Ways to Address Your Tummy

When I was pregnant, I loved my big Buddha belly. It was 1 of the only times in my life when I actually liked my midsection. Knowing that I was growing something, creating this little miracle, gave me a new appreciation for my body — despite its growing size.

Post-baby, however, was a different story. My cute little basketball bump turned into a deflated balloon. I had sagging skin, stretch marks, bulges, and rolls I’d never seen before. Breastfeeding helped (a lot), but my tummy never quite returned to its former glory.

If you’re a mom, you can relate. Pregnancy and childbirth change our bodies in ways we can’t control — especially our tummies. But there is hope. Depending on your specific concerns, you can likely see improvements from 1 or more of the following:

1. Old-Fashioned Exercise

Crunches, sit-ups, planks — you know the drill. If you avoided ab workouts before your baby, now is the time to make friends with your yoga mat. Good old abdominal exercises can tighten and firm your muscles after they have been stretched by pregnancy. However, don’t rely on crunches alone. According to an article on fitpregnancy.com, working only the outer abdominal muscles (like sit-ups do) can actually make your pooch worse. They recommend incorporating these 5 workouts into your rotation, as well.

2. CoolSculpting®

By now you’ve probably heard of CoolSculpting. It’s a nonsurgical fat reduction treatment that eliminates unwanted fat on the tummy, thighs, arms, and back by using cold temperatures to freeze fat cells. The procedure is typically quick (about 1 hour per treatment), relatively painless, and requires no downtime. And yes, it actually works.

However, according to the website of Plastic Surgery Northwest, a plastic surgery practice offering CoolSculpting, it’s important to understand that CoolSculpting is not a weight-loss procedure. You should be in relatively good shape and should have a “pinchable” amount of fat to remove. And don’t expect to shed pounds after your session. Each treatment reduces fat by about 20–25%. So, you should notice that you look and feel slimmer and your clothes feel looser, but don’t be surprised if the scale doesn’t budge.

3. Tummy Tuck

This is obviously the costliest of your tummy-trimming options, but it’s also the most effective. A tummy tuck is a surgical procedure that removes excess skin and fat that exercise and CoolSculpting can’t. It also tightens the underlying abdominal muscles, which is important for moms with diastasis recti — a condition related to pregnancy in which the muscles stretch and separate (spoiler alert: fixing diastasis recti almost always requires surgery).

Tummy tuck surgery is also customizable and can be tailored to remove large amounts of skin and fat, or just provide minor tightening. Plastic Surgery Northwest offers their tummy tuck patients in Spokane 4 different types of surgery, depending on the level of correction needed.

Remember, there’s no 1 right way to get your tummy back. You may have to try a combination of different approaches to see the results you want. It takes some time, commitment, and in some cases, financial preparation, but nothing feels better than feeling like your old self again.

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