Your last baby really did a number on your belly. Despite your best efforts to exercise, it feels like nothing is working. Your closet is filled with maternity clothes and matronly looking outfits. So when you go out, you either look like you’re still pregnant or dressed like a conservative, heavy-set older woman.
You wonder, “WTF happened to me?” Even though you think that you still look pregnant what hurts more is being asked, “When are you due?” You feel defeated, you just want to fit into sexy clothes and feel confident and beautiful again - ugh!
Hey, I’ve been there, too, and I’ve figured out how to get it off. Now I’m sharing everything that I’ve learned so that you can get rid of your belly too.
I’m a Core Specialist that helps moms who have had two or more babies and are struggling to lose their belly. They're embarrassed because they still look pregnant, pee a little when they laugh, cough, or sneeze, and hide under baggy clothes. I help them strengthen their core so they can lose the belly and feel like one Hot Mama.
My fitness journey begins
As a young girl, my first fitness inspiration was my mother. I grew up watching her struggle with her belly. She introduced me to exercise and dieting. So from a young age, I was already self-aware and interested in fitness. I guess I have my mother to thank for introducing me to the idea that being fit was important.
I was “Skinny Fat”
Throughout my teens up to my late 20s, I must have tried and followed every fad diet and workout program that was sold on late night TV. I wasn’t overweight, I was what you called, “Skinny Fat”, defined as someone who’s thin, looks great in clothes, but is all flabby underneath. Up until my late 20s, I got away with it until I began having children.
The decade I spent making and raising babies was a true test of my mental strength.
I spent my 30s pregnant and/or raising babies. I have three beautiful daughters. They were born 3.5 years apart. I looked incredible while I was pregnant. I was all belly. I had that pregnancy glow, luminous skin, thick shiny hair. I LOVED being pregnant.
I felt beautiful and for the first time, I didn’t obsess about getting abs. The baby filled in my belly, it was big, round and beautiful. I was prepared for pregnancy, I read the book, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” a million times and attended pre-natal yoga classes.
But, I wasn’t prepared for what to do after birth and how to put my body back together. I was told to expect to gain at least 10 pounds per child and that the weight would be difficult to get rid of.
The baby wasn’t even born yet and I was already anxious about losing the weight. There was lack of effective information, instead of fixing my belly I made it worse with each child.
The journey to getting my Mummy Tummy.
Unlike Instagram Moms, I didn’t bounce back immediately after childbirth. From my first pregnancy, I struggled to shrink my waistline. Before having babies, I had a 25” waist so imagine how frustrated I was at the fact that I now had a huge muffin top.
People can say mean things, I felt pressured to get it off before my baby’s first birthday.
After each pregnancy, the pressure was on to lose the belly. If you have babies, you know exactly what I’m talking about. It seems like society does comprehend that it’s ok if you don’t lose the weight within the first 8-12 weeks following birth. But by the time the baby is four months old, the pressure is on.
People greet you with a fake smile and say, “Oh wow, you don’t even look like you had a baby,” followed by the whispers behind your back, about how much you’ve gained and how tired you look. OMG, let’s give moms a break, they haven’t slept in months and they’re expected to train like an athlete by others who can’t even workout regularly?
Birth is trauma to the body! Maybe your insides feel like they came out. You wouldn’t expect someone who got mangled in a car accident to fully recover without professional help. You shouldn’t feel like you need to figure it out on your own, let alone do it fast!
I remember pushing myself to begin working out the minute I got home from my 6-week check-up. I’ve tried it all including: the latest DVD’s promising a tight defined body in 90 days, the latest fad diets and cleanses that promised to reduce the bloat and make you thin.
In fact, the last unsuccessful fitness program I tried, to lose my belly, was a crazy bootcamp that even athletes struggled to complete, and a diet comprised of meal replacement bars and shakes; I wasn’t even eating real food anymore. What was it going to take to lose my belly? Nothing was working and I was desperate to get it all off by the baby’s first birthday so I could look like a Hot Mama.
I mastered how to dress to conceal my “Mummy Tummy.”
Nothing I put on looked good. At my eldest daughter’s 1st birthday, I wore a diagonally striped ruched top that disguised my belly. At my 2nd daughter’s birthday I wore skinny jeans, but I had to use a maternity band and elastic tab to hold the top of my jeans shut. If I closed the jeans with the buttons alone, it wouldn’t go over my muffin top and would sit underneath my belly. At my 3rd daughter’s birthday, I wore a strapless summer dress with an umpire waist line that flared out a little so it concealed my belly.
