The Truth About Stretch Marks, Loose Skin, and Belly Bloat

by Jen on May 7, 2015

Do you have stretch marks, loose skin, and/or belly bloat? Find answers here to your most common questions about getting a flat belly!

The truth about stretch marks loose skin and belly bloat | TheFitHousewife.com #abs #fitness #nutrition #tips

Probably THE most common question I get is: “How can I get a flat belly?”

Today, I’m going to get REAL with you. For all those fellow moms out there who have stretch marks, loose skin, and or belly bloat, I’m going to share with you something I’ve never shared before!

It was really hard for me to post about this because it’s the one area I’m very self conscious about – my tummy! Sure, I have abs…and I’ve worked darn hard for them! But I also have stretch marks and loose skin!!

I’m 37 years old and have had 3 children within a span of 2-1/2 years! Yes, you read that right! All of my boys are 15 months apart. I am not a fitness competitor nor am I a body builder. I’m just a stay-at-home mom who works out in my basement. I do not believe in “dieting down” to get abs. I’ve gotten my abs by eating right and exercising for the past 6 years. I haven’t done any special cleanses, taken any “diet” pills, nor starved myself to get this way.

Now that you know a bit about me, let’s get some answers to some common questions about abs!

CAN I GET ABS AFTER HAVING A BABY?

YES, YES, YES!!!! Like I mentioned above, I had 3 boys in under 3 years, so my body didn’t have time to recover between pregnancies. Oh, and did I mention my boys were all over 9 lbs? I had a huge belly during my pregnancies, it was stretched to the max!

Baby belly

I also didn’t look after myself during my pregnancies. I ate what I wanted and didn’t exercise at all! But guess what? I was still able to get abs afterwards. You also have abs, they just might be hiding underneath some fat. Get rid if the fat and you’ll see those abs!

How do you get rid of the fat?? Well, you know the saying, “Abs are made in the KITCHEN!!!” It’s true, 80-90% of your results have to do with your nutrition. Of course, exercise is important too, but if you’re not eating clean, all that work is going to waste!! Tighten up your eating and the belly fat will slowly start to melt away.

For most people to get abs, it takes CONSISTENCY!!! This means a healthy LIFESTYLE, not a quick-fix diet. There is no magic pill, short-term diet, or quick fix. You have to lose body fat and tone the underlying muscle. If you think you have been consistent with your exercise and healthy eating but you’re still not seeing results, then please read my latest article about why you’re NOT seeing results!!!

This is why I recommend my Drop a Dress Size groups. This is the program that has successfully worked for me and many of my clients!! I help you build a healthy lifestyle and get into that fat burning mode!!

CAN I GET RID OF STRETCH MARKS?

The short answer to this question is NO! Unfortunately, we can’t get rid of the stretch marks completely. Yes, they do fade over time and become less noticeable. Those creams that promise to get rid of the stretch marks don’t erase them. They may help lessen the appearance of them, but stretch marks will never completely disappear.

I know this can be uncomfortable for some women, including myself. Of course I’m insecure about my stretch marks! Of course I don’t like wearing a bikini because of them. But you know what, I’ve learned over the years that they don’t matter!! I am truly blessed that I was able to give life in my belly, not just once, but three times!!! So now, I don’t mind wearing a bikini! Show off those stretch marks, consider them a badge of motherhood honour!

WHAT CAN I DO IF I HAVE LOOSE SKIN?

Here’s where I get REAL with you….

My stretch marks and loose skin

There you go – that is me – no filters, no shading, no touchups – just my real tummy.

We all try so hard to look good, which makes sense, of course we want to look our best. BUT – if you have had a baby or lost a lot of weight, you will have loose skin.

I see a lot of comments from women stressing over the loose skin after giving birth. This is something I have never shared before because I was so self conscious about it. But after some of my Drop a Dress Size challengers starting asking me about it, I knew I had to share this. Trust me, even women with abs deal with this!

When I push together my stomach or go into a plank, I have this loose skin! It used to be much, much worse. But over time, I’ve tightened it up. It’s important to know you can’t make it go away completely (without surgery,) but you can drastically improve the appearance by losing body fat and toning the underlying muscle.

WHAT ARE THE BEST EXERCISES FOR ABS?

Okay, so now that you know you CAN have nice abs by losing the fat (*hint, hint – watch your nutrition,) what ab exercises do I do to get my abs?!

Well, a couple of things:

1) I rarely do crunches! Yes, this is true. I don’t do crunches because they strain my lower back!! SO if you have ANY kind of back issues, I encourage you to stay away from crunches. I like to do plank work or other ab work like these two moves:

(You can find more of my favourite ab exercises on my YouTube channel!)

