No, the tumbnail picture of the woman in the blue bikini isn’t me, its Kate Gosselin (after tummy tuck).
Well, I’m not ashamed to admit that after having 4 kids, my belly doesn’t look like a fitness model’s. It all started when I had son #2. I got back into shape very quickly after son #1 in 2000. My friends teased me that I bounced back so quickly that my husband couldn’t keep his hands off me, LOL. So that’s how I became pregnant again within 4 months of having our first baby. Yes, I was even breastfeeding, but it still happened. It was meant to be because my 2 sons are best of friends. They’ve always been Buzz & Woody, or Batman & Robin. So while pregnant a second time while taking care of a still pretty new baby and working full-time, I stopped working out. I also began to eat a little more. Oh yes, good, nutrient rich food, just more than we needed! So son #2 arrived 13 months later a whopping 9 lbs 10 oz (son #1 was 8 lb 6 oz). Since I have a small frame, while pregnant I carry all in the front, and up very high. I hate to admit this, but I also gained 50 lbs with this pregnancy due to lack of exercise & no lack of food.
I wanted to lose the weight fast, so unfortunately I stopped nursing son #2 sooner then I should have. I also had an active 1 year old to chase around and felt very overwhelmed by it all. I tried everything to lose the extra weight and the tummy that still looked 5 months pregnant. I finally found Pilates and got the right balance of nutrition, but I noticed something horrible to me. You have to understand, before having babies, I had a very flat tummy and a nice little 4-6 pack going on. I wore half shirts back in the 90s and the low jeans. I never wore a 1-piece bathing suit. What for?? So to look down and see that my tummy actually was worse looking than when I lost the weight was horrifying. You see, I had saggy belly skin. Right above the navel, where I felt like my skin was really stretched to the max. Now I admit I was lucky not to have the stretch marks to go with it, but I have to admit, I think I’d take those over this saggy, crepe paper looking skin!! So creams have been applied, more dieting, more clean eating, avoiding alcohol didn’t help it. Teaching Pilates starting in late 2003 didn’t help it. The fitness classes I taught didn’t help. The jogging, walking didn’t help. And while I could feel my abs were rock solid, the outside picture told a different story.
So I went on to have two more lovely babies which really didn’t improve my belly situation. But while pregnant I wore bikinis, since the skin was nice an taut over my growing belly. The postpartum belly started to look even worse than it did in 2001. I also suffer from a mild diastasis of the abdominal wall, which is a separation of the muscle that runs vertical down your middle. So that might have something to do with the skin not adhering right to the muscle & fat below. yes, we all have fat in our abdomen, but when your skin is taut, its less noticeable.
So after teaching Pilates & other fitness classes since 2003, doing 3 rounds of P90x, 2 rounds of Insanity, 3 rounds of Asylum, 1 round of Brazil Butt Lift (not in this order), I’m in awesome shape. Well, except for that sagging skin. I eat clean. I drink so much water, I have to wake in the middle of the night to pee. I drink my Shakeology daily. I avoid alcohol. I eat clean. I’ve done primal. I’ve done low carb. I’ve done no carb. I’ve fasted. I’ve followed all the meal plans that come with Beachbody programs. But still the saggy skin is there.
I’ve had other coaches and personal trainers say that women can get rid of saggy skin with eating clean & exercising more. Well, I hate to tell them, but I’m a living, breathing example of this not being true. I would love, love, love to be proven wrong though.
Now, please don’t get me wrong, I do love my body. I’m in my early 40s. I have great legs, a great booty & great arms. My cholesterol is very low and my blood pressure is perfect. My belly looks okay in clothes and just this year I have been wearing more bikinis in front of people. But there’s still that little bit of nagging insecurity or maybe its vanity, that wishes this saggy belly skin would go away. And for some women they have minor issues with this.
But I want women to know that if you have this same issue and someone says “work harder” or “eat cleaner” don’t take it too personally. I think the there are a lot of people who hold out hope that yes, it can be fixed by diet & exercise. But if you’ve been working really hard at eating clean and digging deep with your exercise, and you see results in your arms, legs, everywhere, but your tummy still has that patch of saggy, loose skin, it might not get better. And most fitness professionals aren’t experts in how skin elasticity works. And lots of pros don’t want you to get discouraged and quit exercising all together. I don’t want to see you quit either. I want you to keep eating healthy & exercising, not to get rid of the loose skin, but to be healthy for you and your family.
So I remain hopeful that maybe one day the world will not judge women so harshly in the magazines for having stretchy skin or the last remnant of cellulite. I hope that the world will start to recognize that the beauty of motherhood is the sacrifice of one’s body & personal space to create a new human being. The stretch marks & the saggy skin are just the honor badges of motherhood.
And if I do find that miracle cure, I will let you know. But here’s a little advice to prevent you from getting saggy skin. It may or may not help.
Love & light!