After you give birth, it's not uncommon to have a post-baby belly. This is often caused by a few things, including an enlarged uterus – this will subside within approximately eight weeks – and the extra fat you gained while carrying your baby. With the right diet and lifestyle changes, you can say bye-bye to your baby belly bulge and turn fat into fabulous. Make sure you talk to your doctor before making any changes to your diet or exercise regimen, since every woman's body is different.
Push a stroller quickly, jog around the block or do similar moderate-intensity exercises for 30 minutes every day. Researchers from Duke University Medical Center studied people who exercised this way compared to those who didn't exercise. The study discovered that the exercisers specifically lost fat from around their stomach. In contrast, the people who didn't exercise experienced an increase in stomach fat of 9 percent over the course of only six months.
Increase your intake of protein at each meal, starting with your breakfast. A 2013 study in the "Obesity" research journal found that eating more protein — approximately 35 percent of your daily calorie intake — helps rev up your body's ability to burn fat, specifically reducing fat around your stomach. Examples of high-protein foods include eggs, beans and lean meats such as chicken and fish.
Eat three snacks every day, one snack between each of your major meals. For the best results, choose high-fiber snacks like whole grains and vegetables. A study by Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center researchers discovered that for every 10-g increase of daily fiber intake, dieters lost an extra 3.7 percent of belly fat. Additional benefits: fiber-rich foods help you feel full so you're less likely to eat junk food or overeat.
Exercise your transverse abdominal muscles. While you have several muscle groups in your stomach region, these specific abdominal muscles can help to tighten up the stretching of your stomach created by your pregnancy. Sit cross-legged on the floor with your back against a wall. Inhale deeply while simultaneously expanding your stomach and pushing it forward without moving your back. Then, suck in your stomach as far as you can while exhaling. Hold this position for 30 seconds, then repeat up to 10 times every day.
Try the side plank as an alternative workout. It works those crucial transverse abdominal muscles that battle baby belly bulge. It also targets your entire core while strengthening your spine — which is important, since your spine just spent nine months carrying a lot of extra weight. Lie on your left side with your legs together and your torso resting on your left forearm. Your leg and hip should be on the ground and everything else supported by your arm. While exhaling, tighten your abs and lift your entire body off the ground until just your arm and feet are on the ground and the rest of your body forms a straight line. Pause, then inhale and slowly lower yourself back down to the starting position.
End your day with post-partum yoga, available at many yoga studios or through at-home classes offered online or via DVDs. Yoga may help to tone and flatten your stomach, improve your mood, strengthen your body in areas that were weakened during your pregnancy — such as your pelvic floor — and fight off fatigue, which can be very important for tired moms. Because it's so relaxing, yoga also helps reduce cortisol levels in your body. This stress hormone causes your body to retain more abdominal fat, so de-stressing can help you slim down your torso.
- Baby Center: Your Post-Baby Belly
- Birth Australia: 5 Ways You Can Get Rid of That Mummy Tummy Now
- Doctor Oz: Lose the Baby Weight!
- Obesity Journal: Increased Protein Intake and Meal Frequency Reduces Abdominal Fat
- Fitness: Fiber - The New Fat Fighter
- ScienceDaily: Soluble Fiber Strikes a Blow to Belly Fat
- Parenting: Bye-Bye, Baby Belly
- American Council on Exercise: What Are Some Proven Exercises to Target My "Trouble Spots"
- American Council on Exercise: Side Plank with Bent Knee
- Harvard Medical School: Abdominal Fat and What to Do About It