Whether you have plans to wear a two-piece on the beach or want to be able to pull off a form-fitting dress at an upcoming event, you might long for a flatter stomach. The size of your abdominal area can vary throughout your life, and even from day to day, based on what you eat, how much you’re exercising, and whether you’ve lost a lot of weight or had children.
How you achieve a flatter stomach varies based on what’s causing your tummy trouble. It might be that a few quick diet fixes help to minimize bloating. If the issue stems from extra fat or skin, a surgical procedure may be the most appropriate option for you.
A tummy pooch isn’t always due to extra fat or extra skin in the abdominal area. In some instances, your stomach might stick out more than usual because of something you ate. Bloating in the abdominal area doesn’t just make your stomach look bigger, it can also cause a fair amount of discomfort. While bloating can be connected to more serious conditions, such as heart or liver disease, if you are in good health, the most common cause of it is gas.
There are several ways to minimize gas and decrease bloating in the tummy area. Sometimes, gas can be due to you swallowing extra air. If you usually eat quickly, drink a lot of carbonated beverages, or chew gum, you might be contributing to a bloated belly without realizing it.
In other cases, foods that seem healthy, such as dairy or raw vegetables, can be behind the bloat. If you’re lactose intolerant, for example, your digestive system has trouble breaking down lactose, possibly leading to extra gas. The process of digesting uncooked vegetables can also cause extra gas. It’s worth discussing your concerns with a doctor if you think a certain type of food is contributing to bloat.
Don’t Forget to Exercise
While you can do crunches until you’re blue in the face and still not see much in the way of results, exercise plays an important role in keeping the area around your abdomen trim. Visceral fat, which is the deeper fat that builds up around the organs, is the fat that tends to build up in the stomach area. One way to minimize that fat is to commit to regular cardiovascular exercise, such as running, biking or walking. The exercise doesn’t have to target your abdominal area. It just has to raise your heart rate and get you to sweat.
Try to get about 30 minutes of exercise in five days a week. If it’s been awhile since you’ve been active in any way, it’s always a good idea to check in with your doctor before starting.
Removing Extra Fat
In some cases, you’re at your goal weight, you exercise often, and yet you’re still dealing with a bit of extra fat in the area around your abdomen. If you have just a bit of extra fat in the tummy area, that won’t budge no matter how much you work out, liposuction might be the way to remove it. Since liposuction is a surgical procedure, there are a few things to think about before you decide that it’s the option for you.
First, it’s important that you only want to remove a small to moderate amount of fat. Removing large amounts of fat can be dangerous, because the process also involves removing some blood from the body. the more fat you remove, the more your skin will need to recover. If too much is liposuctioned out of the body, the skin might not “snap back” as well as it otherwise would, creating sagging. You should also be in good health before the surgery, with any medical conditions under control.
Fat and bloating aren’t the only causes of a tummy that’s not flat. Excess skin can also be part of the problem. If you’ve lost a significant amount of weight or have given birth, there is a chance that your skin wasn’t able to rebound afterwards. You might have lost a lot of weight, but fitting into clothing can still be a challenge due to the excess skin.
In those instances, a tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, can be what you need to get a flatter stomach. How the tummy tuck is performed depends on your needs. A standard tummy tuck involves an incision across the hips. During it, the plastic surgeon will elevate the skin and remove extra fat, and will tighten the abdominal muscles. An extended tummy tuck might be most appropriate for patients who have lost a lot of weight. It removes more skin and fat than the standard procedure and tightens the muscles more. There are also cases when a patient benefits from a combined tummy tuck and liposuction.
Whatever the cause of your tummy pooch, you don’t have to live with it. In the Washington, DC area, board certified plastic surgeons Dr. George Bitar and Dr. Larry Lickstein regularly helps patients get flatter stomachs with tummy tucks, liposuction, or a combination of the two. To learn more about your options, call (703) 206-0506 to schedule a consultation today.
With over 19 years of experience in plastic surgery, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Larry Lickstein, brings with him a wealth of expertise to the Bitar Cosmetic Surgery Institute. He is a graduate of Princeton University and New York University School of Medicine, where he graduated at the top of his class. Dr. Larry Lickstein completed his surgical residency at Harvard Medical School, which culminated in being named chief resident in the Department of Surgery