Trouble spot, tummy, right around navel. Cortisol,...or? Suggestions?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created September 01, 2011 at 12:29 AM

I have been living the primal lifestyle for quite some time now (approx. 2 years). Have cut out grains, which I learned were causing inflammation, GI issues and skin irritation. Cutting them out assisted in my leaning out overall, along with greatly limiting all dairy to a little bit of cheese once in a while. I am a Crossfitter for nearly 3 years now and work out following the 3 on 1 off Rx. I am 42, weigh in at 140 with about 14% body fat. I am quite pleased with the overall results, however, there is one nagging issue. The tummy fat around my navel area. It will NOT go away. I have been told that cortisol is to blame. I will readily admit that my sleep could be better. I know that I need 8 hours but get, typically, 6 to 7 most workdays. Weekend sleep is better. I am wondering if anyone can help with further suggestions in addition to better sleep. I also take Stronger, Faster, Healthier fish oil (1 TBSP/day), D3, calcium D-glucarate and a COQ10 and magnesium periodically. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, thanks in advance!

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6 Answers



on September 01, 2011
at 06:04 PM

Wendy, I mean no disrespect, but are you sure you are not seeing yourself in a distorted way? At 14% body fat, you really don't have much to spare. Is there someone you trust to give you an honest opinion about it?


on September 01, 2011
at 03:55 PM

One thing to consider is the effects discussed on the posts linked below. In short, your body may be retaining extra body fat cells, and using them for purposes other than storing fat (such as water storage), as a normal compensatory adaptive response to keep your insulin sensitivity from dropping too quickly.




I suspect that, over time, your body will get rid of those extra body fat cells, as long as you are sending the right message ??? i.e., that you don???t need those extra body fat cells, which is signaled by maintaining low body fat levels over time. The normal turnover of body fat cells seem to vary a lot from person to person, with ranges of 6 months to 1 year cited in the literature.

Each body is different, but often our bodies ???have more commonsense??? than we do. No wonder liposuction is so often associated with glucose metabolism problems.


on September 01, 2011
at 03:26 AM

Simply put, the adrenal glands and adipose tissue take over the job of producing oestrogen once the ovaries abate during peri and menopausal years. Taxing the adrenals with coffee, stress etc is going to put the androgen converting more onto the fat cells. Hence a 'mid life spread' which tends to be round the middle. Supporting your adrenals with tonics like liquorice root and borage herb will help. Also chill time, give adrenals more time to catch their breath. Deep breathing, walk in the woods, all good.


on September 01, 2011
at 06:10 PM

What is the rest of your body like? Do you have ample breasts and buttocks? Or not? I've met a lot of women with stubborn belly fat who have very little in the way of breasts or buttocks, which is a red flag for sex hormone issues. You might be interested in this convo on my blog. I would emphasize traditional fertility foods like roe, ghee, seaweed, and organ meats.



on September 01, 2011
at 03:07 AM

Read this: http://www.leangains.com/2010/06/intermittent-fasting-and-stubborn-body.html

Also, I eat a fair amount of high fat, grassfed dairy for CLA.


on September 01, 2011
at 02:13 AM

My Mom has the exact same problem. She is fairly lean but always complains about the fat around her navel. You mentioned cortisol. Is there a reason you think there might be a connection? I am interested because I know my Mom overtrains and does not got sufficient sleep. Just a thought. Maybe cortisol does have something to do with it.

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