Sports Medicine
A Crucial Period
Good Pain, Bad Pain
On Your Knees
Secondary Injuries
Imaging Technology
What's Sciatica?
The Female Athlete
Putting Your Feet First
Itis Schmitis
Too Much, Too Soon
Under the Influence
What's Goin' On?
Think Inches, Not Pounds
Preventing Vaginitis
That Painful Pull
Athlete's Heart
Exercise & Arthritis
Chilled to the Bone
Measuring Body Fat
Exercise and Your Breasts
Choosing a Sports Doctor
Lean on Me (Shoulder)
Exercise & Anemia
Exercise Abuse
Pelvis Sighting
Hand Aid
It's All in the Wrist
Back in Action
Altitude Adjustment
Tennis Elbow, Anyone?
Exercising in the Heat
Agony of the Feet
Restless Legs
Night Time Cramps
Birth Control Concerns
No Periods, No Babies?
Post Partum Prescription
Weight Loss Mystery
Undesirable Cooldown
To Brew Or Not To Brew
Fitness After Baby
Biking and Back Pain
Swimmer's Shoulder
A Hidden Athlete
Avoiding Osteoporosis
Drug Testing
Maximum Heart Rate
Headway Against Headaches
Torn Rotator Cuff
Fat Figures
Bloody Urine
Sag Story
Lackluster Leg
Bothersome Bulge
Gaining in Years
Taking It On the Shin
Aching Ankles
Hoop Help
Tender Toes
Meals For Muscle
Growing Pains
Hot Tips
High Altitude PMS
Personal Bests
Air Pollution
Ankle Blues
Heartbreak Heel
Yeast Relief

Bothersome Bulge

Fit Yet Flustered About Unwanted Weight

Q: Although I work out as best I can, I cannot get rid of the slight bulge in my lower abdomen. Is there any way to get rid of this fat deposit in this small but noticeable area? I feel good about all the other areas of my body, but this one problem is causing low selfesteem. Any suggestions?

Hoffman Estates, IL

A: Your problem and concern are common, but unfortunately not easy to solve. By virtue of either heredity or our female hormones, most of us are designed to carry a protective layer of fat around our thighs and abdomen. It is always the first to appear and the last to disappear during any chance in body weight.

A reserve of body fat is essential to us - a protective layer to prevent starvation, maintain normal menstrual cycles, and keep up immunity to infection. It is normal and healthy to have this little bulge, except in this thin-crazed culture.

We've all been told that spot reduction doesn't remove fat from one area. Fat will only be eliminated proportionally as a result of overall weightloss. Losing those last three pounds may be incredibly difficult and dangerous to your physical and mental health since your body's "set point" is adjusted to maintain that reserve portion of body fat.

Continue to work on your stomach muscles, since well-toned muscles will help a body area appear firmer. Make sure, however, that you work your stomach muscles and not your hip flexors. Abdominal muscles are the ones that control twisting and bending of the trunk, while hip flexors bend the hip joint.

You can get the most out of your stomach muscle exercises by bending your hips and knees to reduce the action of your hip flexors and to protect your lower back. Add a twisting motion to them to strengthen the two groups of oblique muscles that are often forgotten.

Also, check out your posture. Sway back (1ordosis), or a "slumping posture," may accentuate your stomach bulge. Try this. Stand up straight, ears over shoulders, tighten your stomach muscles, and tilt your pelvis and coccyx (tailbone) underneath and hold. Look in the mirror to see if the bulge is smaller!

Finally, although it is difficult in this thin-minded society, remember your own internal values. Develop your own standards of self-worth and happiness based on your overall health and fitness, instead of one particular part of your anatomy. Good luck!

About the authors: Carol L. Otis, M.D., is Chief Medical Advisor to the Sanex WTA and a UCLA student health physician. Roger Goldingay is a former professional soccer player. They are married and the co-authors of The Athletic Woman's Survival Guide.

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Table of Contents

Foreword: Billie Jean King

Comments by Barb Harris
Editor in Chief,
Shape Magazine

General Health
Common Medical Problems
Dental Health
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Eating Disorders
Alcohol & Other Drugs
Environmental Health

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