2) I do a lot of HIIT training rather than long, steady cardio. I also lift heavy weights and do a lot of bodyweight training. If what you’re doing isn’t working for you, then maybe it’s time for a change! When we do an exercise for a long period of time, our body adjusts to our workout and our metabolism slows. That’s why I like to do quick, high-intensity workouts to keep my metabolism burning!

HOW DO I GET RID OF THE DREADED POOCH?

Ahh yes, the dreaded pooch! I’ve experienced this too, and sometimes I still do. So what can be the cause?

1) The cause of the pooch can be due to excess fat. If that is the case, then everything I’ve mentioned above applies (switch to a whole food, clean eating diet and add some high-intesnity training to your routine.)

2) The cause of the pooch can also be due to food sensitivities. This is why I sometimes still get that “pregnant” look during the day. As soon as that happens, I know I’ve eaten something that my body negatively reacts too. Foods that can cause belly bloat: of course there is the obvious – junk food (highly processed foods) and excess sodium. But some other not so obvious culprits can be dairy, wheat, gluten, etc. The key is finding out what affects YOU! For me personally, it’s dairy and wheat. Once I cut that out, my belly bloat decreased significantly.

You also want to make sure you’re drinking a LOT of water!! Most people don’t get enough water during the day, but it’s so important to help flush toxins from your body, keep your skin looking healthy, and your digestive system working efficiently.

I hope this has helped you realize that YOU too can get abs and have a nice toned tummy!! And don’t worry about those stretch marks and loose skin – you’re not alone.

If you do what I’ve mentioned above by changing your lifestyle and being consistent, you will see those abs pop through, I promise 🙂

Article inspired by Natalie Jill Fitness.

© Jennifer Gacek and The Fit Housewife, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Gacek and The Fit Housewife with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Aatiqa May 9, 2015 at 12:09 pm

Hi Jen,
Thank you for the amazing post! You look amazing, wow! I am also a mother of one
2.5 yr old. I know how much your body changes after giving birth. I am struggling to lose 10 lbs! I too want to tone up and get abs. I have always been self-conscious of mu body I am 38 yrs old. Its now or never. I am more determined now to wear a bikini this yr and let lose. I have been following your blog for a while now and really admire you! I want to look like that:)
Thank you and Happy mothers day!

Reply

2 Jen May 12, 2015 at 9:26 am

Thank you for your nice comment Aatiqa! Happy Mother’s Day to you too! You can totally lose those last 10lbs and change your body!! If you need help, please let me know, that’s what I do 🙂

Reply

3 Heather May 9, 2015 at 11:40 pm

Very inspiring thank you.
Ice never been a mum, but still have a few stretch marks. Sometimes it’s easier just to accept the changes the body eventually goes thrubafter menopause, but I really liked your exercise video about alternatives to the crunch. Adding them to my routine when j get out of bed this morning. Again thanks!!!

Reply

4 Jen May 12, 2015 at 9:25 am

Thanks for your comment Heather! I hope you like the ab exercises 🙂 You’re right, we just need to accept the changes our body goes through and just give thanks for being healthy!

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5 mary May 12, 2015 at 9:59 am

thanks ! Great info:)

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6 Hope Hampton July 26, 2016 at 4:30 pm

Hey! Thank you so much for sharing this! You are an inspiration and you look amazing! I’ve worked very hard to get my body back in shape after having my first baby and I’m so happy to tell you that I’m in the best shape of my life! I’m 12 pounds below my prepregnancy weight and have so much muscle now. I also used HIIT, strength, and various cardio ntervals to get in shape, I love how my body has responded. The loose skin is the only thing left that “hurts my feelings” so to speak. I was feeling like all my hard work didn’t matter because when I sit down I still have the loose skin stack up around my belly button. It’s really not much but it’s enough that it bothers me. I was definitely feeling alone in that but thanks to your post I feel much better, seriously it’s like a weight has been lifted. I’m going to continue to train and tone and love my body from the inside out! Loose skin is my baby growing badge of honor 🙂

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7 Jen July 27, 2016 at 3:03 pm

I know the feeling Hope! I have the exact same thing, and to be honest, it does bug me some days. But, I have to be positive about it and know that I was able to carry healthy babies, and that’s what is most important! Thanks for sharing your journey 🙂

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8 Leanna Williams November 30, 2016 at 8:45 pm

Hey I’ve had 3 children first is 8 second 6 and 3rd is 3 1/2 . I wanted to know what all exercises you do inside the home and out. And reps and sets of exercise and how long to do the exercise. I am going to start trying this. When I finally have a day off
Leanna Williams recently posted..Cilantro Lime Rice {In Rice Cooker}My Profile

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9 Jen December 1, 2016 at 12:55 pm

Wow, that’s awesome you have 3 kids as well! I do at-home exercise DVD’s Leanna! If you would like my suggestions, I’m happy to help! Just email me at thefithousewife@gmail.com

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