I see a lot of pregnant mamas at Queen City Health Center, and one of the first things they are looking to do postpartum is lose that baby fat! Many women will use supportive postpartum belly bands or girdles to hold in and hide their protruding bellies, but do these tools really work when it comes to losing belly fat, or are they simply fads and gimmicks?
I get a lot of questions about Belly Bandits, It Works! Body Wraps, and similar gadgets. To be honest, I have never used one of these, so I can’t say from experience whether they are effective, but as an professional Charlotte chiropractor who has adjusted plenty of postpartum patients, I can tell you what does work when it comes to losing weight post-pregnancy.
Ditch the sugar. I bet you thought I was going to say ditch the fat, right? Nope! Contrary to popular belief, fat is actually good for you. Healthy fat, that is. Eat a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids (also called essential fatty acids) and low in sugar. Fat burns fat, so when you decrease your sugar intake, your body will burn fat for energy instead of burning sugar. This will help you lose that baby fat a lot quicker.
Exercise. I know, it’s a no-brainer. Pelvic floor exercises and workouts that target your lower abdominal muscles are especially effective. You don’t need to go crazy, especially right off the bat. Wait until your 6-week appointment to start an exercise routine, and even then, don’t make it too rigorous (especially if you’re breastfeeding). Begin with light stretching, gentle yoga, and maybe some pilates to target your midsection. After a few months, you can work your way up to light interval training to help you burn more fat.
Eat more. It sounds counterproductive, but it actually works. If you are breastfeeding, you’re going to need the extra calories. And if you’re exercising, you’ll burn more fat, so you’ll need to make up the difference. In turn, this will actually increase your metabolism and boost fat loss long-term. Make sure your diet is rich in healthy protein (organic grass-fed beef and free-range chicken) and a colorful variety of organic, non-GMO fruits and vegetables.
Minimize toxins. They are everywhere. In our air, in our water, in the food we eat… Your body encases excess toxins inside of fat cells. It seems to show up primarily around your midsection. (Am I right?) Minimizing your body’s exposure to toxins decreases the build-up of excess fat.
Do postpartum belly bands work? I don’t know, but I recommend focusing on what does work first. Girdles are great for support and you can certainly use one for that purpose. I wouldn’t rely on it for weight loss, but it can definitely help you create a flatter shape and even get back into your pre-preggo jeans after just a few months! (A major goal for a lot of women I’ve talked to.) Either way, make sure to incorporate each of the 5 DREAM principles into your daily routine for maximum results!