The number one concern with most of my postpartum clients’ hands down, is that they’ve gained what we moms have collectively termed the ‘mom pooch’ or ‘mommy pooch’.

After giving birth, whether it be one year or 5 years, many women experience a common problem. It’s that stubborn lower excess belly fat that just won’t seem to go away no matter what you do. You’ve exercised, started eating better, and have upped your water intake, but to no avail you find yourself sucking it all in for the camera on “cheese”. Trust me, I’ve been there. 

Truth is, while doing all of the above habits is beneficial for your fitness goals and overall wellness, including the reduction of waist size, it’s just not quite enough. You must focus on looking at your wellness habits from different angles to target that extra abdominal weight and loose skin. 

Fortunately, there are ways to reduce this pooch and get your mid-section stronger and healthier. In this article, I’ll share some effective tips to help you lose that mom pooch for the long term. 

Woman on exercise bike in living room.

1. Exercise Regularly

The first step to reducing your mom pooch is to exercise regularly. You don’t need to hit the gym every day, but you should aim to get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week.

Also, if you feel like you can skip all the hard work and spot-reduce, think again. Unfortunately, you can’t choose where your body decides to lose fat first. So only focusing on sit-ups, and planks won’t be enough to target that lower belly fat. 

Instead add high-intensity workouts into your training routine like HIIT cardio, weightlifting, or kickboxing to elevate your heart rate and increase your metabolism. Doing so will increase the number of calories being burned at rest, which means your body is working to reduce those fat cells in your body, including those surrounding the gut.

2. Add Strength Training to Your Routine

Including strength training in your routine will do wonders for that stubborn fat around your midsection.

Strength training is a high-intensity workout that can stimulate the release of growth hormones and other fat-burning hormones. These hormonal responses can promote greater fat oxidation and metabolic activity, which may lead to increased belly fat loss. In other words, incorporating strength training into your wellness habits will turn your body into a fat-burning machine. 

You can maximize the effectiveness of strength training for belly fat reduction by including compound exercises in your routine. Exercises like squats, lunges, pushups, or engaging in multiple muscle groups simultaneously, will result in greater calorie burn and muscle activation.

Fats and protein food sources to reduce mom pooch.

3. Eat a Healthy Diet High in Fats & Protein

What you eat is equally important to your exercise routine. And although you might have improved your eating habits, you may need to focus more on eating the foods that will both speed up your metabolism and decrease the symptoms of bloating. 

Focus on eating a healthy, balanced diet that’s rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats. These can help you feel full for longer and fats can help regulate hormones which can affect fat storage. This study shows how the role of lean proteins supports fat loss.

Avoid processed foods, sugary snacks, and alcohol, as these can all contribute to weight gain and make it harder to lose that mom pooch.

4. Improve Your Gut Health

Improving your gut health to help reduce the mom pooch is something that can benefit your overall health in several ways. It can contribute to overall weight loss and well-being, both mental and physical, which may help reduce belly fat. 

A healthy gut microbiome is important for proper digestion and absorption of nutrients from the food you eat. When your body efficiently absorbs essential nutrients, it can function optimally, potentially improving your overall health and supporting weight loss.

Eat foods that contribute to a healthy microbiome. Foods like yogurt, kefir, kombucha, and kimchi will help ward off sugar cravings, decrease bloating, and balance gut hormones. These are symptoms that may be causing that mom pooch to hang on. 

Black woman well rested and happy.

5. Get Enough Sleep & Reduce Stress

Lack of sleep paired with chronic stress is not only a recipe for disaster for your overall health but will make it that much harder to get rid of that mom pooch, thanks to the hormone called ‘cortisol’. 

Produced by the adrenal glands in response to stress, cortisol is necessary for various bodily functions. Chronic or prolonged elevation of cortisol levels can impact weight gain and the accumulation of belly fat.

When you’re well-rested, you may be better equipped to manage stress, make healthier food choices, and engage in regular physical activity, all of which can contribute to overall weight loss and a reduction in belly fat.

Embrace the Recovery Process

It’s not about having a flat tummy, but more about prioritizing healthy wellness habits. Follow these habits and you’ll be well on your way to losing that pooch. 

Remember, it’s essential to be kind to yourself and embrace your body’s journey through pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood. It’s normal for the body to change as we go through these different stages. With time and effort, you can work towards your goals while maintaining a healthy and positive mindset.

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