I was recently watching a documentary about body image in women and was completely mortified by the language women used to describe their bodies. Can you believe the word most commonly used when asked to describe your own body was

DIGUSTING ‼️

Arghhh…. this makes me so sad!!

Body satisfaction is strongly linked to depression in women.

Body dissatisfaction is common for many of us after giving birth. Abdominal separation and weakness (hello #mummytummy ) is one of the many things that can leave us feeling depressed about our post baby body🤰🏼 and many women tell me years later that they still feel unhappy about their tummy.

Our beautiful pregnant bellies get stretched beyond all recognition, sometimes leaving us with stretch marks, abdominal weakness and separation (Diastasis of the Rectus Abdominis Muscles) 😩

While a small percentage of abdominal separations require surgical repair, the good news is that most resolve within the first 6-8 weeks post birth 🙌🏽

Most of us simply need an individualised, abdominal strength training program that firstly establishes coordination and management of intra-abdominal pressure, followed by progressive overload in multi-directional planes to build strength and manage load transfer 💪🏾

Too often I see women who have been told “you can’t do planks or crunches” out of fear of damaging their abdominal separation.

Rest assured, this is NOT evidence based practice 🤓 despite how many Insta-celebs or google searches try to tell you this. This scare based tactic leads to fear avoidance of exercise, furthering feelings of depression, body dissatisfaction, and an “I’m broken” narrative while doing nothing to improve the function or aesthetics of your #mumtum

A few quick points before we get into it
1/ Yes, you can get your abs back.
2/ Most of us will have stretched skin, some of us will have stretch marks and a very small percentage will be left with unresolved abdominal separations or hernias that may require surgery.
3/ You need to be realistic with your goals and timeframes, especially if you didn’t have strong and defined abs before you were pregnant.
4/ It will take longer if you’ve had an abdominal muscle separation.
5/ If six pack abs are your goal, it will take longer again!! It takes hard work, dedication to training, and consistency and commitment to clean eating. It is also difficult to maintain and personally, I don’t believe it makes you any happier!!

Have you always struggled to get a flat lower tummy?

This is one of the most common complaints I hear in my clinic.

The first step after giving birth is learning how to coordinate and synergistically activate your ‘core’ (the pelvic floor, diaphragm, transverses abdominis {TA} and lumbar multifidus). Your TA is shaped like a belt around your lower abdomen. Learning to effectively brace your TA will have a corset effect on your waist line, drawing it inward and fattening your lower abdomen. When re-training your abs after birth you need to train your abs from the inside layer out. Train smarter, not harder!

Here is a perfect example. This Yummy Mummy has always had strong rectus abdominis muscles, 6 pack abs. She is now 9 weeks post birth & learning to retrain her abs. Notice how her abs bulge forward with poor technique and then flatten with good muscle recruitment patterns!! Learning how to use your abs (and pelvic floor) safely during pregnancy is a must!!
She commented “wow, is that why, even when I had a 6 pack, I could never get my lower abs flat?!”

Some women will experience a DRAM, diastasis (separation) of the rectus abdominis muscles (six pack muscles) during pregnancy. This is a stretch of the vertical connective tissue, the linea alba, that separates the rectus abdominis muscles. Here is a picture of a pregnant Yummy Mummy with a DRAM. You can see her uterus pushing forward into the stretched linea alba, DRAM, as she lifts her head up off the table, creating a coning or doming effect.

Abdominal compression garments have been shown to be effective in the first 6-8 weeks post birth to encourage resolution of a diastasis. After your 6 week postnatal check up, an individualised progressive strength training program is essential.

Body satisfaction and aesthetics is just as equally as function and proven to be vital for the mental wellness of Mums. Lets work together to improve not only the physical function of your body, but the look of your body so you feel happy in your own skin.

Remember though, while body satisfaction is important, deep contentment and freedom comes from looking within and finding unconditional self love. You MUST do the mental and emotional self healing work too 🙏🏽

We MUST stop talking unlovingly about ourselves. It’s BS!!, and I won’t allow women to talk unlovingly about their bodies in my company.

Remember, every thought we have carries an emotional charge which directly impacts our physiology. We can up-regulate and down-regulate proteins on the receptors sites on our DNA by thought alone, making us sick and creating disease. Yep, or thoughts can literally make us sick!

So what are you saying about your body?

Work on changing your self narrative, which will change the neural connections in your brain. Notice the effects on your physiology, energy and mood.

GAME CHANGER 💫

My wish is for ALL women to love the s%$t out of themselves