Weight loss is always tricky. I know many of us have been taught to think that losing weight is healthy or that your body should be at a certain number of pounds for health (and aesthetics).
That’s definitely not true on the aesthetic side, but not necessarily true on the health side either. Weight does not equal health. Our bodies are meant to be different and look different. If we all ate the exact same thing and exercised the same way, we would all still have different body composition, weight, and sizes.
When it comes to people having improvement in health markers with weight loss, there’s not a significant indication that it was the weight itself that made the difference. Instead, the lifestyle changes that created the weight loss in the first place are likely to make the most impact on your health, or in this case your pelvic floor symptoms.
So let’s look at that in terms of prolapse and peeing your pants.
The thought behind the weight loss statement might be that a reduction in weight equals a reduction in pressure on the pelvic floor from the excess weight and therefore a reduction in symptoms.
In theory, that seems good. But is it true?
We’re not sure. Some people will experience a reduction in symptoms while others will actually experience an increase in symptoms. How is that possible if you’re reducing pressure on the pelvic floor with decreased weight?
- Did you change your nutrition in a way that reduced your consumption of bladder irritants (like alcohol and caffeine) and promoted better bowel health and decreased constipation?
- Did a change in your nutrition and fitness habits lead to increased sleep or less stress?
- Were you able to progress your fitness in a way that promoted overall strength and allowed you to lift and move in your daily life without having to strain your pelvic floor?
- Are you still bearing down into your pelvic floor or holding tension just like you were before the weight loss?
- Was your weight loss a result of a drastic caloric deficit and excessive exercise not allowing your body the proper rest and fuel?
- Was the weight actually acting as a protective mechanism and adding some additional support to your pelvic floor?
The truth is that we just don’t know at this point.
Instead of focusing on weight loss, try increasing your healthy habits that we know can play a role in the reduction of symptoms.
- Increase sleep
- Decrease stress
- Drink more water
- Eat more vegetables (hello fiber and regular bowel movements)
- Limit alcohol and caffeine consumption
- Exercise (move your body in a way that you find enjoyable)
- Learn diaphragmatic breathing to help you connect to your pelvic floor
- Add in mobility exercises to help elongate the pelvic floor and reduce tension
By focusing on these habits, you may lose weight or you may not. Either way, you’re likely to feel better and have a better handle on your pelvic floor symptoms as a result.
If you’re ready to start lifting (and living again) without worrying about your core and pelvic floor, FIT for Women is for you. Get the mobility, core and pelvic floor progressions, and strength programming you need to help you navigate your symptoms.
If you want to take a deep dive on more core and pelvic floor topics, join my weekly Q&A email list. It may or may not also be the only place to snag a discount on programs. So run, don’t walk, to join.