3

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WOMEN: Hips, Thighs & General "Problem Areas"

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 26, 2011 at 7:11 PM

First of all, I hate that term "problem areas," but it's the only way I can best describe those weird areas where some women (myself included) seem to always be out-of-proportion or overweight. My body is not a "problem," but I do I want to be somewhat proportional.

I've been primal (gluten-free, VLC, some dairy, little to no cheating) for almost four months now. I've lost about 20 lbs and have started seeing some muscle gain in my upper body, which is pretty sweet. I've always been smaller up top than on bottom, classic pear-shape: wide hips, large thighs, big ole booty. I've accepted that I'll never have that super-slim model figure and I'm cool with that--I'd rather be strong and healthy with some junk in my trunk.

The problem comes when I am two sizes smaller up top than I am on bottom. My boobs were the first thing to go on this diet (seriously, I'm going to have to buy new bras), but it seems like my larger spots haven't really gone anywhere. I'm starting to see a little muscle tone on my thighs, but it's not as dramatic as my upper body.

Is it a function of needing to do more "spot-toning" strength training and lower body exercise in order to decrease certain areas? Or am I doomed to a life of never being able to wear dresses that aren't wraparound and stretchy or a one-piece bathing suit?

0a46a71bd3dca60276717f099b350132

(250)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

Yeah, I figured as much. Body acceptance is a lifelong struggle of mine, and I know it seems impossible for a lot of people. I just wanted to see if maybe anyone had any random hacks out there worth trying...Never know till you ask (one of my personal mottoes in life).

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on November 11, 2011
at 10:33 PM

Wow. I had that same experience once when I was out jogging... Weird!

0a46a71bd3dca60276717f099b350132

(250)

on June 23, 2011
at 06:59 PM

I've definitely cut back on the cardio, but I still do it from time to time for mental health reasons more than anything else (nothing gets me out of a funk like kickboxing my imaginary boss for 30 minutes). I'm working on incorporating a lot more strength training and I'm starting to see some more definition in the leg area, which is really the main thing I'm after. I want to look like I actually HAVE muscles, even when I'm not flexing. Otherwise, it's probably just going to be something I learn to accept, which is really all right with me. Just gotta get there.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on June 22, 2011
at 08:00 PM

"wise words to live by".... wise indeed, akd. ladies, never forget those words! lol.

949d4d02ea7d1abd714cc3347c2c6854

(1021)

on June 22, 2011
at 07:56 PM

I do CrossFit, and I've had tons of success in improving body shape (although I was fairly hourglass to begin with). One thing I've found over time is that we don't do nearly enough weighted lunges - although it's true that you can't spot-reduce, I do find that adding extra weighted lunges over time has helped me "spot-lift" in the buttock region.

949d4d02ea7d1abd714cc3347c2c6854

(1021)

on June 22, 2011
at 07:51 PM

I've lost a lot of size in the breast area myself...it's kind of depressing, when everything else is looking better. Sigh.

C23ec4b85f3cbeb9ddf6bf78317d56e3

(300)

on May 28, 2011
at 04:35 PM

love that group!

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 27, 2011
at 12:47 AM

I agree totally. Rippetoe has really made lifting accessible to a lot more people with that book. Also, maybe for inspiration or just go get off the "skinny is best" society you all should check out "strong is the skinny" on facebook. And wildgorillaman. Google and you'll see

C23ec4b85f3cbeb9ddf6bf78317d56e3

(300)

on May 26, 2011
at 11:58 PM

Even if you don't end up going with a CF program, I'd look into lifting some heavy weights for sure. I recommend looking into the starting strength program. It's an excellent book, even if you don't decide to follow the programming. the book is the next best thing to a personal trainer, so if you've never had any weight training guidance... get the book for sure. and remember when lifting weights, the best motto is: "go heavy, or go home!"

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on May 26, 2011
at 11:19 PM

With you all the way! I had to realize that my goal weight wasn't going to leave me perfect. Being obese and having a baby has given me loose skin on my stomach that will never go away without plastic surgery. But I look awesome with clothes on. LOL.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 26, 2011
at 11:11 PM

We're all there. Those god damn bottom two abs:) at 31 I'm not too concerned anymore but total truth be told I'd be pretty smiley if I got them. Overhead presses bring on some mean round shoulders though and that's a rarity these days so focus north:)

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 26, 2011
at 11:09 PM

Excellent answer. I'm a dude so take me with some salt but I'd def say that a strength-biased Crossfit place will do you some serious help. There are pre-dispositions of course but I've spent time with a LOT of women at Crossfit and heir bodies transform, or at least acquire muscle, astonishingly quickly nmlre than most men by far. This is prolly cuz they're GENERALLY strting with less muscle but regardless with some backsquats and dead lifts your glutes, hams, thighs will really shape up. Seriously, more women should lift weight. Nothing better than moving weights with ladies

0a46a71bd3dca60276717f099b350132

(250)

on May 26, 2011
at 10:37 PM

Yeah my hormones are all kinds of jacked, so I wouldn't be surprised by that at all. I am doing weights, but not super heavy ones since I had an injury a few weeks ago. I am however extremely intrigued by CrossFit, and there's one nearby, so I may just give it a go and see what develops. Thanks!

