Posted by: Tina | September 12, 2010

Losing the mummy tummy

It’s gone.

Or at least as gone as it can be after having popped out two kids.

One of my goals when I started training this year was to lose the “mummy tummy”. I was convinced that triathlon training would help me achieve this and, to an extent, it has. My consistency and discipline have brought me to a weight five pounds lighter than before I was pregnant. I haven’t been at the weight I am now since I was 14 years old and I undoubtedly have more lean muscle now than I did then.

At the same time, I have come to realize that, no matter how fit I am and how little fat I have left on this body, the days of the pre-baby body are gone. No matter how much weight I lose, or how much core work I do, the fact is I had diastasis recti with each pregnancy. For those not in the know, this means my abdominal muscles separated vertically down the middle. When I lie on my back and lift my head off the ground, you can stick two fingers into the space between the two sides of my abdominals. Not every woman gets it, but I’m a pretty small person and both my babies needed the space so they grew directly outwards (photo evidence at right – two weeks before baby #2 was born). It was much worse with my second baby. Bouncing completely back from it is not possible. There is no non-surgical way to fully close the separation or tighten the stretched-out fascia; I am likely stuck forever with the tiny pooch left behind.

For this reason, I wish very much I could have a little chat with my pre-baby self. I recently saw photos of me wearing a bikini in 2003, which was the year my husband and I started dating. While I may not have been a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, I was pretty smoking hot in that bikini. But, and this is the part that smarts now with the benefit of hindsight, even then I used to whine and complain about getting fat. I would obsess over non-existent bulges; I would go on little diets; and I would do hours of cardio at the gym. I wish now that I could slap that girl’s mouth shut, because that was the pinnacle of my physical appearance. And, at the risk of sounding terribly vain, it was a good pinnacle.

I look great now – I even weigh less – but that body is never coming back. Of course, I’ve done a few things that the girl in the photo hasn’t – namely, have two awesome little kids and compete magnificently in triathlons – but that body was pretty amazing. I’m going to be honest and say that having kids is great, but I will always feel some heartache over losing that body. We moms are schooled to say that our children are consolation for all the things we have given up by becoming parents, but I think it’s more than okay to think wistfully of the people we were before we had our kids.

The goal to lose the mommy tummy was never strictly about losing just the fat and leftover bulges. It was primarily about getting fit again. I am more athletically fit now than I have ever been in my entire life. The girl I once was would come out ahead of me now in a bikini contest (not that either of us would ever enter one), but I could out-run, out-bike, and perhaps out-swim her despite this little leftover pooch. And that thought is a satisfying one.

Anyhow, bottom line moral of the story for those of you who don’t know real women with babies, the Heidi Klums and Gwen Stefanis of the world, who appear physically intact despite bearing children, are one of two things: 1) genetic aberrations, or 2) rich enough to pay an amazing cosmetic surgeon a ridiculous sum of money. Bottom line for you firm, toned, and taut-bellied young women with no kids but who complain about your bulges: shut up and enjoy your body (and enjoy wearing bikinis whenever possible).

And, bottom line with respect to my goal of losing the mommy tummy, I say goal achieved.


  1. […] the “mummy tummy”: I wrote about losing the mummy tummy earlier this year. Since adding core work in my off-season, the mummy tummy is almost completely […]

  2. […] when I should have been celebrating how incredible my body was in my teens and twenties. (See mummy tummy post for more on […]

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