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Obesity and Weight Management

Underweight with big stomach!

09/15/2006

Question:

Hello Doctor,

I`m now 24 years old and female. I`m petite at 5"1 but I have always been underweight, on average I used to be about 94lbs and only slightly higher on occasion. I weighed recently at 101 lbs which would be great except for the fact that I don`t notice any change in any part of my body except a once flat stomach that has ballooned over the last 6-10 months.

A doctor once told me that I`m not a body type that gains weight easily so my best chance of gaining weight was a high protein diet and free weights.

I`m not an active person and always avoided very active sports and aerobics because I didn`t want to lose weight which I do very easily. I have always eaten a lot of pasta and rice meals but it didn`t used to make a difference.

Now, I want to lose the way too big stomach and yet maintain whatever true fat gain I may be experiencing. What should I do?!?

Answer:

You may be able to ‘sculpt’ your stomach by doing a few simple exercises that would firm the stomach muscles. Sit-ups and leg lifts would use those muscles. This would minimize the amount of fat in the stomach area. Overall though, your stomach is probably appropriate for your height and weight. The human body has some curves in it, and one area is the stomach.

Your body type may naturally have a little more curve in this area than someone else’s. However, if you feel that it has really ‘ballooned’ you might have your doctor check you out to make sure that you don’t have some fibroid tumors in your uterus. They can get fairly large sometimes and make you look pregnant.

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Response by:

Sharron   Coplin, MS, RD, LD Sharron Coplin, MS, RD, LD
Former Lecturer
Food & Nutrition
College of Education and Human Ecology
The Ohio State University