How To Get Rid Of Your Mommy-Tummy


If you search “how to lose my mommy pouch” or “how to lose my mummy tummy” on Google, you get a total of 23 700 000 and 113 000 000 results, respectively.

The phrase “How to lose belly fat” generates a massive 318 000 000 results.

But my gut (pun intended) tells me that those definitely include moms with belly overhangs looking for solutions. 

How to lose weight“, coming in at 5 780 000, looks meagre in comparison.

If you’ve ever worked in the fitness industry, you’ll know that getting a flat stomach is a big deal.

Heck, I think everyone knows it. 

But as it is with the fitness industry, myths and legends are rife and they tend to stick around – no matter how ineffective they are. 

It’s no different when it come to losing belly fat. 

So how then, does one really lose a mommy belly?


By following these steps: 




1. Fix Diastasis Recti  

Fix Diastasis Recti
 Image Credit: sorapop by Adobe Stock 


Diastasis Recti Abdominis (DRA) is when the right and left sides of the rectus abdominis – the outermost abdominal muscles – split apart. This can happen below, at, or above the belly button. 

This separation then causes a gap that can appear as a protruding bulge.

DRA commonly occurs in women post pregnancy, but also befall women who never were pregnant, or even men. 

In any case, the deep musculature of the core are weakened (or even damaged) and strengthening those alone can have a profound improvement on the circumference of your belly. 

Besides that, the strength of your core truly is rooted in those deep muscles, which include the transversus abdominis (TrA).  

Any movement you make originates from the core. It’s quite easy to see when looking at sports – hitting a ball, serving in tennis, kicking, passing, even running – your core is the centre of your physical universe.

A weak core means that any physical activities you engage in, are built upon a very dodgy foundation which can easily lead to injury and back pain. The latter is often a problem in women after giving birth, and for this very reason. 

Fixing DRA starts with strengthening the TrA and pelvic floor.

The added benefit thus is that you’ll most likely also fix back pain and incontinence issues (peeing yourself when you sneeze, anyone?) in the process. 

Sit ups/crunches, planks (everyone’s favourites), or ANY exercise that causes the stomach to bulge, is off limits. 

Extra and meticulous care needs to be taken in a DRA programme, which needs to exclude two of my favourites: running and lifting heavy shit (LHS). 

The amount of time it takes to fix DRA will differ from person to person – I’d say a minimum of 12 weeks.

Some say to wait at least six months.

Yes, it’s long, but you must make sure your foundation is solid before starting with more intense work to burn the fat off in phase two. 


 2. Reset Your Gut 

Reset Your Gut
 Image Credit: ryanking999 by Adobe Stock 

A healthy gut seems to be the bedrock of all things health.

There is no more denying it, even though it took about 2400 years for the words spoken by Hippocrates to be truly recognized. 

Where strengthening the deep core is your physical strength foundation, a healthy gut is the foundation of health.

That is true for weight loss or overall health in all its forms (including mental health). 

I feel so strongly about this that if I was a doctor, I would instruct all my patients to do a gut reset. Although then they may become so healthy that I run out of patients… So maybe not. But, you get me. 

Clients who do my 28 Day Gut Reset get fantastic results with belly – and overall fat loss, even though it’s not the goal of the plan. 


3. Reduce Chronic Inflammation 

Reduce Chronic Inflammation
According to Lara Briden, a naturiathic doctor) Image Credit: Adobe Stock by Stanislav  

Chronic inflammation has been argued to be the main driver behind obesity and type 2 diabetes (diabesity), as well as being at the root of all modern disease.

Now you might be thinking – Sunel, what are you so on about health – I just want to lose my mommy-tummy, not outlive my grandkids!

How exactly does CHRONIC INFLAMMATION create a barrier to losing excess weight?

Through insulin resistance, which leads to higher sugar levels in the body and promotes belly fat. The more belly fat you have, the more you become insulin resistant, creating this vicious cycle.

Insulin resistance is a precursor to developing Type 2 Diabetes.

    Chronic inflammation is strongly connected with belly fat in people with Type 2 diabetes.

    It’s for that (and other wonderful beneficial) reasons that I love to take and promote a daily lemon-ginger-turmeric shot.

    It bursts with anti-inflammatory, immunity and even some potent brain boosting benefits. 

