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Gary Taubes - Why Me? Why There?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 06, 2012 at 2:34 PM

I have been reading everything I can get my hands on by Gary Taubes.

I am getting through "why we gat fat..." And I reached the chapter about localized weight gain..i believe in extreme cases it is called ..lipodystrophy.

This fascinated me because, certainly not in the extreme cases he shows in pictures, but I am experiencing this issue myself.

I have localized fat accumulation in my lower body, legs, hips, thighs etc, but am very lean on top. I have gone off birth control thinking that perhaps it was a hormonal problem, and it is too soon to see a difference.

It is very puzzling to me, when I do a lower body workout, a hard one, either weights or lower body resistance training, my lower body will get sore, muscles will retain fluid, and then upon recovery in a few days, they return to a fatty undefined state, and do not "tone up" so to speak, or slim down.

However, my upper body will become emaciated and it will become so lean that people comment on ribs and hips sticking out...yet simultaneously there can be a good 2 inches of body fat visibly on my legs.

My question/inquiry is: I know many people will say "thats because you are a woman etc" but I am more interested in the science behind it.

First, is it possible to be in fat loss and storage mode in different parts of your body at the same time?

Have any other women "despite their hormonal predisposition" overcome the lower body body fat, and truly achieved a very lean lower body with Paleo? Does Paleo put women in a healthy primal state in which it encourages this natural state of "child bearing fat accumulation".

Any experiences...?

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on March 24, 2012
at 11:09 PM

From @Quilt "you do not have to live this way"- I would argue that keeping the weight around your hips/thighs is proof that you are reproductive and healthy. Losing it would put your menses at risk, in all likelihood. Fertility > very low body fat, in terms of female health.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on March 24, 2012
at 11:07 PM

I always wondered about the "cankles" cellulite thing. There were these two sisters I used to row with who always had it, but they were so freaking fit, super muscled. I wonder if there is a genetic component to this kind of weight gain?

59ee717de524f921efb7f2984157339f

(871)

on February 21, 2012
at 11:43 PM

Grace...thank you. Could you talk me through how to assess your own Omega 3/6 levels? I would love to know this, but am unclear as to how to know..any help would be great. thanks!

3864f9a2af09b1b447c7963058650a34

(3703)

on February 06, 2012
at 07:36 PM

If you look at Massai data, they consume < 1% n6 pufa yet the n3 is vastly larger (sorry cannot recall ??3-4%'?). And this is for their whole, entire lives and importantly pre-conception.

3864f9a2af09b1b447c7963058650a34

(3703)

on February 06, 2012
at 07:32 PM

Have ou considered getting in addition the hormone salivary tests but perhaps also a omega3:6 ratio assessed? I ahve read a lot about the WHR and hoe omega 3 is stored in the gluteofemoral adipose. Because omega 3 and other hormones play a role in survival, i believe strongly there are hardwired protection mechanisms to reserve these stores for survival, sex, reproduction, and fertility, in that priority listing...

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on February 06, 2012
at 05:15 PM

Melissa. You have made many women happy today. From now on I will always embrace my "gluteofemoral fat."

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on February 06, 2012
at 04:12 PM

The thing is that large stores of gluteofermoral fat are not pathological in women and hunter-gatherer women tend to have large stores.

0e5045fb58c84420a8eb7ee8d41dfc12

(258)

on February 06, 2012
at 03:28 PM

You have just described me as well. I'm very interested to hear the answers here.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on February 06, 2012
at 03:15 PM

Unless a doctor tells you that you actually have lipodystrophy, it is probably normal important fat and it's your body's way of holding onto fat that is very important reproductively. If you are so thin that your ribs stick out, you might have pushed yourself into underweight and that is not good for you. Believe me, you can be strong and still be curvy there- the muscle is under the fat.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on February 06, 2012
at 03:05 PM

see the book "Why Women Need Fat." I will be publishing a review of it on my blog. It is very unhealthy to try to reduce gluteofemoral fat. http://www.psych.ucsb.edu/research/cep/papers/whrlassekgaulin2008.pdf

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on February 06, 2012
at 02:42 PM

If you do you have a sex steroid hormone imbalance......and I bet your DHEA levels are also bad. Get tested......you do not have to live this way.

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4 Answers

5
246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21420)

on February 06, 2012
at 03:49 PM

I have read on several primal/paleo "experience" blogs, that quite a few women (who aren't crossfitters and start Paleo while overweight) quote "keep their curves" (and are happy to do so) once they've reached their goals physically.

I find the women who were either celiacs, or had other severe GI-damaging illnesses (Chrons, IBS) tend to be the ones that end up very thin on Paleo, possibly due to semi-permanent gut damage (and the longer healing process). There are quite a few exceptions, but this seems to be more genetic predisposition towards being thin in the first place.

1
Ff0676c8c4d57e148447fb70da64f5fb

on February 06, 2012
at 11:23 PM

something that you might want to look into is lipodema (also spelled lipedema and lipoedema). it is similar to lymphedema but not related at all. (does that even make sense?)

it is characterized by a very lean torso and being thicker from the waist down. one article i read had the analogy of a body with a mismatched torso of a size 8 woman and the legs and bottom of a size 16 woman.

there hasn't been alot of research on it and most doctors don't know about it, but you can find some info if you google it and probably find a doctor near you who treats it.

i am pretty sure i have it. i went to a doctor who wasn't positive but since i have "painful fat", she said it was possible.

i hope this helps.

1
8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on February 06, 2012
at 03:57 PM

The idea that people can store fat differently at different locations is not new, although Taubes surely has publicized it. We see it all the time. Man-boobs, mid-life weight gain in the belly, changes in fat deposition during pregnancy, etc.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on February 06, 2012
at 04:12 PM

The thing is that large stores of gluteofermoral fat are not pathological in women and hunter-gatherer women tend to have large stores.

0
F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on February 06, 2012
at 10:24 PM

Not knowing your specific concerns (for example, how long have you been Paleo?), I can only offer my own experience.

I have always been athletically built, and I have large legs, complete with cankles, even at my thinnest. Which was fine because I had nice leg muscles at least to show for it. But over time (pre-Paleo), the muscles disappeared despite constant exercise and eating SAHD (Standard American Healthy Diet). Very frustrating. My legs just seemed to get bigger and bigger, until one day I noticed I had cellulite. On my ankles. This happened shortly before I went Paleo, and I knew something just wasn't right. I know just what you mean about that photo of the young woman with lipodystrophy. I wasn't an extreme case either, but I identified.

The fat did disappear from my legs for the most part. Still have plenty in my caboose and upper thighs, but I'm not aiming for crazy-low body fat. It feels like everything has settled into appropriate places.

I think the BC removal will be interesting. It might take a few months to know for sure from that.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on March 24, 2012
at 11:07 PM

I always wondered about the "cankles" cellulite thing. There were these two sisters I used to row with who always had it, but they were so freaking fit, super muscled. I wonder if there is a genetic component to this kind of weight gain?

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