Asymmetric love handles?
May 3, 2021 5:35 AM   Subscribe

I'm mounting an all-out effort to lose the weight I gained during COVID lockdown. One of the motivators I use is to roughly measure the bulges that stick out when I wear a lycra bathing suit. I've noticed the one on my left is around 50% bigger than on right--does this indicate anything I should be concerned about?

P.s., any tips on how to lose fat that seems only to have appeared around my belly also appreciated.
posted by Jon44 to Health & Fitness (9 answers total)
 
does this indicate anything I should be concerned about?

I’m not a doctor, but my advice is that you consult a doctor directly.
posted by mhoye at 5:52 AM on May 3 [2 favorites]


50% larger doesn't really mean anything without knowing what the measurements are, which I am not asking you to share. I also can't assume what style of swimsuit you're wearing so if you're wearing a one-piece or pulling some lycra bottoms high on your belly, it could be that the Lycra is slightly weaker on the side with the larger bulge. Or, if you're wearing bottoms and measuring what's pushed over top, one side of the Lycra bottoms may be stronger, pushing more upward.

Portions of the body (especially portions that carry fatty tissues) can be asymmetrical. For example, it's very common for a woman to have one breast larger than the other.

Unless that 50% is a huge disparity and you're feeling a lump or soreness, I wouldn't be concerned. But I am obviously not a doctor, so if you really want medical reassurance, call yours. Also, please don't call your body hideously repulsive. It did what it had to do to get you through all of this mess.
posted by kimberussell at 6:14 AM on May 3 [18 favorites]


Response by poster: "...please don't call your body hideously repulsive"
FWIW, I take this as a positive use of "healthy shame"---i.e., I shouldn't have let myself regress and done a better job of looking for constructive stress releasers during the lock-down.
posted by Jon44 at 6:39 AM on May 3


Yeah, I think to the extent that this could possibly be a problem, it would be the *absolute* measurement that would be of interest, not the percentage. Like, if you had 4 extra inches of muffin-top on one side, that would be worth talking to a doctor about for sure. An extra half-inch, I personally wouldn't bother.

kimberrussel makes good points about "is this just a swimsuit problem?", to which I would also add that your posture could be pushing stuff around as well (e.g. if you tend to put your weight on one hip you could effectively be lengthening one side of your torso and shortening the other side when you're looking in the mirror, causing bigger rolls on one side than the other).
posted by mskyle at 6:52 AM on May 3 [1 favorite]


Asymmetricality in limbs, I know, can indicate a blood clot. Not sure about love handles. Probably a lot less likely but you might want to see a doctor to be on the safe side.
posted by Jess the Mess at 7:40 AM on May 3


Best answer: It could be a sign of scoliosis - I have mild scoliosis and the gap between my ribs & hips is a different length on one side because of the way my spine curves. It might be a sign that your spine curves in a way that makes the crest of your pelvis a lot more prominent on one side.

If you aren't experiencing any other problems like pain or mobility issues and it is scoliosis (not to say you shouldn't get it checked out in case it's something else), you probably don't need treatment for the scoliosis. My curve was only discovered as an adult, so I'd already missed the chance to brace it while I was still growing, and it's not severe enough that anyone's ever suggested surgery - I don't plan on doing anything to actively treat it except intermittent PT for occasional pain that's just as likely to be caused by the fact that I'm hypermobile everywhere as it is by the scoliosis.
posted by terretu at 9:02 AM on May 3 [4 favorites]


Definitely see a doctor. No one here can know. Could be a swollen internal organ? 50% bigger sounds like a lot.
posted by flimflamflop at 9:52 AM on May 3 [1 favorite]


I carry fat around my belly but I usually find that generic weight loss will make it go away - I don't believe there is any way to target losing fat from specific areas although improving muscle tone in the area might help the appearance.

Also, be care with "healthy shame". If you read Kristin Neff's work on self-compassion, there is good evidence that a compassion, growth oriented approach is more effective that the mean coach style.
posted by metahawk at 10:06 AM on May 3 [3 favorites]


I have mild scoliosis and am asymmetric like this.
posted by congen at 12:03 PM on May 3 [1 favorite]


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