Our expert says:
I'm not so sure about stretch marks, I know that companies advertise all sorts of fancy products, but to the best of my knowledge these don't really work. I would put this question to perhaps Plastic surgery expert and see what they feel.
As for the tummy, I'm sure I can give you some advice on that one. The important thing to remember is that you can't try to "spot reduce". That is, you can't really try and reduce the fat around your stomach, thighs and abdominals by just doing exercises for those areas. This kind of exercise, using specific muscles only, actually burns fewer calories than exercising large muscles groups in dynamic cardiovascular exercise such as walking, jogging, running, swimming or cycling. In order to burn the fat, you need to do these types of cardiovascular exercises as least 4 - 5 times a week for at least 30 - 45 minutes. This will help to increase the amount of calories that you use and help to decrease your body fat.
Having said that, it is still important to do some strengthening and toning exercise and obviously to include exercises that make use of the muscle groups in your abdominal area. The exercises that you do will depend on whether you have access to a gym or you do body weight exercises at home. I would suggest you go with the basics, situps, crunches etc. Remember you don't need to overdo it on the situps. In fact, you could do situps till you are blue in the face and see very little in the way of progress, if you are not doing the regular cardio exercise and also making sure the diet is optimal. These are the focus and I would put most of my energy into them initially. later the toning may become more important but for now, some toning and more cardio is probably the way to go.
Lastly, keep in mind that this is a very common problem, and changes in certain areas can happen very slowly, because some people do just have a specific distribution of fat, and it can be hard to fight against this.
However, be patient and keep at it!
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