My Mom Butt Story
Ladies…here’s a scenario you might be able to relate to.
You slowly come out of the bathroom, and in your hand, is a positive pregnancy test. You’ve been wanting this since you were a little girl, and the elation and excitement is overwhelming. Your imagination starts to race, and a flood of all the possibilities washes over your mind. Will it be a boy or a girl?
What names do I like? What colour will the nursery be? Will I get a ‘mom butt’?
And cue the cliché record scratching sound.
Even in all your joy… the potential ‘threat’ of developing the mom butt was powerful enough to invade and deflate your excitement – even if just for a moment.
The struggle is real.
Not five minutes after learning I was going to be a father, with a furrowed brow my wife turned to me and said, “you’re not going to let me get mom butt, are you? I don’t want it to look like a pancake!” I was so enthralled with the news that I was a little stunned that that’s where her focus was…
I guess that was just my male privilege showing.
‘THAT’S ME!’ you might be screaming at your screen right now, but don’t you worry – it can be addressed! This is the first part of a two part post that will offer you some strategies on how to rock dem apple bottom jeans (boots with the fur are of course required) and probably more importantly… not develop low back pain and other issues. Just kidding – it’s always about the jeans.
What is ‘Mom Butt’?
‘Mom butt’, or ‘heart bottom syndrome’ (a term coined by world renowned holistic health expert Paul Chek) is essentially the result of a dysfunctional abdominal wall – which is why it’s so common among women who’ve had children. The change in muscle tone through the core and pelvic floor reduces the body’s capacity to stabilize the spine while under gravity. So the body responds by recruiting the gluteus maximus (major butt muscle) to make up for a weakened core.
The glutes are power muscles, which means they are designed for shorter bouts of more intense activity – like jumping, sprinting, or twerking. These kinds of activities are relatively short (unless you’ve been taking some ‘twerkshops’ at the local Y, which my cousin’s mother recently started taking and she’s now doing private parties). But stabilizing the spine is a full-time job, and the ole spine doesn’t really care about your mad twerking game – it’s more than willing to flatten your lady lumps to maintain stability.
Over time, the glutes will atrophy (shrink) because they aren’t ever given any time to recover. Eventually, from the back your prized ‘ass…et’ now looks like you’re sitting down even when you’re standing up. You’ve gone from apple bottomed to apple sauce bottomed, and without the core, pelvic floor, and glutes to hold everything together… your poor spine is left to fend for itself.
It’s like letting your 3-year-old help with chores like folding clothes– sure it’s cute that they’re trying, but they are horrible at it and you just end up having to redo it all.
But to be clear, HBS doesn’t just affect Mom’s, it can affect anyone. Pregnancy is definitely a contributor (especially a Caesarean delivery) to having a pancake-butt sculpted by Aunt Jemima, but it’s not the only reason. There is another major mechanism that changes the tone and function of your abs, and it involves something you’ve probably heard a lot about. Inflammation.
In order to accommodate the increase of fluids to the inflamed area, any surrounding musculature (like the abdominal muscles in this case) are told to relax, which allows the inflamed tissues more room to expand as they receive the necessary fluid.
Kind of like when you undo the top button of your jeans during Thanksgiving, after eating well past the point of hating yourself.
This process is called ‘reflexive inhibition’, and while it’s a necessary short-term strategy, it’s not something you want to experience long-term… unless incontinence is a hobby.
The longer the inflammation persists, the longer the muscles are turned off. Eventually your organs start to drop down because they aren’t being properly held in place. And that’s when you’re picking up Depends at Costco because you can’t sneeze, cough, or laugh without piddling everywhere because your poor bladder is being flattened by all your innards.
When I see people in the gym with obvious signs of abdominal dysfunction, doing crunches as if they were on fire and it was the only way the flames could be extinguished… it worries me. Not just because they are wrecking their spine, but they are wasting their time. They are trying to use muscles that are turned off because of inflammation, and ladies… you’re pancaking your butt in the process – and contributing to the 401K of all the mom-jean manufacturers.
You might be thinking, ‘uh, reflexive inhibit…I don’t care! Tell me what to do about it!’ And in my best Wooderson impression I would say – ‘patience darlin, patience!’
There are two things you’ll need to do:
- Reduce inflammation so your abs can be turned on
- Turn your abs on with corrective exercise
For now, let’s just focus on reducing inflammation and in a later post we will learn how to restore proper abdominal function and tone.
