Week 3 Wrap Up: Diastasis Recti Rehab

Today marks the completion of 3 weeks of Diastasis Recti Rehab following the Tupler Technique. I met with Dawn yesterday for my 3 week check-in so we could discuss the past 3 weeks, take measurements, progress photos, and talk about the new exercises I will pursue for weeks 4 – 18.

Wow, so, I was totally not expecting this, but I have some noticeable results to share. Before I started the program my measurements were as follows:

Body Circumference under chest: 29 inches, at waist: 30 inches, at belly button: 32 inches

Here’s where I’m netting out after 3 weeks of religiously following this program:

Body Circumference under chest: 29 inches, at waist: 29 inches, at belly button 29.25 inches!

Additionally, and most importantly, Dawn checked the strength of my Linea Alba (connective tissue that runs down the center of your abdomen that holds your muscles together) and she said there was a palpable difference in its strength and elasticity.

While the exercises increased in difficulty during the past 3 weeks, I actually found the most challenging part to be consciously holding my transverse abdominals inwards throughout my daily activities. You literally have to train your mind to think about holding in your abdominals before do anything – even coughing, which is really hard to do.

I’m interested to see how the next couple of weeks go. We add to the exercises tomorrow (week 4) by adding some head lifts while lying on the floor. This is where things start to become a little less convenient. I’ve been able to do weeks 1-3 while driving in my car on the way to work, and at my desk without a soul knowing. I probably can’t get down on the floor at work to do head lifts, so, I need to think about a strategy here!

I’m still so curious to see if these measurements/progress/etc. still hold true after the program is over. I’ve read some blogs by other people who have tried this who say their abs/stomach kind of morphs back into what it was a few days after no longer wearing the splint. I’m still also wondering what the long-term situation will be. It sounds like a lot of modification down the road as one instance of, for example, playing tennis and twisting you body too much could possibly cause the separation to happen again??

Here are some images of the end of week 3! I really, really wish I never got my belly button pierced (my mom is definitely shaking her head somewhere).

Damn you Diastasis. And Victoria’s Secret.

I hit a bit of a low yesterday. I feel it necessary to share the highs and the lows because post-maternal fitness is not always pounds shed and skinny jeans fitting again and flowers and rainbows. Sometimes it is about actually crying in front of your 6 month old and speaking to her like an adult and warning her about pregnancy and childbirth as she stares at you and breaks out into cute little 6 month old giggles. Ahem, not that I did that yesterday or anything.

What prompted this downward spiral of negativity, you ask? I had a conversation yesterday with an old friend, who has studied physical rehabilitation, anatomy, and physiology intensely to become an athletic trainer. She told me she actually wrote her senior thesis on Diastasis Recti and she swears it is impossible to heal your connective tissue (the linea alba is the connective tissue that pulls your abdominal muscles together and keeps them from separating) once it has been weakened or stretched, therefore the only way to truly “fix” your Diastasis Recti and not live an altered life is via surgery.

Here are some of the thoughts that immediately entered my head as I mourned the loss of my mid-section and its contents:

“Are you f—— kidding me? As if pregnancy and childbirth aren’t hard enough we have to live with the aftermath for the rest of time?”

“Why did this happen to me? Why couldn’t this have happened to someone who doesn’t like to exercise or use their body?”

“Men are so the weaker sex. It’s unbelievable how they get to just coast through life being men. I can’t believe I’m raising a tiny man. How do women seriously not rule the universe already? ”

“F— you ab rollers, ab transformers, ab everything. And to hell with all of your models, especially the ladies, in your commercials”

Also, “lucky me, I’m so glad a Victoria’s Secret catalog arrived in my mailbox yesterday. Are you trying to emotionally stab me, Victoria??”

“How does the medical industry actually consider this surgery cosmetic (a.k.a. not covered by insurance) instead of medically necessary when it causes lower back and hip issues, weakened pelvic floor, urinary incontinence, and possible trauma to your abdomen?? Do you know my friend’s aunt, whose kids are in their twenties, went to the bathroom the other day and her bladder practically fell out?? How was fixing her situation not considered medically necessary??”

I told you it wasn’t pretty. Or PC. It was a low, people. I’m a human.

I reached out to Dawn immediately. She told me to keep it moving. She said that it’s not easy, and it takes a LONG time, but, it is possible to heal your connective tissue. She said you will still have to work at it for the rest of your life and keep up with your transverse abdominal exercises every day, but it is possible, without surgery.

So, here goes Day 10. Keep it moving. Trying not to think about what the next steps are or could be until I see this program through to the end.

Post-Pregnancy Project: Diastasis Recti Rehab Day 7 Results

Yesterday marked the end of week 1 of my Diastasis Recti Rehab using the Tupler Technique. While I didn’t expect the results of week 1 to be dramatic, I do have a few items worth mentioning. I’ve also included images of Day 1 of rehab and Day 7 – it might be wishful thinking but I think I do feel and see a difference! Here’s what I found out:

  • THE REAL CORE: Wow, I had no idea how weak my core was! Here I am thinking I have a pretty strong core because I can do planks and complete all of the bootcamp abdominal exercises, etc. etc. When push comes to shove, it was all for show! The exercises I had to complete in week 1 were pretty challenging for me, especially the 100’s. I’ve never thought about the innermost core of your body, what people actually mean when they say “your core” and how challenging it is to exercise those muscles. While the exercises are still tough, especially as you kick it up a notch in week 2, I can definitely feel myself getting stronger.
  • THE SPLINT AND I ARE LIKE PEAS AND CARROTS: I’ve gotten used to wearing the splint. I don’t feel like a pig in a blanket as much anymore. In fact I kind of like wearing it because it serves as a constant reminder to engage my transverse abdominals throughout the day. It’s also kind of like my own pair of rehab Spanx keeping everything smooth and tight under my clothes – it’s the little things. I was even able to go running with it on – although the Tupler Technique recommends you do not engage in any exercise during the first 6 weeks of the program, I think I would lose my sanity, and my family would kick me out of the tribe for being a major B—- if I did not exercise for 6 weeks. It may set me back a bit (hopefully not) but you have to do what works for your life. I went slow enough that I wasn’t completely breathless and could keep my transverse engaged throughout.
  • CABBAGE PATCH KID OUTIE, BE GONE: While I still am a member of the “outie” belly button family, I do think it has receded a bit! Looking forward to the prospect of not seeing my belly button anymore in the coming weeks.

Here are some images of my journey so far. Side note, Mom, if you’re reading this, I wish I had never gotten my belly button pierced. You were right.

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