Hey mom! Do you have an overhanging tummy and wonder if it is possible to get rid of it? Overhanging tummy, also called apron belly, is a condition common among many mommies, and there is quite a lot to know about it. But before that, what causes apron belly?
This post will critically look at apron belly, the causes, risks involved, and what you can do about it.
What is an apron belly?
An apron belly occurs when the skin around the abdomen sags due to fat surrounding the belly, and internal organs expand because of pregnancy or weight gain, thereby causing fats to deposit in the omentum. The omentum is a flap that looks like an apron lying under your abdominal muscles, covering the front of your intestines.
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Apron bellies vary in size. For some people, it could just hang around their pubic areas, but to others, it can extend to their upper thighs or even knees.
What causes apron belly?
The two primary causes of apron belly are pregnancy and weight gain. However, it is not just a problem for moms and overweight women. Even men and people that have lost a lot of weight can also develop an apron belly as the skin sags where there used to be fat.
The risk involved in having an apron belly
If you have fat lying under your skin that you can comfortably grab with your hands, it is subcutaneous fat. With an apron belly, this fat lies around your internal organs like intestines and stomach and can generate toxins that impact how your body functions.
This fat in your body may not have an immediate impact on your health. However, you can notice that you become overweight because of the inflammation caused by the fat.
Because of the toxins generated from this fat, apron belly can raise your risk of some kinds of cancer, including ovarian cancer. Also, research links it to type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Besides, an apron belly can cause physical and emotional discomfort.
How to relieve apron belly discomfort
The most uncomfortable part of having an apron belly is the emotional stress attached to it. Many people feel stressed or ashamed because of their apron belly. If you’re one of them, know that you are not alone.
Whether your apron belly is just slightly hanging around your pubic or down to your knees, you must first eliminate the shame and guilt you feel about your body. Though it’s essential to understand the causes and seek a solution, do it with love, knowing that your body has produced another human being – your kid(s). That’s a great achievement.
Besides the emotions, if your apron belly causes you physical discomforts, you can do the following to relieve them.
- Use bands and clothing that provide support
Numerous clothing and support bands help mothers conceal their apron belly. Though they may not heal the apron belly, they can prevent the skin from sagging down and relieve the back pains and other issues you get from carrying the apron belly weight.
- Never compromise personal hygiene
The most common physical discomfort of having an apron belly is the skin issues they cause. Most moms complain about rashes. Skin issues are very common to apron bellies because the skin overlaps and traps moisture and heat, making it more prone to irritation. That is why you must always keep the area clean and dry/ and maintain overall hygiene.
- Use anti-chafing creams
In addition to keeping your body clean and dry, you can also use anti-chafing creams to prevent discomfort and skin irritation from the open belly rubbing or chafing on your skin.
Is it possible to get rid of the apron belly?
Yes, it is possible to get rid of an apron belly; however, it is not easy. There is no one treatment perfect for treating apron belly in everyone, and you cannot expect an apron belly to tighten up from just doing sit-ups. There are a wide range of things you can do to reduce the apron belly and its health implications. The most common is managing your diet, exercising, and taking surgical and nonsurgical options.
When removing an apron belly, make your overall health a priority and only stick to eating plans and exercises that improve your overall wellness.
How can I lose my apron belly?
Since we know what causes apron belly and that it is possible to lose it, let’s look at the best ways to lose the extra weight.
- Adjust your diet
They are healthy ways to lose weight, and your doctor can help you determine the best for you. Generally, you can lose weight with diet in the following ways:
- Eliminate refined carbs
Replacing refined carbs (like sugar, white bread, pastries) with whole grain foods (like potatoes, legumes, beans, oats) reduces your hunger levels and makes you consume fewer calories. It will also help your body burn down the stored fat and convert them to energy instead of you getting more carbs to run your day.
However, you must get your dietitian or doctor involved in your low-carb food since the long-term effects of low-carb diets are not known. So, you want to stay on the safe side.
- Consume more protein, vegetables, and fat
Even when trying to lose weight, ensure every portion of your meal has a source of protein, fat, and vegetables.
The healthy protein-rich foods to include in your meals are meats like chicken, beef, pork or lamb, eggs, fish and seafood.
Leafy green and low carb vegetables like broccoli, tomatoes, cauliflower, lettuce, cucumber, kale, spinach, etc., are also healthy.
Keep your protein intake highest when trying to burn calories. This is because protein is highly beneficial for weight loss. After all, protein keeps you full and has the highest thermogenic activity. Protein also has the highest energy demand, and your body burns more calories trying to digest the calories from protein.
About the fat, I know it sounds contrary, but your body will still benefit from some level of healthy fats when trying to lose weight. You can get healthy fats from Olive oil and avocado oil. If you choose to use coconut oil and butter, they should be in moderation as they have higher saturated fats.
- Try new recipes
Investing in a good cookbook is essential when losing weight with diet. It is easy to become bored and unmotivated by your regular recipes, and trying new ones within your target calorie intake can help keep your weight loss plan interesting.
Exercise is a quicker way of burning belly fat and reduces your risk of severe ailments like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, breathing problems, etc.
The best exercises for apron belly fat are:
- Walking or running
Brisk walking and running does a great job trimming belly fat. It burns calories pretty quickly and decreases your fat percentage.
Besides burning fat in the tummy area, brisk walking and running are the two best solutions for losing fat in every area. Also, the only equipment you need for this exercise is a pair of shoes. So what’s keeping you?