    Fear thou not, for my own 28 Day Gut Reset & Maintenance Plan takes care of chronic inflammation.


    As mentioned earlier, insulin resistance promotes belly fat, and vice versa.

    Consequently, dealing with insulin resistance is key when wanting to flatten your stomach.   

    According to Lara Briden – a naturopathic doctor – some of the “insults to insulin sensitivity include environmental toxins, medications, ultra-processed food, circadian disruption, sarcopenia (muscle loss), nutrient deficiency, neuroendocrine issues, chronic inflammation, and microbiome (gut) issues”

    Note that most of those factors are included in the suggestions in this post. 


    4. Practise Daily Stress Management 

    Practise stress management
     Image Credit: guruXOX from Adobe Stock


    Okay, let’s just clear something up – the (original) Buddha did not have a fat belly!

    According to Laughing Buddhas, the one with the fat belly and laughing face (aka Laughing Buddha) – “is known as Ch’an Buddhist monk from the Chinese Buddhist folktales during 10th century.

    So my assumption is that the Classic Buddha must have had beautiful abs 🙂

    Chronically raised stress hormones contributes to belly fat.

    Chronic stress is also strongly correlated to chronic inflammation (previous point). 

    Most people don’t realise though that stress can come from various sources other than emotional, work or financial stress.

    Examples include chronic inflammation, eating foods you are sensitive to like gluten or dairy, frequent intense exercise sessions without adequate recovery, sleep deprivation, not eating enough or enough carbohydrates (both common in active females), chronic inflammation, leaky gut syndrome, and more.

    I personally can attest to losing stomach fat when I stopped doing prolonged, stressful workouts.  

    To control stress, do daily bouts of breath work or meditation, make sure you’re not stressed due to the lesser known list above, spend time in nature and with good friends, and make time for your hobbies.


    5. Optimize Sleep 

    Optimise sleep
    Stress,  Image credit: Adobe Stock by tigatelu


    As mentioned in the previous point – a lack of sleep will hamper belly fat loss.

    Sleep deprivation is stressful on your body and you can be sure your stress hormones will be elevated as a result. 

    Less than 6h of sleep is firmly linked to chronic inflammation (point 3). 

    There are numerous studies that have shown how sleep promotes fat loss! 

    To improve the quality of your sleep, get and stay in a regular sleep routine, sleep with earplugs, get block out curtains, install a blue light blocker app on your electronic devices if you use them at night, or do a meditation or other relaxing activity before bed.

    Stress is a big reason for insomnia, so including stress management as a tool to improve sleep is vital. 

    Look for some natural supplements that assist with sleep such as ashwaghanda, GABA, magnesium, L-theanine, taurine, passionflower, chamomile flower or valerian root extract.



    Phase One consisted of interconnected elements that together forms the foundation on which Phase Two needs to be built.

    You can’t, for example, start with a stress management routine when you are also not addressing bad gut health or neglect sleep, and vice versa. 

    Fixing your deep core and pelvic floor strength should come before all the other fun intense exercise routines.

    So make sure you’ve tackled everything in Phase One before moving on to Phase Two. 

    6. Control Alcohol Consumption  

    Control alcohol consumption
    Image Credit: Adobe Stock by Peter 

    If you did my 28 Day Gut Reset, you unfortunately had to cut alcohol completely for four weeks.

    But life does not have to remain alcohol-free!

    If however you still have unwanted fat residing on your belly, you’d need to limit alcoholic beverages to about 3 units per week.


    Wine and straight spirits / spirits with water are probably your best options.

    Cocktails, not so much.

    Beer is nice, but if you are sensitive to gluten (you may be without knowing it), it will put you in a state of chronic inflammation and hamper things in all sorts of ways.

    If your gut is healthy and you have reached your flat stomach goal, you can definitely get away with more alcoholic drinks per week – within reason – without gaining stomach fat back. That’s from my personal experience, at least. 


    7. Lift Heavy Shit (LHS)

    Lift Heavy Shit

     Image Credit: Adobe Stock by deagreez


    Now that the foundation is laid, it’s time to have some fun on the gym floor!

    Ladies – Lifting Heavy Shit REALLY means heavy (for you).

    Women seem very scared (or just reluctant?) to lift anything that feels heavy.

    Of course you must take care to use the correct technique, but time and again, I see women choosing weights about half of what they are capable of lifting.

