This time two years ago, I decided to do something about my stomach. It had been five years since I had given birth to twins and whilst I had lost my pregnancy weight, my stomach resolutely refused to flatten and was rather jelly-like. I had been doing some pilates and my teacher told me that I had diastasis recti, the gap that occurs when the muscle ‘belt’ around your middle doesn’t knit back after pregnancy or sports. (If you’re unsure about what this is or if you have it, follow these guidelines on how to do a test here). After some research online, I came across Every Mother which recommended around 10 to 20 minutes of specific exercises to help with pelvic floor and diastasis recti problems. ’10 minutes a day’, I thought, I can do that. Every Mother is separated into three different parts – before pregnancy, up to 6 weeks after birth and then anytime in the years following. You fill in a questionnaire which helps you find the right programme for you. I did the EM Body Reclaim programme for 3 months. (Note: this is an American programme; there are others out there but I liked the fact that it was proven to work. If you want to feel inspired, just read the Stories section).
And so for around 10 to 20 minutes every night before bed, I did the exercises which involves two intakes of breath whilst pulling up your pelvic floor at the same time. The exercises were varied enough so it didn’t get too boring and I even found it rather calming, spending those dedicated minutes concentrating on nothing but counting and breathing guided by the app on my phone.
Around the same time, I started doing more exercise (around 3-4 times a week of swimming and aerobic exercise) and after 3 months, I really did feel full of energy, my skin glowed and I was astonished to find that I had lost 4 inches around my waist (the programme prompts you to enter in your details as you go along so you can see your progress but I didn’t bother so was rather surprised by the end results).
Two years later, my stomach isn’t what it was (especially after Christmas eating cookies and Quality Street) but it feels like it has a memory that wasn’t there before and I know that as I take up my exercise regime again, it will go back. Maybe not what it was exactly before I gave birth but considerably closer than it was.