Diastasis Recti

I have a what??? – Diastasis Recti

In May of 2012, I started to notice that my belly was not going away after having my twins in February of 2011.  I know that our bodies change after pregnancy, especially when you have 3 of them.  However, something was just not sitting right with me about my belly, so I started to do some investigating.  I’m not sure what fueled my desire to explore this more, my own vanity or curiosity of the human body.

As I researched, I came across my answer—diastasis recti.  What?  Exactly!  In all my 10-plus years in the fitness world, I had never heard of this. The more I researched, the more curious, frustrated, and even angry I became. A diastasis recti is the separation of the rectus abdominis (the “six pack” muscle). When this occurs, the integrity of the rectus abdominis has been lost and weakened.

Again, I am not sure which fueled my desire to fix this–vanity or curiosity of the human body, but I was determined to get to the bottom of this.

Below are some before and after pictures of my belly.  I am sharing these pictures as a way to show measureable differences in my belly as I started to make some changes in how I carried my body.  My goal was to see if the changes I was implementing were actually helping and when I discovered that they were I decided to share it with each of you.

The first set pictures I took of my belly in August of 2012.  You will also notice various comments next to the pictures.  I’m adding the comments as a way of evaluated the anatomical elements of my body.  My comments are not meant to as a way of shaming my body.  No matter what one’s body looks like, we are beautifully and wonderfully made.  So knowing that, why did I want to fix my diastasis?  Well, because a diastasis is a result of me not taking care of my body well.

Front view: notice how the belly is rounded,  to some people they may think I look pregnant .
Side view: notice how the belly is pushed forward, the lower part of my ribs are pushed forward which results in a fold of skin in my middle back, and again one may think that I am pregnant

After these pictures, I began the work of correcting my diastasis.

Step 1: Learn how to get up and down from the floor without stressing the rectus abdominal muscles by rolling to my side and using my arms to press me up into a seated position.

Step 2: Change my entire mindset on abdominal strengthening and avoid/stop doing many things I thought strengthened my abs like crunches, sit-ups and even plank pose. (More to come on this topic as this was the most difficult step for me.)

Step 3: Change my alignment. Position my pelvis over my heels and stop pushing my rib cage forward. Find out more here about proper alignment.

Step 4: Find my transverse abdominal muscles and start working them (Yes, even my experience and training as a Pilates Instructor failed to teach me this).

Step 5: Accept the fact that reworking my muscles that have forgotten what to do takes time.

Step 6: Be patient and keep working on my alignment and my transverse abdominal muscles.

Here are my pictures two months later:

Front view: notice the rounding of my belly has decreased .
Side view: notice how the belly is not as pushed forward and my lower ribs are not as thrust forward which decreases the fold of skin in my middle back.

Now onto my side view from December 2012, another few months later.

Side view: notice how my belly is now inside my pelvis and not forward, my ribs are no longer thrust forward and the fold of skin in my middle back has significant decreases to the extent that it is gone .

During this process I lost a 1/2 inch on my waist and gained a whole lot of awareness on how to take better care of my core/body.

Below are my most recent photos as my journey with healing my diastasis is on-going—which is the story for many people.

Front View: There is not a huge change from October 2012 until April 2019. However, I consider that a huge victory because it means I have not slipped back into back habits.
Side View: Besides the addition of a tattoo on my side, you can see I have gained a little more tone but otherwise there is not a huge difference since December 2012. One may think that I should have a lot more notable changes since then, well during these last 7 years I have dealt with adrenal fatigue, poor sleep, poor eating habits, and other health things that have impacted the health of my body. Healing is a journey of many parts.