Why is my belly so pootchy?
April 24, 2011 11:04 PM   Subscribe

Suggestions for reducing a pootchy far-post-pregnancy belly?

My belly never really recovered from two pregnancies, the last in summer 2008. I got pretty gargantuan from the pregnancies, and my belly is still pretty pootchy.

I'm looking for suggestions for ways to reduce the pootch. I still have some (about 2 fingers) abdominal separation, and I'm a little worried about doing crunches, because I have read (on some random internet site) that they can exacerbate the problem if there is abdominal separation. So I was hoping other random internet folks could help.

For what it's worth, I'm 5' and 95 lbs or so (maybe a little less). I walk or bike about a mile and a half to work three days a week, but other than that I don't get much regular exercise, and I eat ok, but not fantastic. But I don't think my belly's fat, just pootchy.
posted by leahwrenn to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Exercising an area does not necessarily remove fat from that area. It will, obviously, create more toned muscle under the fat, which is good and helps a bit, but you're not going to burn more belly fat by doing crunches than you are by, say, doing pull-ups.
posted by toomuchpete at 11:35 PM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Am I understanding correctly, you're not asking about the fat, but instead about the muscle separation?

There are breathing exercises to strengthen the abdomen, try YouTube searching "breathing abdominal strength."

Otherwise, see a personal trainer for an hour long session?
posted by bilabial at 2:44 AM on April 25, 2011

Oh. But alsO?

This pootchiness is a normal feature of many (most?) post pregnancy bodies. You might need to find a way to embrace it, because this may not be solved by exercise.
posted by bilabial at 2:46 AM on April 25, 2011

I have a couple friends who had abdominal separation issues who swear by Lose Your Mummy Tummy. I can't speak to its efficacy personally, but I did flip through a friend's copy and the exercises are detailed and easy to follow and the tone of it is upbeat and "you can do it!" (And it was nice to see a book geared towards imperfect post-pregnancy bodies rather than "you can be a model again in 30 days!" nonsense.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 3:13 AM on April 25, 2011

I found my three-year old post-pregnancy pooch went away when I dialled down the carbs substantially. Also, I did jackknife crunches on the exercise ball morning and evening, at the recommendation of my PT, nothing much, just till it hurt. I really didn't think it was possible to get a flat belly again, but I managed.
posted by Dragonness at 7:14 AM on April 25, 2011 [2 favorites]

The PT I was referring to was a physical therapist, not personal trainer.
posted by Dragonness at 7:17 AM on April 25, 2011

First, understand that spot reduction is a myth - that is, unfortunately:

Overall body fat must be reduced to lose fat in any particular area. Although fat is lost or gained throughout the body it seems the first area to get fat, or the last area to become lean, is the midsection (in men and some women, especially after menopause) and hips and thighs (in women and few men). Sit-ups, crunches, leg-hip raises, leg raises, hip adduction, hip abduction, etc. will only exercise the muscles under the fat.

Next: crunches and planks will help build the abdominal muscles. This means that, as overall fat decreases, your belly muscles will become apparent faster, and you will benefit from overall improved strength in your belly - who doesn't need that?

Finally, the excess skin is the hardest part to deal with. Skin sag can in time reduce, but it also slowly loses this ability as we age. Many of us are together in this sentiment: BOOO! And, surgery can remove excess skin.

Please see a qualified trainer or physical therapist if you feel your abdominal separation might affect your ability to pursue any plan of exercise.
posted by IAmBroom at 8:43 AM on April 25, 2011

Response by poster: Yeah, I'm mostly looking for exercise recommendations. I don't think the issue is fat. Thanks for the suggestions so far.
posted by leahwrenn at 8:55 AM on April 25, 2011

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