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