Why Do I Still Have a Belly?

“If I don’t have a lot of belly fat, just some loose skin, then why does my belly still look big when I am relaxed? I had my babies 25 years ago." Will I ever get my good looking belly back?"

Can you relate?

There are multiple reasons that this could happen. Every woman is unique in terms of physical activity, heritage, posture and nutrition. You can schedule a complimentary 30 minute core and posture assessment session to identify your core strategies that might not be optimal. You may also consider finding a women’s health PT in your area that you can consult with on the issue.

In this blog, I will share some common reasons of why it might be happening:

1) Your connective tissue that holds your abdominals together may be damaged.

Perhaps, you have heard of a diastasis recti or DR.

How do you know if this is happening?

If you have been consistent with your workouts, and you KNOW you are engaging and loading your core correctly, and you still can’t seem to gain any tension in your linea alba when you engage (meaning the depth at which you can press your fingers into the linea alba doesn’t change between relaxed and engaged). The linea alba is a set of connective tissues in the middle of your belly.

2) Your superficial core is stronger than your deeper core muscles

You’re focusing too much on traditional type core training which targets your superficial core muscles more like your rectus and obliques. Are you doing countless crunches, sit ups, pushups and ab rolls? Perhaps, you may shift your focus deeper core activation that engages all four parts of the deep core - pelvic floor, diaphragm, transverse and back. The deep core exercises will help you improve your breathing patterns, re-establish better positioning of your ribcage over your pelvis, and engaging your deeper core muscles.

3) Your pelvic floor is tight and/or weak

How well you can engage your pelvic floor will determine how well you can engage your deeper abdominal muscles because there is an order of process when engaging your deeper core muscles. Think of engaging your pelvic floor and core like an elevator when you exhale.

Tip in this video - on your exhale, first the pelvic floor, then the lower transverse abs, then the middle transverse abs, then the upper transverse abs. This method will help you attain a flatter belly whereas engaging from the top down will cause a belly pooch.

4) You grip under your ribs

This habit can cause a lot of downward pressure on the belly if you are always gripping your abs right underneath your ribs.

5) Your back is tight, and/or hip flexors tight

This habit will alter posture by dumping your pelvis forward and thrusting your ribcage which causes a lot of pressuring bearing out on the abdominal wall...hence the belly.

6) You are eating inflammatory foods or have other issues causing bloating in your stomach

This is extra pressure being placed on your abdominal wall so take notice more of how your belly reacts after eating various foods.

7) Hormonal changes after 40+

Of course, we cannot deny the fact that every woman will experience some hormonal changes in her 40+. This process will be unique for every woman. You may consult with a hormonal specialist.

8) Unmanaged stress

When we are constantly stressed and not managing stress well, cortisol hormone could take over and settle in the belly forming an excessive amount of fat.

Yes, there is no straight answer. However, there are many solutions.

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