I have revered and respected Julie as the founder of The Tupler Technique® ever since her program helped close the split in my abs that my surrounding fitness communities was ignoring and accepting as “normal.” When I wrote to Julie and asked for a guest post, I never dreamed she’d give me an open ticket. What did I want her to write about? Well, I wanted her to write directly to mommies about her heart for us, of course! Here is the letter and pictures she sent me…
“I know you are upset with the way your belly looks and feels. You know something just isn’t right. I know you feel like screaming if just one more person asks you when you are due! You may also have started having back problems, your posture is not so good and in general you just don’t feel good about yourself. You may even be down to your pre-baby weight….but still have your “mummy tummy.” If I could sit down over coffee with you, I would tell you three things. The real cause of your protruding belly, the effects on your body and how to get rid of it once and for all.
“You have tried dieting and exercise but nothing seems to work. You may have gone to your doctor or midwife to find out what you can do. The usual answer (I have heard from many moms) ranges from surgery to crunches! I am sure you have thought that surgery is just too drastic and not realistic with children. If you tried crunches or situps, I am sure you have discovered not only do they not help…they make your belly worse! I would like to support and encourage you in finding the solution. A solution that will change the way you move your body while participating in your life as a mom.
“So let me begin by telling you that you probably have a medical condition that is causing your protruding belly. It is called a diastasis recti. The word diastasis means separation and recti is the name of the outermost abdominal muscles. So it is a separation of the two outermost muscles. These two muscles are joined by a piece of connective tissue. In the middle of this connective tissue is your belly button. This is a weak spot in your connective tissue. Continuous force and pressure on this weak spot (ie growing uterus during pregnancy or doing lots of crunches) weakens the connective tissue and separates the muscles. These outermost muscles are your support system for both your back and organs. When the muscles separate it compromises the support system for your back and organs because now they are being supported by a weak piece of connective tissue instead of the muscles if they were together. This then is the cause of your back problems, poor posture, gastrointestinal problems, and your protruding belly (which is really your organs not being supported correctly).
“Closing a diastasis is all about healing the connective tissue. So for six weeks you have to be really kind to your connective tissue and let it heal as you focus on strengthening your inner most abdominal muscle called the transverse muscle. When people are talking about working the “core” they are talking about this muscle. So while doing my program, I believe it is important not to do any other exercise program other than walking for the first six weeks of the program! In week six of the program, I teach you how to exercise using your strengthened transverse muscle. Healing connective tissue means no intra-abdominal force, pressure or stretching of the connective tissue.
“I have been treating this condition of diastasis recti with moms during and after pregnancy for over 20 years. This condition of diastasis recti is a common condition causing unpleasant side effects. For some reason it is just neglected by the medical community. Thus why I am writing this blog to give moms an awareness that there IS a program they can do to treat this condition. When teaching pregnant women the Tupler Technique® to help them prepare for labor, I saw that as their bellies got bigger the diastasis was getting smaller. A physical therapist working with me was astounded that this was happening and suggested that I get research. Columbia University Program in Physical Therapy did the research and supported the fact that the woman who had done the Tupler Technique® program during their pregnancy had a smaller diastasis then the control group of women who had not done the program.
“The Tupler Technique ® is 4 steps and progresses over 18 weeks. It is not an overnight process or a quick fix to heal connective tissue. You must be committed to doing all 4 steps of the program. However, within the first three weeks you will see the connective tissue starting to heal and lose inches without having lost any weight. You will then be encouraged to continue with the program. I recommend taking before photos from the front and the side. That way you will see your improvement. I’d like to end by telling all you moms that if you want to start smiling more……. it is time to change your belly.”