Apron Belly: What It Is and How to Eliminate It

Written by: Erin Coleman,

B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer, The Fit Mother Project

Written by: Erin Coleman,

B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer, The Fit Mother Project

apron belly

Apron belly commonly occurs after weight gain, significant weight loss, or pregnancy, but you don't have to live with it!

If you experience apron belly (excess abdominal fat or skin) that hangs down and feels uncomfortable, it can drastically reduce your self-esteem and overall quality of life.

You might be wondering what causes apron belly, and how to get rid of it.

Knowing a few tips and tricks can help.

Let's learn all about the dreaded apron belly — and how to eliminate it once and for all!

The meno-pot belly is another thing you need to be aware of. Learn all about it here!

What is Apron Belly?

Apron belly, also known as mother's apron, happens when abdominal skin stretches and fat cells expand because of pregnancy or weight gain.

The result is often an apron-like flap of tissue that hangs down.

It may increase your risk of cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic diseases.

Apron belly can also:

  • Cause chafing
  • Feel painful or uncomfortable
  • Ruin your self-confidence
  • Cause bulges that show through clothes

Knowing what to do about apron belly is the key to optimizing your overall health, wellness, and self-esteem!

How Should I Eliminate Apron Belly Discomfort?

Chafing can occur as a result of apron belly in women.

To ease the discomfort you might experience, try anti-chafing creams, abdominal support bands or clothing, and keeping the affected area clean and dry.

While these at-home remedies can reduce pain associated with apron belly, the emotional problems you might encounter often warrant taking further action to get rid of excess, sagging fat or skin.

How Can I Get Rid of Apron Belly?

There are several surgical and non-surgical solutions that can help you eliminate apron belly and gain the self-confidence you deserve.

A Healthy Lifestyle Commitment

Know that developing apron belly can happen to anyone, even women who maintain healthy weights.

Pregnancy, hormone fluctuations, and prior weight loss can all contribute to stubborn fat pockets associated with apron belly.

Make a commitment to better health with lifestyle habit changes, but know that sometimes medical intervention is needed to achieve the perfectly flat midsection you long for.

Stay motivated by setting goals, recruiting friends and family to keep you accountable, and rewarding yourself for success!

Weight Loss

While loose, sagging skin can sometimes remain after reaching your goal weight, shedding pounds is one of the best ways to reduce or eliminate apron belly.

To get excess weight off, reduce your current calorie intake by about 500-1,000 calories daily.

Doing so often means you can drop about 1-2 pounds weekly and keep lost weight off long term.

Make dietary changes, get more exercise, and sign up for the Fit Mother Project 30X (FM30X) weight loss plan to boost your chance of success.

Dietary Changes

To aid in weight loss and reduce body fat, eliminate unhealthy foods like sodas, alcoholic drinks, sweets, other sugary foods, white bread, white rice, and additional refined grains.

Steer clear of fried foods, bacon, ham, hot dogs, deli meat, and other processed meats — and limit red meat to reduce your risk of developing certain types of cancer.

Increase your intake of non-starchy vegetables, including leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, bell peppers, mushrooms, asparagus, and zucchini.

Focus on getting plenty of protein foods. Examples include un-breaded chicken, turkey, fish, seafood, eggs, tofu, seitan, and legumes, as well as milk, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, protein shakes, and protein bars.

Choose avocados, olive oil, nuts, seeds, nut butter, olives, hummus, or other nutritious fats at each meal.

Instead of refined grains, pick whole grains like brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, oatmeal, and other whole-grain cereals.

Fill half of each plate with non-starchy vegetable and the other half with protein foods, fiber-rich starches, and heart-healthy fats!

Make a few small dietary changes, one at a time, until healthy eating patterns become habit.

Increased Cardiovascular Exercise

Boosting cardiovascular exercise is one of the best ways to increase calorie expenditure for weight loss, which helps reduce apron belly in men and women.

For example, jogging at a pace of 5.2 miles per hour or using an elliptical trainer helps a 155-pound adult expend about 335 calories in just 30 minutes!

Other forms of aerobic workouts include rope jumping, biking, cycling, rowing, swimming, and stair climbing.

