So you want to slim down for summer? But what about all those rumoured side effects of dieting like stretch marks and mood swings? And can you ever really get rid of cellulite? Find out now
Q Does weight come off all over your body including breasts?
A Women's breasts are made up of fatty tissue, and when you lose weight it comes off pretty evenly all over your body, including your breasts.
"In women weight is generally lost from the boobs first, and the hips last," says exercise physiologist, Damien Kelly. "Unfortunately there is not a lot you can do to encourage fat loss from one area, but you can be comfortable in the knowledge that your favourite cardio exercise will eventually reduce fat from all areas of your body."
Q If you already have stretch marks, can you get more when you lose weight?
A Stretch marks occur through pregnancy and rapid weight gain, and they typically affect the abdomen, breasts, upper arms, thighs and buttocks. Dr Peter Muzikants, a skin laser specialist at the ADA Cosmetic Medical Clinic in Glebe, NSW, says that losing weight won't give you any more stretch marks but it might help make existing ones more noticeable. "A lot depends on the elasticity of your skin," he says. "As you lose weight, your skin may become loose, making existing stretch marks more obvious." Although getting rid of them is difficult, there is action you can take to improve the appearance of stretch marks including keeping skin moisturised and regular use of a body scrub. "Improving muscle tone also improves the skin's appearance," says
Q Does cutting out certain foods cause you to have mood swings?
A Dieting can cause mood swings if the diet is too strict and leads to reduced blood glucose levels. According to nutritionist, Dr Rosemary Stanton, the key is to eat little meals - and to eat them more often. "Include slow-digesting carbohydrates which give an even blood glucose response," she says. "Try rolled oats, wholegrain breads, fruit, bran or soy/linseed cereals, natural muesli, low-fat yoghurt or low-fat milk, and pasta." Anyone who suddenly develops mood swings during a diet may also be cutting back on their kilojoule intake too severely. "People should be aiming for slower, steadier weight loss," Dr Stanton advises.
Q Do spots or an acne-prone skin get even worse when you loose weight?
A Spots and acne are caused by hormone fluctuations, commonly occurring during teenage years, in young adults, and during menstruation or in menopause. According to Sydney dermatologist, Dr Ian Hamann, skin changes can also occur as a result of extreme weight loss - such as in anorexia nervosa - but most dieters have no cause for concern. "The skin can dry out if you restrict the amount of fat and fat-soluble vitamins in your diet," he says.
"But eating healthier foods and losing weight at a slow, steady rate, should improve the quality of your skin overall."
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