Wondering how to lose belly fat after the birth?
Losing belly fat after having a baby is often a top priority for new mamas, but results can be harder than expected.
Even pre-pregnancy, abdominal fat is known to be stubborn, hard to lose and easy to gain when our diets slip.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t get any easier afterwards!
The reason losing belly fat can be so frustrating is because the belly is one of the natural ‘storehouses’ of fat in the human body.
Whenever we eat too much processed or sugary foods, or don’t do enough exercise, rest assured, new fat cells are building around your midsection.
How to lose belly fat after giving birth
If you want to get rid of belly fat after having a baby, don’t despair!
You CAN be on the way back to your pre-baby body in no time.
Follow our quick-start guide on how to lose belly fat after giving birth, and the results will speak for themselves.
There are two types of belly fat
Most people don’t know there are actually two different types of belly fat – subcutaneous belly fat and visceral belly fat.
Subcutaneous fat is the ‘skin deep’ layer of stomach fat we can see, and is what we’re referring to when we moan about our weight!
Visceral fat, on the other hand, is the fat that builds and wraps around your internal organs.
Neither are particularly healthy, and in order to achieve a toned post-pregnancy belly, we will have to lose some of both.
What causes belly fat?
Many new mamas blame their belly fat on their recent pregnancy.
But there are a range of different reasons for the padding around your midsection.
Surprisingly, not all of them have to do with exercise.
Let’s take a look at them:
Some people are naturally predisposed to carry more fat in the belly region than others.
Often this is due to traits passed down by parents.
Or it could be from underlying chemical processes that are just part of who you are, and how your body functions optimally.
This is why body confidence and being comfortable in your own skin is key!
Hormone levels and stress
Hormones are the underlying catalyst for so many changes and processes in the body.
Certain hormones have a huge effect on weight gain and fat storage.
For women in particular, fluctuating levels of oestrogen during pregnancy can cause significant fat gain on the belly and thighs.
This is due to the body preparing itself for breastfeeding, and to ensure the baby is safe during pregnancy.
There is also a direct link between being constantly stressed and storing high levels of fat in the belly area.
This is due to the stress-release hormone, cortisol.
Cortisol is elevated during high pressure situations, and causes the body to ‘lock down’ what it has, in a sort of ‘built-in panic mode’.
Managing cortisol through meditation and mindfulness techniques can help with this.
If you find it difficult to practise meditation and mindfulness at home, floating in a sensory deprivation tank can be a blissful way to de-stress.
Poor diet choices
Most of the time our body fat levels are determined in the kitchen.
When we have poor eating habits, such as eating too many refined carbohydrates or too much sugar, our bodies struggle to adapt.
They end up storing fat as default.
Drinking too much coffee can also ramp up cortisol levels.
This makes it much more difficult to lose the fat we have gained during pregnancy.
So, what’s the best belly fat burning diet out there?
It’s a diet where you create a habit of healthy eating (with only real, whole foods), and weaken any emotional dependency you may have on unhealthy snacks.
An issue that can arise during pregnancy is a separation of the abdominal muscles, down the middle of the stomach.
Abdominal separation happens in over two-thirds of pregnancies.
If you’re an older mother, it’s even more likely to occur, leaving a bulge in your midline.
General stomach exercises such as crunches and planks can actually make it worse!
The best solution is to learn how to use your pelvic floor and transverse abdominals when you move.
Learning to engage this deep layer of abdominal muscle can help your posture, help support your baby, and reduce the risk of muscle separation during pregnancy.
How to lose belly fat fast
Now we know where the fat has come from, it’s time to do something about it!
Using the tips below you can lose belly fat quickly, safely and without many of the issues that arise with low-nutrition diets and exercise fads.
Build Healthy Eating Habits
Most of what we eat is instinctual and based on how much time we have available.
As a new mama, it can be too easy to pick up the unhealthy option, because we need to focus on our newborn.
But this is a big mistake.
Eating nutritious whole foods will allow you to become the best person you can be, with more energy, and with fewer health issues.
Ultimately, eating well will allow you to be a better mother, who can play with her kids as they grow up and start to explore.
What’s the first thing i should do to lose belly fat after giving birth?
The very first thing you should do to lose belly fat fast is:
How to lose belly fat #1: Drastically reduce your sugar intake
This tip alone will make a lot of belly fat drop off!
Start to introduce more natural, protein-rich food sources and vegetables that will fuel you and keep you satiated for longer.
Other important steps are below.
How to lose belly fat #2: Significantly reduce or eliminate alcohol
Many alcoholic drinks are full of sugar and artificial sweeteners, which make them unhealthy from the beginning.
However, alcohol itself is harmful, in that it can mess with our hormone levels and cause the body to prioritise fat storage.
On top of this, alcohol lowers your inhibitions.
As a result, you’ll be far more likely to reach for a bag of cookies or call for a takeaway pizza.
It’s important to reduce or eliminate alcohol in all situations.
How to lose belly fat #3: Breastfeed if you can
One ‘quick fix’ for new mums is breastfeeding their new baby.
The act of breastfeeding helps the uterus to return to its normal size, reducing any unsightly bulges and returning your stomach to a more familiar size.
How to lose belly fat #4: High-intensity circuits
Although diet is the single biggest contributing factor to body fat levels over time, exercise cannot be overlooked.
This specific form of exercise is ideal for the time poor new mothers out there.
High-intensity circuits that work the entire body and major muscle groups are a great way to rev your metabolic engine, and increase your muscle tone.
As your fitness improves, and in conjunction with a good diet, belly fat will melt off.
How to lose belly fat #5: Train with weights
The more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn when you’re just going about your day.
That’s why it’s important to build lean mass via resistance training.
Many women refuse to lift weights, because they’re afraid of getting ‘bulky’.
But this perceived effect couldn’t be further from the truth.
Instead, following a structured resistance program will allow you to:
- Rapidly change your body composition
- Strengthen your core (which can help with any post-pregnancy back pain)
- Burn fat.
After six to eight weeks the results will speak for themselves!
How to lose belly fat #6: Staying hydrated
One of the most overlooked points for weight loss is adequate hydration.
Around 55-70% of our bodies are made up of water, so any loss in fluid can have serious consequences.
These include impaired concentration, loss of strength and general fatigue, making daily activities far more difficult than they need to be.
Too often we go through our day in a blur of fizzy drinks and caffeine, leaving us dehydrated.
By simply swapping out the majority of your hot drinks for water during the day you can avoid the ‘crash’ and stay energetic for longer.
Read BellyBelly’s article about the benefits of electrolytes during pregnancy and post-natally.
How to lose belly fat #7: Reduce caffeine intake
It’s all too easy to fall into the ‘caffeine trap’ as a new mother.
You end up borrowing energy from coffee, tea and energy drinks, to make up for your lack of sleep or busy schedule.
If there’s sugar in your caffeinated beverage, it’s a doubly whammy.
Whilst this may ‘work’ in the short-term and give you a brief boost, you may actually be doing more harm than good.
Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it strips your body of fluid and actually makes you more dehydrated.
Over time this will cause energy crashes, greater cortisol levels and potential irritability.
Avoid having another espresso if you want to stay on top of your game.
Maintaining motivation levels to lose belly fat
You might be feeling really motivated right now.
But in order to lose belly fat, the only way you’ll get results in the long-term is to turn your fitness interest into a habit.
That means building the discipline to exercise regularly and to eat the right foods when you need them, rather than reaching for the easy option.
This isn’t an easy thing to do.
But with the right support and goals in place, you can make fitness a lifestyle priority within two months.
Then the sky is the limit for you and your new family!