I couldn’t get rid of it, so instead, I mastered how to dress to hide a Mummy Tummy. I spent 10 years hiding in loose clothes and hiding behind my kids in photos. Does this sound familiar?
I dreaded being asked, “Are you pregnant again?”
I’ll never forget my first day back to work after being on maternity leave with my second child. A colleague welcomed me back, and said, “You just got back, are you pregnant again?” OMG, who says that?! I felt livid and frustrated and wanted to kick the shit out of him. But it was an honest question. After all, I knew that I still looked pregnant. Deep down, I felt defeated. That person had no idea how hard I tried to fix my belly before I came back to work.
The day my doctor told me that surgery
was the only option.
I had my youngest at the age of 38, she was only a month old at the time. I was getting up from lying in bed and noticed a huge gap between my abdominal muscles. It was so wide that I could fit my fist down the entire length of my abdomen from my ribs all the way down to my pelvis. I freaked out when I discussed it with my doctor during my 6 week check-up. I asked, what exercises can I do to close the gap?
I was told, “Nothing really, try kegels. If that doesn’t work when you’re done having babies, I can refer you to a plastic surgeon for a tummy tuck.” 🙁 Um, I’m not getting major surgery to fix this! My heart sank and I thought, “Seriously, there has to be a natural way.”
Everyone sensationalizes how awesome pregnancy is, but no one tells you how to fully recover from birth. Excuse the term, but it’s a complete mind fuck to figure out how to recover and regain strength after birth. In fact, there is very little information from doctors about correcting Diastasis Recti after pregnancy. WTF, I felt damaged and helpless.
The Big 40 was when I decided enough was enough.
Life happened and like most mothers, I focused on everyone else’s needs and let myself go. As I crept towards my 40th birthday, my annual check-up revealed a slew of medical problems. Considering the excess weight was on my core, near my organs, my doctor wanted me to lose the weight. Otherwise, I’d have to go on medication to control high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, and other things caused by poor lifestyle choices. That was my wake up call. I had to get my belly off.
I decided to hire a Fitness Coach/Holistic Nutritionist to help me make serious lifestyle changes. I was done wasting time. DVD’s, Bootcamps and fad diets were not working for me. I needed accountability and a proven plan. That was the first time I made myself a priority and invested in myself. I’m worth it and I felt that my kids needed a mother who was active in their lives, not one that just sat on the sidelines.
What it took to lose the weight.
It wasn’t easy to lose the weight. In fact, next to raising babies, it was THE hardest thing I have ever done, but the most rewarding. It was a challenging process of changing habits, learning how to eat right, portion control, and implementing a regular workout routine. I was determined and motivated. I began training 5 days a week at a gym. My coach taught me step-by-step how to lose the fat and change my negative “can’t do” mindset.
I did this while raising three kids under the age of 9, working full-time, cooking, cleaning, and everything that goes along with being a mother. For the first time, I saw progress and I debunked the belief that I could never get abs. I had a weak core and I was obsessed with seeing abs. It wasn’t enough to get rid of the muffin top.
I wanted abs.
I took it one step further and signed up to compete at a Bikini Bodybuilding Competition. I’ll admit it was extreme, but it guaranteed getting abs. To compete, I had to drop my body fat to 14%, I almost lost my period. It meant increasing my training to 6 days a week and a sticking to my diet. It was also the first time I was going to wear a two-piece bikini EVER. I was motivated to reach my goal. Leaning out to this extent, was a serious test on my mental strength to stick my program. But hard work paid off. I placed Top 3 in Bikini Masters!
I was 42 and was on a high, an endorphin kind of high (lol). Since that day, I wanted to help other women feel the way I felt: strong, beautiful, and confident. So after spending 20 years as an Account Executive helping companies get rich, I switched gears, to help others live their best life. Shortly after my competition, I became a Certified Personal Trainer and Manager at a gym (one of Canada's largest fitness centres).
Training to that extreme wasn’t enough.
After training like an athlete, you would think that was enough to get into the best shape of my life. What people didn’t know was that I was wearing a liner during my Bikini Competition because I was afraid of having an “accident”. What a contrast! I was in the best shape of my life on the outside, but my insides were still a mess from having babies.