0a46a71bd3dca60276717f099b350132

(250)

on May 26, 2011
at 10:36 PM

My fiance has the same problem with his lower abs. I think we're both in the same place with our "problem areas," like many couples who are on this diet together probably are. Definitely looking forward to more muscle overall!

0a46a71bd3dca60276717f099b350132

(250)

on May 26, 2011
at 10:35 PM

Nice! I exercise for the mental health benefits more than anything else, but it's always nice to hear that sticking with it has its rewards. The diet has really been the hardest part for me, so I definitely need to work on maintaining that as well. Thanks!

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on May 26, 2011
at 10:01 PM

girl, i am with you 100%. i struggle with it every day. paleo has helped me accept the things i cannot change, so to speak. also, age and giving birth to two kids helped sort of realize that looking like a VS model isnt the only awesome thing a womans body can do.

0a46a71bd3dca60276717f099b350132

(250)

on May 26, 2011
at 08:17 PM

Haha, I love that you can deadlift more than the hubs. That's awesome. I don't want to lose ye olde booty per se, because it's a part of me (pun intended). I guess the main thing is a) I'm impatient, and b) like most women in America I still struggle with accepting and loving my body. I feel like I'm on that path now by getting healthy and eating better, but I can't help but long for my saddlebags to magically disappear. It's probably not even something that can really be "hacked" at all...

34a367e60db77270bd7096dc04270fdc

(4171)

on May 26, 2011
at 07:54 PM

Some things you can't change naturally - I guess that's why there are plastic surgeons but I don't think that is paleo =) I have the same problems. I've lost 4 pants sizes but still have to wear extra large shirts because my boobs don't get smaller. Everyone has something about their shape that they don't like. I think they either learn to love themselves anyway or the seek a doctor to fix it. I don't think "spot toning" works, HIIT works to lean people out but that doesn't seem to be your issue and I don't know of any workout that makes your breasts bigger =/

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on May 26, 2011
at 07:29 PM

That quote made me laugh. :)

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9 Answers

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10
Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on May 26, 2011
at 07:25 PM

i have the same body. ive found that it just really is what it is. spot toning dosent do all that much. my belly is the first place i lose fat from and the last place i gain it. ive lost 30 pounds and not a single inch from my hips and thighs!

i think that the hardest part for many women is accepting the body you were built in, and accepting the fact that a sheath dress is never going to look as great on you as a shoulder-baring a-line dress.

even though my hips and thighs are the same size, the look so much better, smoother, tighter. no one will ever call me a gazelle, but i can deadlift more than my husband, so i try to just take pride in that, ribbing him whenever i have the opportunity.

it sounds like youre doing GREAT. things will catch up, but if youre anything like me, the butt is the last to go. i was out running once and a dude yelled at me, "GURL, DONT YOU RUN THAT BOOTY OFF!" wise words to live by. ;)

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on May 26, 2011
at 10:01 PM

girl, i am with you 100%. i struggle with it every day. paleo has helped me accept the things i cannot change, so to speak. also, age and giving birth to two kids helped sort of realize that looking like a VS model isnt the only awesome thing a womans body can do.

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on May 26, 2011
at 07:29 PM

That quote made me laugh. :)

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on May 26, 2011
at 11:19 PM

With you all the way! I had to realize that my goal weight wasn't going to leave me perfect. Being obese and having a baby has given me loose skin on my stomach that will never go away without plastic surgery. But I look awesome with clothes on. LOL.

0a46a71bd3dca60276717f099b350132

(250)

on May 26, 2011
at 08:17 PM

Haha, I love that you can deadlift more than the hubs. That's awesome. I don't want to lose ye olde booty per se, because it's a part of me (pun intended). I guess the main thing is a) I'm impatient, and b) like most women in America I still struggle with accepting and loving my body. I feel like I'm on that path now by getting healthy and eating better, but I can't help but long for my saddlebags to magically disappear. It's probably not even something that can really be "hacked" at all...

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on June 22, 2011
at 08:00 PM

"wise words to live by".... wise indeed, akd. ladies, never forget those words! lol.