Controlling inflammation through diet is probably the best bang for your buck, and one of the best ways is to use a food journal while using a rotation diet.
It’s pretty simple – you just rotate your protein sources over a 4-day period.
Day 1 – Beef/Lamb/Liver/Anchovy
Day 2 – Chicken/Eggs/Tuna/Turkey
Day 3 – Pork/Rabbit/Venison/Sole/Halibut/Flounder
Day 4 – Shrimp/Clam/Scallop/Salmon
I find it easiest to start the day at ‘dinner’, that way you can use your leftovers for breakfast and lunch if needed.
So you’d have beef for dinner, maybe a whey protein or beef collagen smoothie for breakfast (if breakfast is your thing), and then leftover beef for lunch. Dinner would then be chicken and so on.
The food journal will help you correlate certain foods to certain feelings, and this is crucial to the process. Make sure you’re including headings like:
- Mental Clarity
- Physical Symptoms (Gas/Bloating)
I personally like to be descriptive, as I feel that context is important, but if you’re more of a numbers person, you could also use a number system too – like a scale of 1-5. Ate some tiramisu and needed a nap after? That’s a 1. Ate some liver pate and now you feel like fist fighting a gorilla with sharks for arms? That’s a maybe a 5.
The bottom line is you need to know how foods make you feel. I’ve got just the example…
After witnessing some amazing twerking at a private party, you become inspired to learn this ancient craft. You enroll at the local Y for a series of twerkshops, and you realize that twerking is a lifestyle.
Your instructor Stac-E notices your savant like abilities, and she sees your great potwerktential.
A few weeks go by, and after some uncharacteristic performances, Stac-E asks you to stay after class for a few minutes. She asks why you ‘bin slippin like you got the Miley Cyrus virus’. You don’t really have an answer. You just promise to keep practising, but you’re starting to get the feeling that maybe things aren’t going to twerk out.
Then… a moment of serendipity happens. Your food journal falls out of your bag, and as you bend down to pick it up, you notice something important. Pork days were twerkshop days…
Eureka. Your diligence paid off.
You decide to cut pork out for a little while to see how you feel, and when the next twerkshop rolls around, Stac-E can’t believe how on fleek you are. ‘Ooh! Gi’me mo’ gravy on that TWERKY!’
And it’s all because you associated the foods you were eating with your performance. Less inflammation means more firmness in the front, and buoyancy in the back.
Rotation dieting also increases food variety. ‘Variety is the spice of life’, my interpretive dance teacher used to say, and the majority of people only eat about 10-15 foods, which limits their nutrient potential.
Foods to Avoid
The other major part of reducing inflammation through diet is avoidance – and here is a short list of things to avoid if you’re serious:
- Gluten/Grains in General
- Industrial Seed Oils (Canola, Corn, Soy – all vegetable oils)
- Soy Products
Most of these are classified ‘avoid in general to be healthy’ – especially the industrial seed oils. They are very toxic and will definitely give you the ‘Miley Cyrus virus’. If you find that you can tolerate raw, organic dairy with no issues – then I hate y… I mean please enjoy responsibly.
Given the stressful nature of modern living (like getting less shrimps than you remember in your entrée at Red Lobster, and sharing a planet with the Kardashians), our ability to handle stress depends on the health of our digestive system and gut bacteria. Sometimes we need outside inputs and smart supplementation to give the body the tools it needs to be healthy.
Some of my favorites include:
- Megaspore – a potent probiotic that reduces inflammation and produces antioxidants right in your gut!
- CBD (Cannabidiol) – a cannabinoid from the cannabis plant (sorry Snoop, no THC) that has powerful anti-inflammatory benefits.
- Proteolytic enzymes – these little guys help break down proteins and are excellent at reducing inflammation. I like Fibrenza the best.
So. There you have it.
Food rotation using a food journal and some smart supplementation…
You’ll be calming down the immune system in no time, which then sets the stage for that butt to pop like an airbag – which reminds me of the time I hit that parked car while scream-singing ‘Fat-Bottomed Girls’ by Queen. My hamster passenger Otis, did not appreciate the singing, nor the impact. Sorry little buddy!
In the next post we will talk about some corrective exercises to help improve the function and tone of your abs.
But for now, start using a food rotation diet with a journal, and smart supplementation so you’ve got those habits locked in. It will make the next post so much more powerful and effective.
Until next time…
Stay twerky my friends.