If you normally complete 20-30 minutes of aerobic exercise daily, aim for 45-60 minutes instead when fat loss is your goal!

Learn about the best types of cardio for fat loss and the science behind cardio for WOMEN!


Strength Training

Strength training is one of the best ways to tighten and tone up, while reducing body fat.

Aim to work each major muscle group at least two times each week to minimize apron belly.

Work your legs, calves, glutes, back, abs, chest, shoulders, and arms!

Aim to complete at least two or three sets of 10-20 reps for each exercise.

Use weights, exercise bands, or your own body weight as resistance.

If you don't have any equipment at home, consider push-ups, squats, lunges, or chair triceps dips.

Should women lift weights? Discover all of the benefits to weight lifting for women!


Daily Abdominal Exercises

Daily abdominal exercises can shrink your midsection and apron belly.

Complete ab exercises most days each week whenever possible.

Consider the following tummy-tightening exercises to tighten and tone up your waistline:

  • Plank holds
  • Plank jacks
  • Plank rows
  • Shoulder touch planks
  • Side planks
  • Leg raises
  • Russian twists
  • Bicycle crunches
  • Sit-ups
  • Traditional crunches

Complete at least 10 minutes of ab exercises daily to achieve the results and level of confidence you desire.

Trying to get stronger abs and a flatter stomach? Start with this core circuit for women, an easy beginner ab workout you can do at home!


Increased Water Intake

Increasing your water intake is one of the best ways to reduce or eliminate apron belly in women.

Drink at least 2 cups of water when you wake up each morning, along with 2 cups of water before each meal to better control your calories.

Aim for a total of 12 cups of water per day for women (men need 16 cups daily).

Carry a water bottle with you throughout the day to ensure you're drinking enough fluids to drop weight and tighten your midsection.

Black coffee and unsweetened tea count too!

Flavor water with a tiny bit of 100% fruit juice, lemon, or fruit chunks to enhance its flavor if you'd like.

Besides water, here are some healthy drinks you can – and should – consume every day.


Alcohol Limitations

Drinking alcohol can hinder your efforts to get rid of apron belly.

It contributes to a higher calorie intake, but it doesn't offer your body any essential nutrients.

Alcohol consumption also increases your risk of developing certain types of cancer.

Drinking in moderation consists of one drink (or less) per day for women, and two drinks daily for men.

To give yourself the best chance of tight midsection, consider giving up alcohol entirely!

If you're unwilling or unable to do so, stick with drinking in moderation over excessive drinking.

Avoid mixing hard alcohol with sugary mixers like soda or lemonade.

Stay on top of your nutrition on the weekend by using these 5 weekend diet tips!


More Sleep

Getting enough sleep is one of the best ways to keep your appetite under control and optimize energy levels, which makes it easier to complete daily workouts and minimize abdominal fat.

In fact, studies show that sleeping less than seven hours each night is associated with a higher body mass indexes (BMI) and abdominal obesity.

Aim to get at least 7-9 hours of sleep by going to bed at the same time each night, sleeping in a cool, dark, quiet room, and avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and high-intensity exercise right before bed.

Steer clear of smoking altogether, and don't go to bed very full or hungry.

See your doctor if you struggle with sleep apnea and chronic sleep deprivation.

Try natural sleep aids over potentially addictive sleeping medicines.

Learn how to improve your sleeping habits, helping you to wake up feeling well-rested in the morning.


Reduced Stress

Stress can contribute to increased calorie consumption, unwanted weight gain, overweight, and abdominal obesity.

It can hinder weight loss when you're trying to get rid of apron belly.

To reduce or eliminate stress in your life, consider the following stress-relieving strategies:

  • Massage
  • Yoga
  • Tai chi
  • Meditation
  • Regular exercise
  • Outdoor walks or bike rides
  • Making your schedule less busy
  • Taking a vacation
  • Spending time with friends and family

Get rid of as many stressors in your life as possible, and don't be afraid to ask loved ones for help when you need it!

Learn how to deal with stress with these 5 quarantine stress relief techniques.


Mental Health Treatments

If you struggle with anxiety, depression, or another mental health disorder, it can lead to emotional eating and unwanted weight gain.

