Coach Bex’s Story

My blog this week is a personal one and a slightly longer one than usual so bear with me. Following lots of questions, I have decided to write about my recent surgery.


So I have kind of filtered out information in dribs and drabs about my surgery, mainly because I was a little embarrassed back in June to admit that I would be taking a month out of work and 3 months out of training, essentially for a tummy tuck! But there is actually a lot more to it and I am finding over the weeks and months that pass that my doctor was right when he told me my condition is actually very common. More and more women, mums, are coming forward and sharing with me that they too had the same ailment and went through the same corrective procedure. It is even more common, it seems, with mums like myself who regularly train.


Believe it or not, despite myself and my husband being small, both of our babies were very large and during pregnancy my stomach was stretched beyond the norm! As a result, both labours, although natural deliveries, were very complicated. My body took a severe battering and that’s not an exaggeration!


A few months after having Isaac, a midwife checked me over and told me my abs were still a little parted but it was to be expected and that if I slowly started exercising and, in particular, “doing some crunches”, they would fuse themselves back together. Massive error!!


3 years on, a CrossFit coach and amateur competitor ?, my abs were in a worse state than ever! Admittedly, when i sought out medical attention it was more because my bulging belly made me feel miserable than anything else, but when I found that I actually had a severe diastisis recti and that I was extremely lucky to not be experiencing horrific pain from the training I was doing, my decision to go ahead with abdominoplasty was justified in my mind.


Repairing Diastasis with Tummy Tuck Surgery

Diastasis recti is a condition where the abdominal muscles are separated and no longer located next to each other. The most common cause of diastasis is pregnancy, and no amount of exercise can reverse the condition. When diastasis is caused by pregnancy there is a significant change in shape of the abdominal wall, even in extremely thin patients. This leaves the abdomen looking swollen. The condition is quite common, and studies have shown that it occurs in 35-62% of women.


The only way to resolve diastasis is through a surgical re-approximation of the muscles.  A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty surgery, is the ideal procedure because it not only corrects the separated muscles, but also removes the excess skin that is associated with a diastasis.


I want to reiterate that tummy tuck surgery for diastasis repair is not a procedure for the removal of excessive amounts of intra-abdominal fat. There was no liposuction for me unfortunately!! It is only done to reconnect the separated sides of the abdomen in order to create a tighter abdominal area.


My surgery was completed under general anaesthetic and took approximately 3 hours. The skin was cut hip to hip and then up to towards the rib-cage, mesh was inserted to close any bulging, the muscles were tightened using a corset-style stitch and the belly button was re positioned. After the excess stretched skin was removed, the remaining skin was released from the upper abdomen and pulled down to close the open area. Pretty full on!


The first few days after surgery were horrific. The pain, the nausea, the overall lack of ability to do ANYTHING! but slowly as the weeks went on, the pain and tightness began to ease. My return to training has been, in my mind, slow and frustrating but from talking to other ladies who have been through the same procedure, I am actually making relatively fast progress.


I wanted to share my experience with you because it is a very common condition that seems to be hidden due to embarrassment or worry of being perceived as vain. We have a lot of families training at our box, I want other mums to be aware of their bodies and mindful of the exercises they can and can’t do and also to know that our battered bodies, that we sometimes hardly recognise anymore after childbirth, can be fixed up pretty good ?


Of course, the abdominoplasty procedure isn’t limited to mums with diastisis, for me it was pregnancy that “destroyed” my tummy, but it can also be the answer for athletes who have worked their butts off to lose a large amount of weight and are left with a similar saggy tum.

I deliberated over this for quite some time as it is a very personal matter but here are my before and after (so far) photos.
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Don’t be afraid to consult your friends at the box about these kinds of issues, most of the time, we are not alone!


Coach Bex