Tummy tucks versus exercise

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A recent survey on body image found at least 60 percent of women name their stomach as the body part they are most unhappy with. The taut, tight tummies of stars like Jennifer Aniston and Jessica Alba are the most envied shapes around.

But it is possible for anyone to iron out the unwanted bulges with a few simple measures. From the very cheap to the very extreme, Sophie Hull finds out how to get that washboard look.

‘’People are always coming to me and saying that their stomach is their problem area’’ said Plastic Surgeon Dr Jeremy Hunt.

"There's some key foods that can actually help rid the body of extra fluid’’ said Dr Jeremy.

"I think the simplest way to remove fat is going to be liposuction’’ said Dr Jeremy.

Muffin Top, beer gut, pot belly, spare tyre. You can give it a cute nick name, but most of us list it as the body part we'd most like to change.

"Every individual will have certain areas where they lay down fat and they are the areas that are difficult to shift and for some people it can be their stomach’’ said Dr Jeremy.

Let's start with the worst scenario and work back from there. Dr Jeremy Hunt is a plastic surgeon who specialises in problem tummies.

"Tummy tucks are one of the top plastic surgical procedures performed. They rank number five at the moment and the numbers from 2000 up to 2007 are up about 150 percent so it's a very popular procedure’’ said Dr Jeremy.

"This is for extreme cases only. Normally for people who've lost large amounts of weight and are left with an overhang of excess skin’’ said Dr Jeremy.

‘’To undergo a tummy tuck - it's usually performed in a hospital under a general anaesthetic it will involve a couple of days stay in hospital then a few weeks to recover’’ said Dr Jeremy.

"Liposuction is a simpler option for stubborn fat on the abdomen - but it's still surgery and involves recovery time and expense. Expect to pay from $5000 for liposuction and from 10 thousand dollars for a tummy tuck’’ says Dr Jeremy.

"Most people need a significant amount of core work in order to really tone up around the middle’’ says Personal Trainer John Fell.

John Fell is a personal trainer. Convinced these three simple moves will have you well on the way to achieving "Fab Abs’’.

"This is a great lower abdominal exercise that you can do at home by reaching back and grabbing onto something stable. It really targets the lower portions of the abs and that's an area that often gets missed’’ said John Fell.

"A great side ab exercise, you lift up, reach into the fingers as high as you can and then come back down to one inch off the ground’’ said John.

"This is the Bosu sit up. It's fantastic because you're on the half ball - you can stretch your spine right back and that allows for a much greater range of motion for the abdominals so not only is it a harder exercise but it improves your posture as well’’ said John.

"At the end of the day what you eat is how your body functions on a daily basis - so you can do all the surgery in the world you can do your exercise but if you're not eating well that's going to put your body behind the 8 ball in terms of having a flat stomach’’ says Dietician Susie Burrell.

"It's an inconvenient truth. What goes in your mouth is still the most important factor affecting your waist’’ says Dietician Susie Burrell. She goes on to say "We know that foods that are high in salt are going to help the body to retain extra fluids - so there's some key foods that can actually help rid the body of extra fluid. The key ones are our leafy green vegies and things like our leeks, our celery - spinach contains really high levels of potassium’’.

Filling up on soluble fibre from Oats and other whole grains as well as berries and watermelon is the best way to keep hunger at bay, without bulking up. But if none of that sounds like much fun, you could imitate the headline makers, and do what your parents did.

"We've got celebrities like Michelle Obama who are hula hoping, we've got Beyonce, there's a new Nintendo Wii interactive hula hooping game, so it's going crazy in all forms’’ says Bel Macidoni from Sydney Aerial Theatre.

Bel Macidoni from Sydney Aerial Theatre says hip swivelling is the most enjoyable way to whittle away your waistline, and who could argue?

If you want to tone up your tummy and get some more core strength and get right into it then grab the hula hoop, it's the way to go.

For More information visit Rise Personal Training's director John Fell website www.risehealth.com.au

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