Throughout your pregnancy, your body goes through rapid physical and hormonal changes. It took you nine months to grow a child and weight gain is inevitable as your body grows to accommodate your baby.
If your post-baby tummy feels bloated and it is making you feel insecure, the best thing to do is stick to a healthy diet. This will not only help with your weight but also your mental health and lifestyle. Perhaps your belly is a little wobblier than it once was but it takes time and effort to get back to your pre-pregnancy shape and you may have to accept that it won't quite be the same again. But, you need to learn to celebrate your body, be kind to yourself and be proud of what you have achieved.
‘After birth, your uterus is 15 times bigger than pre-baby and takes six weeks to go back to normal,’ explains personal trainer James Duigan. ‘Your pelvic floor muscles are weaker – these act as a natural corset holding your stomach-flattening abdominal muscles.’ But you can take action to speed recovery.
New mums are super busy and often need energy quickly, especially if breastfeeding. This means, 'Their diet tends to be heavy in sugar and carbs,’ says James. ‘But ditch them and eat these de-bloating foods instead.’
11 foods to reduce tummy bloating:
Stress encourages fat storage all over your tummy – camomile has calming and de-bloating properties. Enjoy a cup every evening, as studies show it also aids sleep.
1) Camomile tea
This oily fish is packed with omega fatty acids, which help you burn fat around your midsection. Eat smoked salmon with poached eggs for a delicious, filling, tummy-flattening breakfast.
Dark-green leafy veg are packed full of fibre to help sweep toxins from your digestive system and flatten your stomach. Add greens to every meal you can – a handful of rocket in an omelette, kale to a stir-fry, broccoli to a blended juice.
Stress hormones such as cortisol encourage fat storage on your stomach, so eating calming foods can help flatten your tum. Pumpkin seeds are packed with magnesium, a natural mood stabiliser. Sprinkle on salads and stir-fries.
4) Pumpkin seeds
This contains the enzyme bromelain, which banishes bloating by breaking down protein and easing digestion. Slice and top with a dollop of Greek yoghurt for pudding.
These tasty little seeds contain anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties to help eliminate gas. They’re full of potassium, magnesium and selenium to help relax and soothe your insides. Snack on a small handful after your evening meal.
6) Fennel seeds
This tummy-taming vegetable boosts digestion, regulates your internal system and decreases fluid retention. Cut a stalk in half and dip in hummus.
The perfect food for a busy mum! Its good fats will fill you up for hours, and the high levels of potassium reduce water retention and bloating. Slice half an avocado on to two oatcakes for a snack.
Ginger stimulates the production of saliva and stomach enzymes for efficient digestion and reduced wind. Add sliced ginger and lemon to hot water for a refreshing drink.
A recent study from Penn State University found regularly eating almonds reduces stomach fat. Keep a pot in your bag to snack on whenever you get a craving for sugar.
MEET THE EXPERT: James Duigan, personal trainer and author of Clean & Lean Flat Tummy Fast.
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