To make it easier, make running and walking a regular part of your training routine. Remember to warm up before starting the race and cool down when you feel tired.
- Elliptical trainers
If you feel like your joints are no longer as strong as when you were a teenager, and running or brisk walking is out, then you can use elliptical trainers for a low impact but intense cardio workout.
With just 30 minutes on an elliptical trainer, A person weighing 145 pounds can burn about 300 calories. That’s almost the same amount of calories you burn while running, except that your joints won’t wear and tear.
- Abdominal exercises
Several exercises can help tighten your abdominal muscles. These exercises will burn the fat and tone your tummy muscles. They include:
You may find it quite challenging to do planks until you are used to them. To do this exercise, lie on your tummy, place your two hands on the floor under your chest and lift your body. Ensure your feet are pointed down.
Breathe before starting this exercise and ensure your body is parallel to the ground when up. Stay in the position for about 30 seconds and keep your body weight well distributed between your feet and toes.
Repeat this exercise as much as you can to tone your abs and stomach muscles.
- Exercise ball crunch
This exercise engages numerous muscles, and you need a lot of stabilization to do it. For it, get a ball and lie on it with your lower back. Place your feet firmly on the ground for support. Put your hands behind your head or across your chest, lift your torso up and forward to contract your abs, and lie back down.
Inhale whenever you lower your back down and exhale when you crunch. Do this exercise in one to three sets and repeat about 12 to 16 times.
- The captain’s chair leg raise
You can do this exercise at home if you have the captain’s chair. If you don’t, you can find them in most gyms. This captain’s chair has a padded backrest and armrests for you to hold and hang your legs free.
For the exercise, stand on the chair and hold the handlebars and flatten your back against the pad as you raise your knees to your chest and lower your back leg
Straighten your legs while raising them to add more intensity. Do them in one to three sets for 12 to 16 times.
- Crunch and Vertical leg crunch
For crunch, you will lie with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Put your hands under your head and lift your upper body above 30 degrees. Keep your body in that position for 10 seconds or more and return to your normal position.
For the vertical leg crunch, it’s almost like the crunch, but this time you will keep your legs straight. Just like the crunch, lie on your back and put your hands behind your head. With straightened legs and crushed knees, flex your abs to raise your head and shoulder off the ground and lie back on the floor.
Throughout this exercise, ensure that your legs are suspended in the air. Breathe in when you flex and breathe out when you lie back down. Repeat this exercise about 12 to 16 times.
See the video below on how to do a vertical leg crunch.
- Surgical and nonsurgical procedures
Even after losing fat successfully around your tummy region, the apron belly may remain from the extra skin left behind. It is often difficult to remove this skin from diet and exercise. For this, you will need either surgical or nonsurgical treatment to get rid of the apron belly. However, these procedures are usually expensive.
This is a nonsurgical procedure that uses a laser to remove belly fat. It’s most potent for removing a little belly fat. It is also a great way of eliminating fat from other trouble areas beyond your abdomen.
Though highly successful, this procedure is unsuitable for breastfeeding moms or people with obesity and other medical conditions.
Like the name, a panniculectomy is a surgical procedure used to remove the abdominal pannus, which is the extra fat or skin that hangs around your pubic region. Apron is another name for abdominal pannus.
After this surgery, your abdominal skin will appear flatter than before.
The good news about this surgery is that it is not considered a cosmetic procedure, and your health insurance may cover it if you meet their criteria. Also, before your doctor performs a panniculectomy for you, you must meet some health standards like:
- having a stable weight
- being a non-smoker
- having realistic expectations
- having persistent infection or rashes from the apron belly
- being concerned about your overhanging tummy
How to prevent apron belly after weight loss
Weight loss around the tummy region may not be enough to remove the apron belly as some people have the extra skin sagging down when the fat is gone. This can be remedied by the medical procedures listed above.
However, people with minimal apron belly can prevent this when trying to lose weight. The following tips will help keep your skin from sagging after losing tummy fat.
- Lose weight slowly
Your skin will have little or no time to contract if you lose so much weight at once. So, instead of extra intensive exercises, focus on how you can lose about one to two pounds a week. This will allow your skin to have enough time to adjust to the change and contract appropriately.
- Eat enough healthy fats and proteins
Even when losing weight, your body needs protein and healthy fats to stay in shape. With the right amount of protein, your body can produce the required collagen to help your skin elasticity.
- Get a massage
Regular massage improves blood circulation and helps the skin retract. It is also a solution for cellulite which may occur after losing a lot of weight. This regular massage can be weekly or monthly, depending on your budget.
- Add supplements to your meals
Adding vitamins, C, K, A, and B complex supplements to your meals is a great way to improve your skin health. Some extra iron zinc supplements can also improve general health when losing weight.
- Lift weights
Most women avoid lifting weights because they are afraid of being too muscular. Weights, when used the right way, can help tone your muscles and skin so that they don’t look deflated.
- Increase your water intake
Water intake is one of the best ways to eliminate apron belly in women. When you wake up each morning, take at least two cups of water. Also take two cups of water before each meal to reduce the amount of calories you take in.
Besides, it prevents your skin from being dry and also improves its elasticity.
Though men need 16 cups of water daily, 12 cups are enough for women. If you are staying out of the house for the day, take an extra water bottle with you to ensure you have adequate water intake.
Apron belly can be removed through a combination of processes, but you must first know what causes apron belly. However, there are many ways to eliminate apron belly; both surgical and non-surgical. Go for the method that best suits you; but remember that exercise and healthy eating are necessary to keep it from coming back.
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