Seeking treatment to improve your mental health offers the best chance of healthy weight management.

Your doctor might recommend making lifestyle changes, taking certain medications, or going to counseling sessions with a therapist to enhance mental health and help you achieve or maintain a slim midsection.

Medical Weight Management

As women age, their estrogen levels tend to decrease over time, especially after 40.

This can lead to unwanted weight gain without proper treatment.

If you struggle getting excess abdominal fat off on your own, many primary care doctors offer medical weight loss programs.

They might prescribe appetite suppressants or give you a prescription for hormone replacement therapy, which can increase your metabolism to make weight loss easier.

Medical providers can also treat hypothyroidism and other hormone disorders, to increase your metabolism and accelerate weight loss.

Learn how to create a healthier lifestyle and body with these 5 actionable tips!


Non-Surgical Treatments

If a nutritious diet, regular exercise, and other healthy lifestyle habits haven't helped reduce apron belly and you've reached a desirable body weight, medical treatments can help you get the tight, toned midsection you long for.

See an aesthetics specialist to discuss laser treatments and other non-surgical options that can destroy fat cells in your abdominal area and reduce apron belly.

You might be a good candidate for non-surgical treatments if you have small fat pockets or loose skin in your midsection you'd like to have removed.

Surgical Procedures

Surgical procedures, including tummy tucks, are the best way to get rid of a severe case of apron belly.

If you've lost a significant amount or weight of you've been pregnant and have loose or sagging skin, talk with a plastic surgeon about surgical options.

They offer you anesthesia to put you asleep so you don't feel any pain before making an incision, cutting away excess skin and fat, and closing the incision make your belly tight and flat.

If you have diastasis recti, a condition that commonly occurs during pregnancy and causes abdominal muscles to separate, your surgeon can re-attached separated muscles in addition to removing excess skin and fat.

This can give you the perfectly flat midsection you deserve.

Consider non-surgical options over surgical tummy tucks when possible.

However, you might opt for surgery in severe cases of sagging skin that chafes or causes emotional distress.

Looking for signs you're a healthy woman? Try these 7 health tests you can do at home!


Which Apron Belly Treatment is Right for Me?

Everybody is different, which is why there's no one-size-fits-all solution for apron belly.

The first step toward reaching a desirable body weight, which means having a body mass index (BMI) of 18.5-24.9, is to calculate your BMI by:

  • Multiply your body weight (in pounds) by 703
  • Divide that number by your height (in inches)
  • Divide by your height (in inches) again

If you've already reached a desirable body weight and you still have an apron belly, increase the duration and variety of resistance-training workouts to tighten and tone up.

Get plenty of sleep and keep stress levels low.

If a healthy diet and exercise haven't worked to make your belly flat, consider laser or radiofrequency (non-surgical) treatments that destroy fat cells.

In severe cases of apron belly where loose skin flops around or causes chafing, consider talking to a plastic surgeon who can remove excess tissue, tighten your midsection, and help you gain the figure and confidence you desire.

It is important to have an effective fitness and weight loss approach, but which is the best?


I Struggle With Weight Loss: What Should I Do?

If you can't get excess abdominal weight off on your own, which is the case for many women, the Fit Mother Project team is here for you.

There's custom weight-loss meal plans, fat-burning workouts, online health coaching support, and more to help you reach your goal weight and eliminate stubborn belly fat for good.

When you sign up, you gain access to medical expert advice, nutritious recipes, weekly newsletters, nutrition and exercise education, and peer support through private social media groups.

The Fit Mother Project program has helped hundreds of thousands of members lose weight, get fit, and stay healthy for a lifetime.

Sign up for the Fit Mother Project 30X (FM30X) weight loss plan today or try a free meal plan and workout to reduce apron belly!

Erin Coleman
B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer, The Fit Mother Project

Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian with over 15 years of freelance writing experience.

She graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in nutritional science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and completed her dietetic internship at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Prior to beginning her career in medical content writing, Erin worked as Health Educator for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Internal Medicine.

Her published work appears on hundreds of health and fitness websites, and she’s currently working on publishing her first book! Erin is a wife, and a Mom to two beautiful children.

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