    There is no such thing as ‘women’s’ weights – let’s just please get that straight. 

    But why lift heavy weights for a flat stomach?

    A study showed that women burn a significant amount of stomach fat when lifting heavy weights – due to the hormonal response that goes with it. 

    The hormonal response from exercise is what ultimately determines where and how much fat you burn.

    So next time you hear ‘calorie deficit’ and ‘ab workouts’ for losing stomach fat (and weight, in general) – please do roll your eyes. 


    8. Do Sprints or Short All Out Bursts 

    Do Sprints or short all out bursts

    Image Credit: sutadimages by Adobe Stock


    When you have built a strength base (about two months at least), you should do some short, all-out effort workouts.

    There are a plethora of studies showing that sprints are a superior form of exercise in order to burn belly fat

    Start with short sprints on a flat road, and alternate days with roughly 15s uphill sprints.

    Take enough time to rest between sprints, as an all out, quality effort is the goal – not getting tired or working up a sweat. 

    Another one is to do full body barbell or dumbbell movements, performed at speed and with resistance (make sure you use the correct technique when doing these). 

    This is the same concept as lifting heavy – it is an all out, full body effort, but performed with speed. 

    These kind of workouts truly are the best for overall body composition.

    The only purpose that abdominal workouts should have is to strengthen your core. Period.

    Phase One took care of that, to a large extent. 

    Remember that it’s quite possible (and common) to have a strong core but also have a fat belly. 

    9. Constant and Overall Movement 

    Constant and overall Movement
     Image Credit: primipil by Adobe Stock


    I’ve written about this in previous posts on how to maintain your body shape over the holidays, as well as how sitting kills even fit people.

    Low level movement throughout the day should simply be a non-negotiable ingredient of any health or weight management prescription.

    Amongst other things, sitting lowers metabolism and also increases your risk for developing type 2 Diabetes – neither ideal for losing belly fat. 

    Doing all the right workouts are great, but that does not mean one can sit on one’s bum for the rest of the day.

    Having a desk job is no excuse – you should (and can) still get up every hour and move for about three minutes.

    This movement does not have to be intense at all. Which makes this so easy, it’s almost too good to be true. 

    Important Note Regarding Calorie Intake


    Importan Note regarding Overall Calorie intake
     Image Credit: rh2010 by Adobe Stock 

    Luckily, I’m not going to tell you to count calories!

    Extreme and regular calorie deficits can wreak permanent havoc on your metabolism.

    I still see diet my clients got given, and recommendations on the internet that are simply too low in calories.

    Unfortunately, there is still a big emphasis on the outdated ‘Calories in, Calories out‘ and ‘eat less, exercise more’ mindsets of the 80s.

    Remember that calorie restriction is much more stressful on a woman’s body than a man’s, and that chronic stress contributes to belly fat accumulation. 

    Throw exercise into the mix, and you’ll really set yourself up for a hormonal shit storm.

    Low Energy Availability (LEA) is common and occurs in almost half of female recreational athletes. In most cases, these women are unaware that they are not consuming enough calories.

    Calorie restrictive mindsets (still prevailing) do nothing for the health of hormones, metabolism or reducing belly fat.

    I personally took about five (very painful) years to recover from a combination of fasting and high volume running, which meant I unintentionally (but inevitably) did not eat enough.

    The result was chronically elevated cortisol, which messed up many other hormones and as a result had me bedridden for a total of about 10 months. I did not feel pretty, let me tell you.

    If you follow my 28 Day Gut Reset and Maintenance Plan in Phase One, you will see that I never prescribe specific calories or portion sizes. 




    My recommendation is to start with a gut reset and /or a plan to fix your DRA either at the same time, or one at a time, adding the next one when you feel ready. 

    Everything else in Phase One affect the other. Sleep, stress management and reducing chronic inflammation should all be addressed together, as soon as possible after starting out. 

    After about 12 weeks (you may want to spend more time on the DRA plan depending on the severity), you start doing the more intense (and fun) workouts. 

    These don’t have to be done every day – two LHS and two sprint workouts per week will suffice.

    Sprint workouts can be done more often if you want, as rest periods should be long and hence is not a taxing workout. 

    Don’t forget to move constantly and to EAT!

    That’s it folks – happy losing that mom bod. 


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