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Two Problem Body Areas: Too Little Butt, Too Much Gut!

by Lynn

I have a long twofold question. I would have asked separately but since the body parts are interrelated so might the questions be so I'm asking them together and including background info that might be helpful in answering.

The first is, I have a really flat saggy butt where, unless I scrunch up my muscles and hold, there's no definition at all between the top of my leg and the bottom of my buttocks...just one long slide down. :/

There's a decent curve on top where the back rounds out, so it looks like you're going to run into a shapely butt if you keep going but at the bottom it's just one long slide straight to my leg, like a downhill ski slope. I can't hold a scrunch 24/7 and even then it's not THAT much of a demarcation between leg and derriere.

Everything I read says to do squats and lunges but I have bad knees and those exercises and the variations I've tried are very painful and difficult, if not impossible, to do without my knees giving out. I can manage a few but then it's just too painful and I don't want to do any more damage to my knees.

Are there any exercises I can do (at home without equipment, not a gym) to lift and round out the buttocks and gain definition between my leg and the bottom that aren't stressful on the knees? I'm patient but I'd prefer ones that aren't so ineffective that it'll take 10 years to start showing a difference. :)

I do a few exercises aimed at the rear, like butt-lifts (lie on back, knees bent, lift butt, tense, hold, lower, repeat) and back-kicks, but they don't seem to help that much. I'm not genetically inclined to have a 'big booty' and, as popular as that look seems to be, that's not what I want or find attractive. I just want a firm, curved cute butt with definition. Is it even possible?

The second is, no matter what my weight, I still have a stomach. I understand the balance of diet and exercise that is needed to help flatten the tummy. The problem is, my tummy doesn't seem to understand it nearly as well.

I did put on almost 50 pounds over a period of several years (mainly during attempts to quit smoking) but over the last year and half I've lost that and have not only reached the original target weight but have lost a few more pounds than I'd gained.

I'm not quite satisfied yet, there's still a little flab around my mid-back and waist, not counting the stomach, so I'm aiming for another 5 - 10 pounds and we'll see how it goes from there.

There's still the stomach problem though. This has been a problem area my whole life, even as a child. I could be downright scrawny everywhere else but still have a gut.

I do a variety of different variations on crunches (depending on which ones I do, it can be up to 150 a day, and occasionally I end up doing more) working to strengthen and tone the underlying muscles.

Other than the couple inches around the sides and back of the waistline I'm really hoping I don't noticeably lose weight anywhere else. My legs are slim and everything is fine from the bustline up.

My BMI is 22.2, well within the normal range, but if you took off the weight of the gut it would probably approach close to the line of underweight. Is there anything else I can be doing to minimize the stomach?

Also, is there any truth to the talk of stress (and I've been under a huge amount of personal stress) and resulting increased cortisol levels leading to more bellyfat?

And lastly, how much can I expect the skin to tighten along with the muscles and loss of fat underneath? I don't have a big hanging stomach and folds of loose flesh but I do have some creasing in the middle area (outward from the belly button) and those two little pockets of fat in the area directly above my thighs and when I bend over there's hanging tummy. :( It HAS improved some as I lost the weight but since that's still where the extra weight that's left is concentrated it's hard to tell what to expect. (Also, this was already a problem before the major weight gain.)

Could I reasonably expect any of this to vanish or improve with exercise or as I lose a few more pounds? Is there anything that actually works to help this?

Facts that might make a difference: Let's just say, I'm not in the very first bloom of youth but I'm not anywhere near ancient either. The butt problem pre-dated the weight gain though it might be more pronounced now (or that could be my imagination because I'm more focused on it).

I exercise pretty much every day (I aim for every day, but sometimes only get around to 4 or 5 times a week) and I do exercises for the whole body but the butt and tummy are my big problem areas that need extra work. I've been exercising for several years, not something I just started, but I do add new exercises over time.

Even when I gain weight, my arms, legs and face stay slim unless I've gained a lot and I am afraid of losing too much weight in those areas but of course you can't pick and choose where you lose it. It mainly goes into the middle area with my stomach in particular drawing it like a super-charged fat magnet.

Conversely, even at a low weight where everything else is exactly where I want it to be, the stomach hangs on for dear life.

I eat a reasonably healthy diet, very rarely eat out or have fast food (maybe 3 or 4 times a year), roughly count calories (How to diet for weight loss isn't an issue), keep it lowfat (not fat-free), low salt, eat fruits and/or veggies (ick to most veggies but oh well) every day, don't eat a lot of breads, pasta, etc., love my sweets (what's life without chocolate?!) but don't overdo, and so on. I don't give up anything I like altogether but I practice moderation.

In good health, no major health issues (some joint pain, a grouchy irritable stomach sometimes), good blood pressure, and at my last physical all tests for body chemistry (cholesterol, blood sugar, etc.) were exactly as they should be.

Other than my love of chocolate (you're taking that away over my dead body...or yours!), the only really unhealthy thing I do is smoke and I've cut way down in the last few years (and still plan to quit, but one thing at a time.)

Do you need a little more help with your weight?

Comments for Two Problem Body Areas: Too Little Butt, Too Much Gut!

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Problem areas
by: Dr. Dan


You ask a number of interesting questions.

First, regarding cortisol, stress and belly fat: there is some truth to this, but it is only significant in extreme cases. People who take cortisol (or prednisone and other steroid hormones) for medical conditions do get wasting of the muscles and accumulation of fat around the middle. But the average person under stress does not have this problem.

Accumulation of fat around the middle is genetically and hormonally determined. In other words, if your body wants to store fat around the middle, then you will have fat around the middle. You've seen people with huge thighs and narrow waists, and you've seen people with big bellies and no hips at all. It's the hormones.

When you gain weight, especially if you gain weight in your younger years, you develop more fat cells. Later, when you lose weight, the fat cells shrink but they don't disappear. So you are left with these bulges where you would rather not have them. There is no practical way to make them completely disappear.

You ask if you belly might vanish if you lost some more weight. Since you are already very lean I don't think that will solve your problem. It may be that you need to gain some weight. If you were to add some muscle mass you might be happier with your body shape. As it is you might not have enough lean mass to make body shape you would be happy with.

To increase your lean mass you would need to concentrate on a heavy protein diet and increase your resistance exercises. If you don't want to go to a gym you can use exercise bands. You can do all the exercises you need with exercise bands.

Since your knees are a problem you will need to avoid over stressing them. But if you do heavy training for the hamstrings and gluteal muscles with the exercise bands you might see the results you are looking for.

Good luck,

Dr. Dan

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