Childbirth, despite being the miracle that it is, certainly leaves its mark on your body. Perhaps the most noticeable mark is in the appearance of your stomach. How to get rid of belly fat after childbirth is a question asked by a large majority of new mothers. Sometimes, even months after giving birth, it can look as if you are back in the early stages of your pregnancy again; loose skin, stretch marks, and weakened abdominal muscles are all responsible.
While it may take some time, there are definitely some things you can do to help regain your previous body shape or even improve upon it. This article will give you 4 tips you can use to flatten your post-childbirth belly. Be sure to take it slow and check with your doctor before starting any kind of new exercise regimen, particularly if you had a C-section.
1. Begin Some Cardiovascular Exercise
Performing cardio exercise is a great way to burn extra calories and it can be done in a variety of different ways. Walking, jogging with the baby in the stroller, swimming and cycling are all excellent forms of cardio that you can adjust to suit your current fitness level. Like I mentioned earlier, be sure to start slow and build up as you get fitter. Beginning with a 20-30-minute walk each day can be very effective. Once your fitness levels have increased, you can incorporate some interval style training to take your calorie burn to the next level.
A simple interval plan to begin with, would be to pick any of the exercises above and use a 20-second workout period followed by a 40-second rest. The workout periods should be fast sprints and the rest periods should be complete rests. Performing this routine for 10 total rounds takes a maximum of 10 minutes and is a very effective way to burn fat.
2. Strengthen Your Core
A big reason for the hanging belly that is left after giving birth is your stomach muscles being very weak. They are stretched rapidly as the baby grows, which weakens them considerably and makes it harder for them to keep your stomach pulled in. Performing core strengthening exercises daily will help them to regain their strength, giving your stomach a flatter appearance and improving your posture.
It is important to know that these exercises aren’t used for directly burning the fat on your stomach. A common misconception is that you can target fat in a specific area by working that area more. This isn’t possible, you will lose fat all over and it will come off of your stomach when it is ready to.
Your genetics play a large role in determining where you store and burn fat, so you will need to just be patient and trust that you will lose the belly fat eventually. The core exercises are there to keep your stomach tighter and help your posture, both of which will make your stomach look smaller and firmer. There are many muscles that make up your core and they should all be worked to prevent imbalances.
A routine of crunches, leg raises, Russian twists, Hip bridges and plank variations will work all of your major core muscles. You can perform these exercise in a circuit fashion for 10-15 reps each and work up to being able to perform 5 total circuits. Take around a minute of rest between rounds.
3. Eat a Nutritious and Calorie Controlled Diet
This is where the fat burning really happens. Your dietary intake is the single biggest factor in determining whether you lose, gain or maintain your current levels of body fat. In short, to lose weight, you must be burning more calories than you are eating each day. Exercise helps with the calorie burning part but you need to keep the number of calories that you consume under control.
There are several different diet plans and regimes. It doesn’t really matter which one you choose; what matters is that you are eating fewer calories than your body needs each day. The most sensible way to keep your calories under control is to focus on eating natural, unprocessed foods or “whole foods”. A whole foods diet will be naturally lower in calories while still keeping you full.
As an added bonus, the extra vitamins and minerals from eating a variety of whole foods can help tighten your skin and improve stretch mark appearance.
Plan your meals around natural protein sources like meat or fish and mostly green vegetables. A good rule to keep you on track is to ask yourself “has this food been killed or grown”. If the answer is yes, provided it hasn’t had any other ingredients added to it, then it is probably a good choice for your diet.
This one may already be a given for you or it may be completely out of the question. Either way, breastfeeding should definitely be considered. Not only for the potential baby-health benefits but for the extra calories you can burn. In order for your body to constantly reproduce enough milk, it requires energy.
Breastfeeding can actually burn up to an extra 500 calories each day. If your diet is in check, that could add a very welcome boost to your fat burning efforts.
Final Words: Be Patient
This isn’t so much of a tip or tactic, it is some parting advice for you. Getting in shape after childbirth can be a frustrating endeavor. At times, you are going to feel like you aren’t making any progress. You must be patient and trust the process. If you are doing all of the right things by using the tips above, the results will come. If it helps, take regular pictures so that you can look back and visually see the progress that might not be as noticeable in the mirror or on the scale.
The main thing is to stick with it long term, don’t worry if you have a bad day here and there. Ensure that you are adhering to the tips outlined here for the majority of the time and you will get to your goal.