When I announced that I was part of The Tummy Team, I heard quite a few remarks like this:
- But you don’t even have a pooch!
- But you look good for having seven kids! (I always wonder if that’s a veiled insult. If you looked like this after two kids, whoa and yikes, but the fact that you gave birth seven times and you’re standing mostly vertical is amazing.)
- Why are you so hard on yourself? You shouldn’t be expected to look perfect.
And my favorite, which gets an extra cookie for creativity and making me laugh:
- You’re not qualified to review this! That’s like putting a 20-something on a Depends commercial.
To this I say yes and no…or no and yes.
The fact is that appearance-wise, no, my abs have never been much of a problem area. I carry my imperfections a bit lower. (If there’s a Butt and Thigh Team, sign me up!) Plus I keep my clothes on, which does quite a bit for my overall look. I recommend that fashion statement—fully clothed—to people everywhere.
The other fact is that, despite my general lack of excessive pooch, yes, I am an ideal candidate for The Tummy Team.
You see, Friends, The Tummy Team is not only about how you look. That’s just a side benefit. It’s about strengthening the integral structure of the core of your body. It’s about giving your foundation an overhaul, healing the cracks and stabilizing the supporting beams. To borrow a term from Kelly, The Tummy Team Master as I like to call her, it’s strengthening your “corset,” the abdominal muscle that runs from your spine all the way around to the center of your abs, up to your ribs, and down to your pelvis.
When your corset has its rear in gear and is supporting you like it’s supposed to, everything works better. For me that means a few vital things:
1. The spine is supported.
My goal in that area is that my posture will improve, which is an enormous issue for me. I have weak “standing up” muscles and pop my hips out one way or the other like a dancing girl from the 80s. I also slump my shoulders, stick out my tummy, and rest my hands, purse, or baby on the resulting “shelf.” It ain’t pretty. (Well, the baby’s pretty…just not the shelf.) Stronger sit-and-stand muscles are useful for everything I do in a day, except, maybe, doing my Shaggy imitation. I need them to work for me, not against me.
I also have frequent pain from mild scoliosis in my upper back, an over-extended lower back, and a forward-protruding neck. I’m a vision. I used to visit the chiropractor for realigning my spine and for fixing an extremely painful rib displacement, but I didn’t have the muscle control to hold it all where it needed to be. Plus, on the road, it’s tricky to find a chiropractor…and some of them are expensive. I’m hoping my muscles can help prevent future problems, ‘cuz I don’t want pain or the depression into which it plunges a person.
2. The organs function better.
I like well-functioning organs as much as the next guy, but I’m more concerned about my daughter Hannah, whose organs have to last longer than mine do, and who was handed an extra challenge to rise above in the form of her Crohn’s Disease. The program should help her overall digestion and intestinal function as part of her gradual big-picture survive-and-thrive healing protocol.
3. The surrounding muscles operate more reliably.
I don’t want to become a 40-something on a Depends commercial. I had seven children. That’s 63 beautiful months of pregnancy…well, the puking wasn’t so pretty. Besides the extra silly putty skin seven pregnancies have left around my middle (great for entertaining the kids) those seven beauties did a number on my bladder. I mean, like a tap dance number. I had one particularly difficult pregnancy during which I got severely ill with bronchitis during the later stages, and coughing and sneezing and leaking was out of control. My pelvic floor muscle (the one that keeps people off the Depends commercials) isn’t what it used to be. Sneezing on a full bladder used to be a problem. I want to make that an un-problem, and I’m seeing baby steps in that area.
I will admit that learning proper kegals in week four is hard. It’s hard. But, hey, I’m exercising a muscle. Pull-ups are hard if you don’t do them. And, just like pull-ups, it’s getting easier. That’s exciting to me. Not like chocolate and pie exciting, but super close!
Did she just admit she leaks when she sneezes? Yes, I did! Honestly, People, you should know by now that I keep it real.
4. The back is stronger overall.
That means I can carry my baby longer. Does that need any further explanation?
5. The brain and body learn to work together properly in the real world.
Through Kelly’s training, we are learning everything from how to get out of bed to proper potty posture (yeah, there’s some potty talk). Applying what we’re learning helps prevent further damage or future re-injury, and it enables us to exercise those muscles in a practical, everyday manner, until it becomes second nature. It’s not unlike word problems in math. Some of you are saying “Oh, I get it,” and the rest of you are saying, “I hate math.” Hating math is irrelevant. The point is that if you can subtract 75 from 100, but you can’t figure out that paying a buck for a 75-cent chocolate bar gives you 25 cents in change, your math training was useless. The Tummy Team teaches you how to make change.
6. The abdominal region looks more “even” and controlled.
A side benefit to all of this is that the abdominal region doesn’t pooch out. I don’t mind a little pooching, because I don’t expect to look like a supermodel. I was given brains over beauty. (Ha, little joke there. Ha. I’m not really that full of myself. Ha. Ha. Hmmm. Okay, not funny.) I do, however, mind pooching when I know it’s putting excess strain on my back and making it harder for me to live life the way I’m supposed to. Plus, I am 40, which my husband tells me rounds up to 50. I know whatever pooch I’m dealing with now will only get bigger over the next ten years and exacerbate any current problems. I’m not cool with that. I’m not really cool at all, but that’s irrelevant.
There you go. That’s it in a nutshell…or a bowl of nuts, really. That’s why I’m part of The Tummy Team. Plus this girl, Kelly, she’s super sweet, smart, and helpful, and really has a heart for helping people. Love her!
Have I seen improvement?
Indeed I have. I have gained an awareness of my core (yeah, a month ago I would have said SO WHAT?! to that, too.) and have “engaged” it to be an active, helpful participator in my life, not just a droopy little tag-along. What does that mean? I’m stronger! My posture is better. Hannah’s middle is toning up and trimming out. The exercises from the first week that seemed to puny became hard, and then easy, and now they’re second nature. Second nature is a pretty big deal for someone who forgets to brush her teeth some nights.
I’ll be talking to you a little more about this in a couple weeks, and about 0ne particular benefit I’ve seen that I’m excited about. Plus, Hannah and I will be sharing our progress and hosting a giveaway after we have graduated. If you’re not a subscriber, jump on board to get the low-down on the giveaway. Maybe there will be cookies. (Cookies don’t contribute to a pooch. Yes, I’m in denial.)
If you have any questions I can answer in my next review, please let me know in the comments below, or check out The Tummy Team.
(As of 11/14/13, I am an affiliate for The Tummy Team, so this post now contains affiliate links.)