There are a number of reasons that our bodies look and feel different after pregnancy - the weight gain, hormone fluctuation, fluid retention. We tend to focus on the weight gain, but there is another culprit to the after baby bulge that you may not have heard of. It’s not fixed by jogging, crunches or fad diets. So what is it?
The culprit of the bulge is called Diastasis Recti - a separation of the abdominal muscles that causes the lower abdomen to bulge out. During the second and third trimester of pregnancy, great force is placed upon the abdominal muscles. This force causes the muscles to actually separate right down the middle, creating an opening.
You can check yourself by laying flat on the floor on your back. Take two fingers and place them right above your belly button and lift your head up as if to look at your belly. If you can stick your fingers in between your abdominal muscles, congratulations - you have Diastasis Recti.
Unfortunately, no amount of slimming down will get rid of it unless you treat the Diastatis properly. Luckily there is a wonderful program created to treat Diastasis Recti as well as get the postpartum body back into shape and optimal health.
The Dia Method was created by certified personal trainer and pre and postnatal fitness expert, Leah Keller. It is designed to treat Diastasis Recti, strengthen your core for faster, easier labor, and slim and tone your entire body! Because it is designed for childbearing women, you can rest assured it is safe for you at this time in your life when you’re either trying to conceive, pregnant or recovering from pregnancy and even breastfeeding. The program combines exercise and meal plans to create a quick, achievable and effective healthy lifestyle to give you the strong body you deserve.
We asked Leah to talk to us a bit more about The Dia Method. Here’s what she had to say.
What inspired you to create the Dia Method?
I wanted to empower moms everywhere with the same information, tools and inspiration that have equipped my private clients in NYC to prepare for a faster, easier labor and reclaim their bodies post-pregnancy - no matter how long ago they had kids.
Had you tried other methods before creating your own?
The Dia Method arose out of intensive research combined with years of hands-on experience working with women of all body types. It's the only complete fitness system that addresses diastasis recti, the cause of the post-pregnancy pooch.
How important is it to do the diet plan along with the exercise plan?
After pregnancy, women enter a new hormonal landscape. Many of the signals set in motion during pregnancy do not shut off immediately after birth, including fat regulation hormones that increase mom's fat reserves to protect the developing fetus from a sudden famine. The Dia Method 3 Phase Fat Burn Plan precisely addresses the post-pregnancy hormonal context and educates moms on best nutritional choices to shed the lingering baby weight while deeply nourishing both mom and baby (safe even while breastfeeding). The Dia Method offers a real solution for women of all ages who are struggling to lose weight or frustrated with an undesirable distribution of fat. No matter how long ago you had kids, The Dia Method nutrition plan resets your metabolism to melt away the excess fat that accumulates in response to major hormonal shifts, including pregnancy as well as menopause.
Changing your eating habits is hard, especially when tired after having a baby. What advice do you have for success?
Plan ahead and prepare with appropriate groceries, meal plans, etc. (all provided in The Dia Method 3-Phase Fat Burn Plan). Then dive in with total commitment for 2 full weeks. By then, you will have made new habits and the rest will be easy. It's more about what you eat than how much you eat, and with The Dia Method nutrition plan you can watch the inches melt off without feeling hungry or deprived. Once you transition into fat metabolism, you will trade in the roller coaster of blood sugar ups and downs for the miracle of sustained energy - and as a new mom, that's golden.
How long will it take to see and feel results?
Many women report dramatic, measurable results in as little as 3 weeks. I suggest re-measuring at that point and then again every 3-5 weeks to track even more profound transformation. For many women, The Dia Method has transitioned from the initial goal of "bouncing back" into a healthy, fit lifestyle for both themselves and their families. In fact, a lot of my clients' husbands have lost weight as they tend to really like the nutrition plan.
Pregnancy can be so exhausting and it can be hard to get up and exercise. How important is it to push through that and stick to the Dia Method trough those tired times?
Studies consistently show that moderate exercise during pregnancy improves the health of both mom and baby - and it's proven to reduce active labor time by over 33%! The many benefits include easing pregnancy discomforts such as back pain, improved circulation, decreased swelling, avoiding "the waddle," decreasing your risk of gestational diabetes and improved stability to keep you safely on your feet. However, it is vital to listen to your body. If you feel drained and exhausted, choose a nap over a workout. It's all about finding the right balance between rest and healthy activity.
Aside from looking more fabulous, what benefits does sticking to the Dia method provide?
Beauty is an outward manifestation of internal health and well-being. The Dia Method reaps such wonderful aesthetic benefits because it equips women to effect real change from the inside out. The Dia Method builds strength and integrity in the deep abdominal and pelvic muscles, yielding better support for the back, improved functional movement in daily life (lower risk of injury), restored continence, and better sex. The efficient workouts provide just the right balance of total body toning with light cardio to sculpt long, lean muscles and promote excellent circulation both during and after pregnancy.
The Dia Method keeps expectant moms feeling their best as they avoid back pain, waddling and swelling. It strengthens women to enjoy a faster, easier labor and prepares them to bounce back fast.
For new moms, The Dia Method offers efficient, effective workouts to flatten and firm post-baby abs while toning up the entire body. The nutrition plan deeply nourishes both mom and baby (if breastfeeding) while responding to moms' unique hormonal context to safely and effectively shed the lingering baby weight. You will enjoy improved fitness and sustained energy - both vital to moms of all ages.
Can we have some of your best tips for long term success?
Maintaining optimal fitness requires a small but steady commitment. Each day, choose to treat your body with the respect and kindness it deserves. Start with a healthy breakfast that emphasizes protein and fat. Schedule your weekly workouts in advance and consider those appointments non-negotiable. To keep firm, flat abs for life remember to avoid abdominal strain: if any body position, movement or exercise forcefully bulges your abs forward, don't do it! Check in with yourself once a week to ensure you're staying on track: step on a scale or slide into your favorite pair of skinny jeans. Allow yourself two cheat meals each week so you never feel deprived. And most of all, choose to see these small acts of self-care as a joy - never as a chore or yet another item on your endless 'to do' list. Make loving yourself and your body a priority - it's one of the best gifts you can give yourself and your family.
For more on healthy living and fitness, visit our THRIVE category.
Source: MedLine Plus
Photo Credits: Lilac Saloon