I AM ASKED ALL THE TIME, ‘HOW DO I MEASURE DIASTASIS RECTI?’
‘Do I measure the gap when my head and shoulders are resting on the floor, or raised up?’ ‘How high up to I lift?’ ‘Is the real size of the gap when the muscles are relaxed or when they are engaged?’ ‘Why is my gap wider at some points than at others?’ ”My gap is larger at night than in the morning. Which is the right measurement?’ ‘I get more doming of my abs when I raise my head higher / when I do a straight leg lift / when I lift my shoulders… which one is the true measurement?’.
HERE’S THE THING. IT DOESN’T MATTER ALL THAT MUCH.
All the ways of testing diastasis recti (you can watch a video here) but please when you go watch it, do it ONCE, then leave your tummy alone and come right back here) – all of them exert intra-abdominal pressure and contract the rectus abdominis muscle temporarily to enable you to feel the gap between the 2 parts of the muscle and to approximate the width of that gap with your fingers. But all this lifting and exerting pressure and poking and prodding, the reason it causes your abs to dome is because your core is compromised and can’t do its job to withstand that pressure. If one way of testing makes it dome more, and gives a wider or stronger measurement, then you’re applying even more pressure. What this means is, all that obsessive testing is making it worse.
STOP DOING IT!
Every time you ‘test’ it, you’re putting it in a position that exacerbates the problem. The advice and the exercises are the same whichever way you test it, so focus on the SOLUTION instead. Really, the measurement is SO not important. You want to establish whether there is a gap there, whether your core is not as stable as it could be, and to get an approximate measurement of that in finger widths, so you can have an idea of progress as you get stronger. Your finger widths. Remember, people have different size fingers… this is not a exact science. There’s a gap, that’s all you need to know. Make some changes and take steps to repair your core, and wait until you have been doing these daily restorative exercises, stretches and alignment adjustments for AT LEAST 2-3 weeks, before you test it again. Seriously. You don’t need to keep poking. If you ‘test yourself’ every day, or if you’re not doing the work… It’s the same as it was yesterday, Mama…. leave it alone!
I’ve said this lots but I’ll say it again…
THE GAP IS NOT THE PROBLEM – IT’S A SYMPTOM.
The the cause of the gap – is a core that is not functioning optimally because it is not aligned right, not connected right and as a result is plain not working. The pressure’s all going the wrong way. Your core is struggling and the rest of your body tries to compensate and nothings’ quite where or doing what it should be. Focus your energies on realigning, walking, strengthening. Try to start trusting+ listening to your body’s signals, rather than straining your poor abs, sticking fingers in your stomach and getting annoyed when they keep disappearing.
The exact same principle applies to weighing yourself on the scales regularly. If your diastasis, or your waist measurement, or the severity of your core weakness measures an 1, 2 or 3, X, Y or Z on the whatever-scale… If your weight or your dress-size is bigger than you think it should be by any totally relative, subjective criteria (which they all are btw…) how does the solution differ? It really doesn’t.
It’s the same. We take baby steps. Towards better alignment, more walking and stretching, more self awareness, mindfulness of movement, more self love, fresher, more nutritious food… The baby steps, the stuff we try to do more of to feel better – it’s the SAME. So please, for the love of all things Holy, stop poking and prodding and measuring and weighing your body. And even more importantly (because they usually go hand in hand) stop criticizing and punishing and feeling disappointed or angry with your body. Poke, prod, measure weigh… feel bad, feel shamed, feel guilty, feel mad. This ain’t rocket science, this is self preservation – stop doing what makes you feel like crap!
I know how obsessed some of you get with the scales, or the precise finger-width of the gap in your abs. I know it can be hard to stop measuring… but just try to start today – just for today, don’t measure anything. Then tomorrow, wake up, consider whether the world stopped turning as a result (it probably didn’t) and then don’t measure yourself that day either. What you will realise is that all that measuring stuff has ONE effect: it made you feel bad.
PLEASE DEAR MAMAS, LIFE IS TOUGH ENOUGH. STOP DOING STUFF THAT MAKES YOU FEEL BAD.