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on November 11, 2011
at 10:33 PM

Wow. I had that same experience once when I was out jogging... Weird!

2
Af9537cfa50562b67979624e9007e12a

(1334)

on May 26, 2011
at 08:14 PM

I'm not a girl, but I have seen this same situation with my wife some. It is still ultimately a BF% thing, get down to a true 15% BF and see what happens. same with me, I am sure when I hit 10% my abs will be there. my ribs show, I am highly defined everywhere except lower abs, thats the last to go on a guy. hips/butt on a girl. also, heavy squats and lunges will do the most to shape and tighten those areas, but you still have to hit the body fat numbers for it to all show. and yeah, my wife has had to buy new bras too, but the nice legs and overall shapely-ness more than make up for smaller boobs (In my opinion).

0a46a71bd3dca60276717f099b350132

(250)

on May 26, 2011
at 10:36 PM

My fiance has the same problem with his lower abs. I think we're both in the same place with our "problem areas," like many couples who are on this diet together probably are. Definitely looking forward to more muscle overall!

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 26, 2011
at 11:11 PM

We're all there. Those god damn bottom two abs:) at 31 I'm not too concerned anymore but total truth be told I'd be pretty smiley if I got them. Overhead presses bring on some mean round shoulders though and that's a rarity these days so focus north:)

1
Ed983a42344945b1ff70fd9597a23493

on May 27, 2011
at 12:51 AM

I'm apple, which means I gain belly fat first, and lose it last...I imagine that goes for pears in different places...patience!

1
183f5c49a7a9548b6f5238d1f33cb35e

on May 26, 2011
at 10:57 PM

Callanetics absolutely balanced out my body - I've been a typical pear my whole life ~ Started doing Paleo, lost 10 kilos, now working on losing the last 5 kilos (impossible!). As the weight was lost, my body shape stayed exactly the same, just becoming a smaller pear.

Now in the last few months, I started doing Callanetics - this is the only thing that has ever shaved size off my hips, and now my body is actually approaching a much more balanced figure. I know a few other pears who have tried Callanetics and they swear by it too.

I'm currently using the "10 years younger in 10 hours" workout video, its just under an hour and it's really camp and cheesy (from 1986). But it totally does the job, so look past the big hair and bad makeup and give it a go! It also helps you relax too if stress is also an issue.

1
345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821

(8767)

on May 26, 2011
at 08:13 PM

I'm also pear shape and been primal since January this year. Its not until recently (last 2 months) that I've noted that the weight has started melting from the bottom portion of my body (from hips, thighs, butt). Weight loss hasn't been drastically fast though, but thats a good thing, I'm keeping my muscle.

It literally felt like I was shedding fat from top to bottom. I am no longer trying to loose any weight, am now a size 4, but I would still enjoy a few more inches around the legs and bottom.

I dont really exercise, I've got natural muscles in my legs, tummy and butt and now they are starting to show better as the fat disappears, I'm seeing a much leaner me than I've ever been able to achieve with other plans....I think if you stick with it, time will tell!!

hang in there!!!

0a46a71bd3dca60276717f099b350132

(250)

on May 26, 2011
at 10:35 PM

Nice! I exercise for the mental health benefits more than anything else, but it's always nice to hear that sticking with it has its rewards. The diet has really been the hardest part for me, so I definitely need to work on maintaining that as well. Thanks!

0
332d9f75d1077abafff6887681f6b130

on June 22, 2011
at 07:44 PM

What does a normal week of training -- what ever that may be -- and work look like for you? If your body feels "threatened" by the volume of exercise / stress, it will fight to hold on to its stores. You keep most of your fat in your legs, I store mine in my gut. If your sleep is not in balance with the volume of training, or if you are just over training in general, that can cause you to stop leaning out. You may want to look at reducing your training volume for a couple of weeks to see if that helps any.

That said, I envy your leg-based fat storage vs my torso-based stores. Several studies have shown that the farther from your heart your fat is stored, the lower your risk of heart disease. So even if you never lean out to the level you want, there's a pretty good chance you'll still live longer than me :)

0a46a71bd3dca60276717f099b350132

(250)

on June 23, 2011
at 06:59 PM

I've definitely cut back on the cardio, but I still do it from time to time for mental health reasons more than anything else (nothing gets me out of a funk like kickboxing my imaginary boss for 30 minutes). I'm working on incorporating a lot more strength training and I'm starting to see some more definition in the leg area, which is really the main thing I'm after. I want to look like I actually HAVE muscles, even when I'm not flexing. Otherwise, it's probably just going to be something I learn to accept, which is really all right with me. Just gotta get there.