Remember my gap? I thought it was closed. But while I was attending a certification course, I discovered that I still had Diastasis Recti and my Linea Alba was as thin as paper. I also found out that peeing by accident was a condition called Urinary Incontinence. Holy crap, there was a name for it!
It all started coming together and I was furious to find out that I had been suffering for 10 years AND that it could be fixed naturally through a specific protocol of exercises! O.M.G. (mic drop). How come this is the first time that I’m hearing about this? Where were these people after I had my babies? I had help with breastfeeding, where were these core specialists when I needed them? I wasn’t just frustrated, I was furious. I literally dropped my jaw, raised my hand, and said, “Are you fucking kidding me, I wanna see how?” - lol yep, let’s just say, all the course instructors will never forget me.
My Passion for fitness turned into a passion to educate and help others live their best life.
I left that course in disbelief. I thought the instructors are a load of crock. It couldn’t be that simple to fix! I’ve been wearing liners and struggling with my belly for years! Apparently men, and kids can have Diastasis Recti too, it’s just more prevalent in women due to pregnancy.
Before I tried the program on a client, I tried it on myself. In five weeks, I closed my gap and reversed my urinary incontinence and no longer need to wear liners. This was a gamechanger and changed the trajectory of my career as a Fitness Professional. My obsession about my core was resolved. I’m now on a mission to educate and help others.
My Bellies Inc. mentors helped me when I first started applying the techniques that I learned with clients. During my employment at the gym, I gained valuable experience working one-on-one with hundreds of women. I received referrals for women who lived all over Ontario, but most of them were not able to come to see me at the gym due to distance or lack of childcare. I couldn’t bear to turn them away, knowing that I had a solution to their problem. So in January 2018, I started my own business to reach more people. I created an online program and it’s a success! Women who have been struggling, even some with difficult cases of Diastasis Recti are getting results.
I am a huge advocate for correcting Diastasis Recti and Incontinence without surgery. I believe that it’s possible to fix it naturally. You’re given one body, you’d be surprised at what it’s capable of doing. I believe that you can fix it and get back that feeling of confidence.
I'd love to help you with your mummy tummy too!
Besides Private In-Person Training, I also offer Personalized Online Coaching services to help individuals without any geographical boundaries. As long as you have internet access, you can get help and get results. Take the guesswork out of fixing your belly and take advantage of my expertise to get it done so that you can get back to wearing anything you want and doing activities that you love.
To learn more about how to work with me, Click here to learn about my latest programs or email me at Strongbikinimom@gmail.com to book a FREE Consultation Call.
I still can’t get over this amazing transformation, May! You’re like a whole new woman! Only more beautiful inside as well as outside. I can’t stop shaking my head and wondering how on earth you did it. You know I’m going to be following all of your blog posts now, right? Bring on the inspiration!
Thanks Diana, your support means the world to me. I’m happy to help with your journey holler anytime:)
I lost my vouce cheering for this STRONG Mama with Abs!!! You lit up the stage as if there was no tomorrow! Your journey began a year ago and it’s here to stay as you continue to whole different level of living – STRONG GIRL lifestyle.
Live Life to the Fullest and with Appreciation!
Proud of you!
LOL – I heard you Jackie J. Loud and clear. I can’t tell you how calming it was to see everyone in the audience. Thanks again for being there.
You are an insipiration my friend 🙂 Reading your story and see your pics gets me pumped for my big day in November. Thanks for sharing May 🙂
Thank you, Ida! You’re one of my biggest cheerleaders and I appreciate the encouragement more than you know.
OMG, Congrats! Such an inspiration! WOW. Makes me wonder if it would ever be possible for me too. I’m 5 ft, 32 yrs, 3 kids and just started my journey and hoping to make a lifestyle change. Thank you for your story! I may have to get in touch with your couch to help me out. Thank you!
Hi Theresa, It IS possible. If I can do it anyone can. It’s just a matter of determination. But once it’s off it’s sustainable which means the end to yo-yo dieting. Doesn’t that sound appealing? You can reach Coach JVB at Jenny@CoachJVB.com – she is awesome to work with:)
You are so beautiful, & truly an inspiration to all of us women! Thanks again for a great post also!
Thank you Krystal, so are you. Keep it up you look amazing!