Weeks One-Three of Diastasis Rehab

I found in my first week of implementing Julie Tupler’s “Mummy Tummy” program that it was easy to forget to do what I was supposed to.  I needed to provide cues so that I’d do all the sets.  Anytime I was in the kitchen preparing or cleaning up meals, I’d pop in the DVD and listen to the information, retaining a bit more each time.  If it was the part of the DVD where Julie walked us through a set of the exercises, I did them along with her while scrubbing dishes.  I found regular opportunities through the day to cue myself to get a set done, like at each meal or on each trip to and from Little One’s preschool.  I was getting the sets done most days.

You are supposed to wear your splint all the time so that the connective tissue is properly supported and can heal–a critical step in the whole process.  Having only one splint made things interesting since I like to exercise (and therefore get sweaty) every day.  It was clear that we were going to need to purchase a second splint so that I could wash my splint without doing damage by not wearing one as it air dried.

One thing that disappointed me was how many exercises I used to do that I could no longer do.  By my understanding, Julie Tupler does not believe that crunches are safe abdominal exercises for anyone, whether or not they have a diastasis.  I’ve been working out even more intensely since about June, doing lots of planks, burpees, and so on…and none of those moves were going to be safe anymore.  I have to be careful how I lie down and get up, and I really need to keep my belly button pulled in as I go throughout the day, especially to prevent forceful forward movement (such as when you sneeze).

I tried doing a lot of walking at first, but I really missed the way my body felt after more intense workouts, so I went to doing interval training–short bursts from anywhere of 15 seconds to a minute with recovery periods between.  I normally limited these workouts to 20 minutes and only did moves that didn’t push my organs forward onto the connective tissue (goodbye, planks) and avoided twisting my upper body (which widens the gap).  I wanted to be fully commited to the process and to my healing, but I had a divided heart that wanted to keep up my intense workout regimen and burn off the belly fat while closing up the muscles.  I had made dietary changes, too, and was just antsy to see results.

Now that I’ve finished up week three, I do see results.  If  I take my splint off and leave it off for a short period of time (shhhhh…don’t tell Julie Tupler) so that everything unsquishes fully, I see that my belly button finally stays in where it should be–after more than three years!  This is pretty exciting.  I may have “lost” half an inch, too.

Let me be honest with you: the splint hurt at first.  I’d wake up in the night with quite a bit of discomfort, but if I read comments and boards online, I heard other people mentioning the same thing, and it seems to be related to the healing of the connective tissue.  Now and then I just couldn’t take it and would rip the velcro off with guilty pleasure and enjoy my freedom (carefully…hey, I don’t want to undo my hard work)!

Today I took a few risks during my workout doing moves that Julie probably wouldn’t approve of, but I modified them so that I could at least try to keep my belly button at “fifth floor”, as Julie describes it.  I’m hopeful that the splint will help prevent further damage from occuring, but it was rubbing me the wrong way.  She suggests wearing a shirt underneath it, but I find that it slips around too much.  Regardless, you have to reposition it a few times a day.  I’m tugging around at it every time I’ve sat down or stood up.  How many times a day does one do that?  Right…but I’m convinced that these efforts are worth the chance that it might just all pay off, and so far, I’m still on board!

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