight of junior may have caused you to develop a mild herniated muscle wall. Some women's stomach muscles actually split and/or protrude after pregnancy, and that can give you that "pregnant" look even if you're eating right. While muscle toning is the solution, for some surgery might be needed.

There is one school of thought that wearing a snug girdle day and night for the first few months after child-birth will help your internals move back into place. The trick is as soon as after delivery, you need to start wearing the girdle. Many people swear by this, and say their stomachs returned back to normal fairly quickly. Medela (the breast pump people) actually sell these girdles in their European markets. They're hard to find in the US, but they're around. I got one online for about $20. And yes, it did work somewhat.

Core exercises will help too. Pilates, or exercise ball are great for strengthening your core. Sit ups and crunches alone usually don't do the trick. For most this will not work the right ab muscles that will give your internals the necessary support to look flat.

You need exercises that will work the obliques, the upper and lowers abs, and some folks even need to work their back muscles. If the back is too weak and your back muscles are too short from not getting stretched properlyyou will have a sway back type posture and as result your stomach will appear to protrude.

Pilates is the best for long lean muscles and strengthening your back. Also some light weight lifting like military presses using a barbell with 20lb weights. Other things to do include; balancing on one leg at a time, floor swimming where you lie on your tummy with legs and arms lifted, side and back leg raises.

This is what I learned, and have done. I'm still on my way to getting my tummy back. I'm seeing results, but finding time to keep on top of it, is my big challenge...that and loose skin around my c-section site. Otherwise, I see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have a waistline, and my posture is much improved. I think anothe month, and I'll have success. I started the exercise about a month ago, but my last baby was 2 1/2 years ago! I did the girdle after delivery. So even if you don't get on it right away there is hope.

Now does anyone have tips for loose skin? %{

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S.W.

answers from Minneapolis on

First of all, don't be too hard on yourself. You probably notice it more than anyone else. Secondly, be patient. It sounds like you are doing the right things, and the most healthy thing to do is to let the weight loss happen gradually. As long as you keep trying, it should happen. I have a 12 month old, my body is not like it was before, but I notice some gradual changes and I am fine with that. The extra stress of expecting so much so fast is harder on your body than the little tummy.

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