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# Can You Decrease Belly Fat and Stretch Marks?

by
Julia Michelle
Julia Michelle has been writing professionally since January 2009. Her specialties include massage therapy, computer tech support, land and aquatic personal training, aquatic group fitness and Reiki. She has an Associate in Applied Science from Cincinnati State Technical and Community College in integrative medical massage therapy.
Girl in large pair of jeans. Photo Credit: VvoeVale/iStock/Getty Images

According to website TeensHealth, stretch marks are usually the result of rapid growth, which might happen during puberty. Stretch marks can also occur because of sudden weight gain that might develop on the hips and belly. The skin cannot keep up with the rate of growth thereby causing tears in the deeper layers that appear as streaks on the surface. TeensHealth further advises that, while it is not possible to completely remove stretch marks, some treatments, such as weight loss, can reduce their appearance. In order to lose belly fat, you must lose weight all over, as it is not possible to lose fat from just one area of the body.

## Getting Rid of Belly Fat

### Step 1

Replace saturated fats and refined sugar with whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables and lean proteins. The United States Department of Agriculture food guide pyramid recommends this way of eating both for general health and weight loss.

### Step 2

Lower your caloric intake. To determine your caloric intake, the American Council on Exercise recommends you multiply your target weight by 10. For example, if your goal is 170 pounds, consume 1,700 calories a day.

You may also calculate caloric intake for weight-loss using the Harris Benedict formula, which takes into account activity level and BMR. You can find an online calculator below, or do it yourself. First calculate your BMR by using the following formula: For women: BMR = 655.0955 + (9.5634 x weight in kg) + (1.8496 x height in cm) – (4.6756 x age in years). For men: BMR = 66.4730 + (13.7516 x weight in kg) + (5.0033 x height in cm) – (6.7550 x age in years). Once you have your BMR, you will use it, along with activity level, to calculate caloric need. Little to no exercise -- BMR x 1.2. Light exercise, 1 to 3 days per week -- BMR x 1.375. Moderate exercise, 3 to 5 days per week -- BMR x 1.55. Heavy exercise, 6 to 7 days per week -- BMR x 1.725. Extremely heavy exercise, 2 times per day -- BMR x 1.9. The results equal the number of calories needed simply to survive. To lose weight, subtract 500 calories from the total.

### Step 3

Eat several small meals at regular intervals throughout the day. For example, if your caloric goal is 1,700 calories, eat three 400-calorie meals and two 250-calorie snacks.

### Step 4

Log your meals in a journal or notebook. Doing so will help you stay on track by making you aware of what you eat.

### Step 5

Do 45 minutes of cardiovascular exercise at least three days a week. Your workout intensity should be between six and eight on a one-to-ten scale -- you should have labored breathing but still be able to speak in short sentences. Warm up for 10 minutes before each session and cool down for 5 minutes afterward.

### Step 6

Resistance train at least two days a week and allow yourself a minimum of 48 hours rest between sessions. Use weight machines, which help you use proper form by isolating the muscles.

### Step 7

Incorporate core-strengthening exercises, such as crunches, planks and back extensions into your resistance routine. Core exercises improve your posture, which create a leaner profile.

## Getting Rid of Stretch Marks

### Step 1

Apply body makeup designed to hide scars and uneven pigmentation. Body makeup works well in dry situations.

### Step 2

Use a self tanner, which dyes the skin and blends the stretch marks with the surrounding skin. According to TeensHealth, stretch marks do not tan so avoid tanning beds or sun tanning.

### Step 3

Consider Retin-A or tretinoin and microdermabrasion treatments. Retin-A rebuilds collagen and may reduce the appearance of new stretch marks, even those from pregnancy according to the July-August 2001 issue of "Advances in Therapy." Microdermabrasion removes the top layer of skin to stimulate new growth and may work well on older stretch marks.

### Step 4

Try laser therapy. Pulsed dye and fractional photothermolysis lasers stimulate collagen growth and may work on older and newer stretch marks. Excimer lasers stimulate melanin production and may benefit older stretch marks.

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