The Mummy Tummy GuideMonday, March 01, 2021
IN 2016, after having her beautiful daughter, physiotherapist Kimberly Hoffman had resigned herself to the notion that her tummy would never look the same. A year later, out of frustration, she started exercising, but noticed her tummy getting bigger. And so she realised something was wrong. She began to research and discovered she had diastasis recti.
Diastasis recti is defined as a separation or gap between the rectus abdominis muscle, more commonly known as the six pack. While these muscles are usually associated with elite athletes and movie stars, we all have them. Generally, they are underdeveloped and hidden beneath layers of fat. During pregnancy, the prolonged tension of the growing baby on the abdominal wall causes the connective tissue that runs down the centre of the rectus abdominis to weaken, resulting in a separation of the muscles and causing a bulge in the abdomen. This bulge is the infamous 'mummy tummy'.
In a quest to find solutions, Hoffman did endless research and continuing education courses on the medical condition, using herself as the guinea pig. She tested and retested various methods and found them all lacking. So, using all the information she gathered and what she was experiencing, she created The Mummy Tummy Guide. She was able to heal her diastasis recti and began to help many other mothers heal theirs.
Hoffman describes The Mummy Tummy as a simple eight-step guide to rectify your diastasis recti.
Step 1. Accepting yourself as you are right now
“I realised on my journey that being obsessed with the imperfections of my body was not helping it to heal. I accepted the fact that I am a mother and my tummy brought love and that is something beautiful. Accepting it as a blessing, I was able to conquer half the journey.”
Step 2. Protect and reconnect
“I believe it's critical to remind mothers they are not broken; the process of childbirth left their core muscles in a vulnerable state, so protecting them with a wrap or a breathable band is helpful in the initial healing phase. I also help to reconnect with muscles through breathing and massage stimulation.”
Step 3. Realising the pelvic floor is a part of the core
“The pelvic floor is oftentimes forgotten when we think of strengthening the core, but it provides support and stability, so strengthening it is very important.”
Step 4. The rules of active engagement
“Many mothers try tirelessly to work their core but their efforts remain futile since they are unable to actively engage their core muscles. Once they learn how to do that, their exercises become more effective and they begin to see results.”
Step 5. Overcoming your mummy posture
“Pregnant women adjust their centre of gravity against the weight of their growing tummies by swaying the hips forward, which results in rounding of the shoulder and a forward head position. This posture is reinforced in the new mom with breastfeeding, lifting the baby and other daily activities done incorrectly. Learning new habits to reduce their mummy posture can immediately reduce the appearance of the mummy tummy.
Step 6. More stretch, less stress
“Stretching the muscles of the core and supporting muscles will increase flexibility, reduce tension, improve posture and form during exercise. This increased effectiveness allows mothers to get rid of their mummy tummy quicker.”
Step 7. Tummy safe exercise
“It's important to avoid exercises that will increase intra-abdominal pressure and increase your diastasis recti. These include crunches, sit ups, planks and heavy lifting. Exercises should be safe and functional otherwise the effects will be counterproductive.”
Step 8. Integration seals the gap
“Integrating steps one to seven into your daily life and not just for 30-45 minutes a day during exercise will guarantee the best results.”
As the pandemic had us on lockdown, Hoffman started offering her programme to mothers worldwide from the comforts of their homes. With rave reviews, word of the effectiveness of the programme began to spread. In an effort to keep up with the demands, Hoffman has turned the programme into a self-paced online programme that mothers can access online at their own convenience.
The official launch of this programme is February 27. Connect with Hoffman at www.themummytummyguide.com or on Instagram @thewomenshealthphysio.
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