0
26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

on May 30, 2011
at 06:04 PM

It's primarily your body type, and you need to learn to love it, because it probably isn't going to change significantly no matter what your weight or body composition is.

If you're still losing weight/have higher body fat, things will change as you continue to reduce body fat and build muscle. But you are always going to have smaller breasts and carry more body fat on your hips and legs than anywhere else. You probably will never have 'defined muscles' on your hips and thighs, even if you work your ass off to get to sub 18% body fat. Really the only women who do are apple/rectangle shapes - they were born to have tight muscle booties. We were not.

Not so say you won't be able to get leaner and look good, but your boobs aren't going to start growing as you lose weight!

I'm underweight and trying to gain, but I can still relate to your OP. I have tiny boobs and tiny arms compared to my hips and legs. This was true at BMI 15, even more true at BMI 18, and it will always be true. Trying to buy swimwear sucks - the only bikini top I have that works is a size XXS from a teen store, and I wear a S/M in women's bikini bottoms usually. One-pieces will never be possible.

Let me tell you, 2 sizes between your upper body and lower is really not so bad or 'disproportionate' in the big scheme of things/pear shapes. I have a friend who is size 0/XXS on top (32A, tiny shoulders and waist) and size 10/12/L/XL on the bottom (wide hip bone structure plus nice full butt and muscular thighs). Now that is a challenge to dress!

0
1fc9c11cf23b2f62ac78979de933ad83

(2435)

on May 26, 2011
at 11:42 PM

I have noticed that since I went mostly paleo about a year and a half ago (I cheat A LOT), My weight has shifted from an apple shape to a pear shape. Thanks to overeating I haven't lost a whole lot, but I now have a great hour glass. (During this year and a half I've been breastfeeding and/or pregnant the whole time, so that could have something to do with it, too. Though was still pretty Apple-y after having my first daughter who just turned 3).

0
C23ec4b85f3cbeb9ddf6bf78317d56e3

on May 26, 2011
at 09:12 PM

fat storage in that region is linked to an estrogen excess. I've heard robb wolf comment in his podcast that women respond really well with crossfit on this subject (I think that any resistance training will help, its just many women who start crossfit haven't done any previous heavy lifting). It was one of the podcasts from his first year I believe and was kind of a fly by comment, w/out any real explanation. He may elaborate in other podcasts, but I haven't caught up to all of them yet. I think that as you build more muscle, your body will attack these fat stores more and more... so just keep pumping iron.

0a46a71bd3dca60276717f099b350132

(250)

on May 26, 2011
at 10:37 PM

Yeah my hormones are all kinds of jacked, so I wouldn't be surprised by that at all. I am doing weights, but not super heavy ones since I had an injury a few weeks ago. I am however extremely intrigued by CrossFit, and there's one nearby, so I may just give it a go and see what develops. Thanks!

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 26, 2011
at 11:09 PM

Excellent answer. I'm a dude so take me with some salt but I'd def say that a strength-biased Crossfit place will do you some serious help. There are pre-dispositions of course but I've spent time with a LOT of women at Crossfit and heir bodies transform, or at least acquire muscle, astonishingly quickly nmlre than most men by far. This is prolly cuz they're GENERALLY strting with less muscle but regardless with some backsquats and dead lifts your glutes, hams, thighs will really shape up. Seriously, more women should lift weight. Nothing better than moving weights with ladies

C23ec4b85f3cbeb9ddf6bf78317d56e3

(300)

on May 26, 2011
at 11:58 PM

Even if you don't end up going with a CF program, I'd look into lifting some heavy weights for sure. I recommend looking into the starting strength program. It's an excellent book, even if you don't decide to follow the programming. the book is the next best thing to a personal trainer, so if you've never had any weight training guidance... get the book for sure. and remember when lifting weights, the best motto is: "go heavy, or go home!"

C23ec4b85f3cbeb9ddf6bf78317d56e3

(300)

on May 28, 2011
at 04:35 PM

love that group!

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 27, 2011
at 12:47 AM

I agree totally. Rippetoe has really made lifting accessible to a lot more people with that book. Also, maybe for inspiration or just go get off the "skinny is best" society you all should check out "strong is the skinny" on facebook. And wildgorillaman. Google and you'll see

949d4d02ea7d1abd714cc3347c2c6854

(1021)

on June 22, 2011
at 07:56 PM

I do CrossFit, and I've had tons of success in improving body shape (although I was fairly hourglass to begin with). One thing I've found over time is that we don't do nearly enough weighted lunges - although it's true that you can't spot-reduce, I do find that adding extra weighted lunges over time has helped me "spot-lift" in the buttock region.

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