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Exercise and Fitness

My body type

04/04/2002

Question:

Hi,

I am a 26-year-old mother of a toddler, I am 5`3 1/2" and weigh 100-105 pounds. As you can tell, I am underweight. The problem is at times my tummy looks very fat (I`m not anorexic!!) It blows up like a balloon and I can`t wear any swim suits or anything that does not have a clear waist, almost never, because there is a bulge! Usually worse later in the day. In fact, one day I will measure my waist and get 23 inches and the very next day I could get 25 inches--and I can certainly see the difference. Is this a result of the accumulation of everything that I have eaten in a day?? Or could it be some kind of hormone or metabolism problem?? The disproportion seems to be getting worse as time goes by. I am really concerned about this. I eat ordinary meals (exculding breakfast) I tend to eat more later in the day, however, because earlier in the day I am just not hungry. I also exercise 2 or 3 times a week. I do ab exercises as well.

I also see similar changes in breast size. In general my breasts are small, but sometimes they are barely there at all, and other times I am more pleased with their fullness. They fluctuate in size from day to day. Also, they are not proportional to my waist. My belly could be buging way out and my breasts still measure 31! What`s up with that? None of this APPEARS to have anything to do with my menstrual cycle. This is very frustrating. Can you think of anything (brainstorm if you have to) that could cause such dramatic changes in body appearance from hour to hour and day to day?? I would really appreciate any response. Thank you.

Answer:

I suggest addressing your concerns with your personal physician since he or she knows your health history. However, I do have a few thoughts that I would like to share.

Many folks skip breakfast for the exact reason you do in that they are just not hungry in the morning. I do feel it is important to eat something in the morning, even if it is a piece of fruit, toast, and juice or a bowl of cereal. This is the first step in keeping the body well fueled throughout the day. Are you taking in plenty of fluids each day (at least 64 ounces)? I don`t think you are still nursing your toddler, but am not sure. Yes, hormone fluctuations associated with menstrual cycles do impact fluid retention each month. Diet plays a role as well. Are you experiencing any pain as a result of the bloating?

Please keep in mind that the body can fluctuate by several pounds per day normally, so trying to stick to the same measurements each day (let alone every hour) is not productive. However, you may wish to rule out anything serious by checking with your primary physician. Do keep up your exercise routine. You may wish to review the question on our website regarding Getting in Shape for the Summer. It outlines the basics of a well-rounded fitness program. Playing with your toddler is a super form of exercise as well ! Good luck to you.

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Response by:

Carolyn   Nickol, RD, MEd Carolyn Nickol, RD, MEd
Director
Fitness Center at CARE\Crawley
University of Cincinnati