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  • What is going on here?

    I am just finishing up a week at the beach in North Carolina. I've come to the conclusion that Americans (yes, I am one) are generally fat and seriously un-fit :/ But that's not what I'm asking about here. After sitting on the beach and by the pool for six days, I noticed some interesting body types and I wonder what is going on.

    Body type #1: Men with "chicken legs" and huge guts. I see this everywhere... it seems pretty common. Maybe "wheat belly" syndrome?

    Body type #2: Women who are "average/slender" on top and obese below the waist (to the point it's just WEIRD looking) This reminds me of Taubes' picture in GFCF of the woman who was almost emaciated on the top and huge on the bottom... these women aren't emaciated on the top, but they are literally obese on the bottom. I saw probably 6 - 8 women like this at our hotel pool... not as common as "somewhat big all over" but more common that I would have thought.

    Body type #3: (this one really confounds me) I only saw three women like this, but it was so mind-boggling to me, I really want to know what causes this: Their calves are incredibly lean and hypertrophied... one of these women's calves looked like she was a body builder. The calves are so lean, you can see tendons, all the different muscles, etc. The upper legs (thighs) aren't hypertrophied at all, but still incredibly lean... so much that you can see the individual muscles when they walk. Once you get to the hips, though, it's all mushy, flabby, doughy through the upper body. These women didn't look to have a muscle at all on their arms/shoulders/back/chest and they had lots of fat - especially in the belly. I don't understand how a person's legs could be exquisitely leptin sensitive (and probably sensitive to whatever makes you gain muscle mass... testosterone? insulin?) but the sensitivity disappears at the hip.

    I want to be clear that I'm NOT trying to rag on these body types... I'm just trying to figure out what causes these particular things to happen.... this is what happens when I do NOTHING for six days ;-)

  • #2
    #1 is likely guys that sit at desks all day. I know of many people that work in offices that sit all day at work, and then sit all night when they get home. Their legs get no exercise whatsoever. Just my opinion.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by john_e_turner_ii View Post
      #1 is likely guys that sit at desks all day. I know of many people that work in offices that sit all day at work, and then sit all night when they get home. Their legs get no exercise whatsoever. Just my opinion.
      Atrophy! I'd never thought of it like that.

      I think in general, strange fat deposits are caused by wonky hormones, which are caused by too much PUFA, lack of sleep, too much stress, etc.
      You lousy kids! Get off my savannah!

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      • #4
        I think this is where genetics come into play (and the whole apple/pear/hour glass figure thing comes in).



        No matter how thin or fit you are, you are not going to be able to get too far away from your natural body shape. My 6 year old daughter has my body, an hourglass shape (except she is lean while I am anything but) and my 3 year old daughter has an apple or box shape and she too is very lean. The 6 year old's waist to hip ratio is more dramatic than the 3 year old's and always has been even when she was a baby. They will be able to build muscle as they get older, but their shapes will always be their shapes and I expect my oldest to be a lot curvier when she is a teen/young woman than my youngest.

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        • #5
          At the beach in Maine last week and I'll tell you there are plenty of hefty Canadians too, Quebecois anyway. God love the guys w/ the beer guts and speedos. Weird to that the in shape people all seemed to be over 40.
          Wheat is the new tobacco. Spread the word.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by IvyBlue View Post
            .............. God love the guys w/ the beer guts and speedos. ..............
            yes, there is something just so right about that......................... as long as they're speaking french and don't remind me of me in a speedo.

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            • #7
              Je me souviens
              Wheat is the new tobacco. Spread the word.

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              • #8
                #2 - Doesn't excess estrogen during childhood cause very wide hips? Not sure on that one. Plus there's genetics of course.

                #3 - I walk a up to 20 miles a day for my job, and I have killer calves, quads and hamstrings. Maybe attributable to excess time on the treadmill combined with all of those "healthy whole grains" so they don't eat all of that awful saturated fat?

                #1 - Sounds like wheat belly plus inactivity. Also sounds like my ex-husband, so now I need to go find some mind bleach. BAD memories of "Did I really sleep with that?"
                Durp.

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                • #9
                  Sounds like the effects of cortisol and chronic cardio to me.
                  Today I will: Eat food, not poison. Plan for success, not settle for failure. Live my real life, not a virtual one. Move and grow, not sit and die.

                  My Primal Journal

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                  • #10
                    #3 I think may be due to women's tendency to become obsessed with "toning" or "sculpting" body part x. All women want to have great legs and so would focus on shaping those while just writing off their upper bodies because 'they can't do pushups anyway' so why bother. Women definitely tend to see the individual body parts rather than the whole that is their body.

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                    • #11
                      I bet the #3 body type is excess cortisol. All the fat wants to go to the belly and then it will fill out the rest of the body. The legs remain relatively thin. It's amazing how many women I see now with a gut on them. It's like they think they're as thin as they always were and sqish into too small of clothes and then leave their belly hang over - like guys w/ a beer belly do. Couple that with a shirt that's too tight and wow they look horrible.

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                      • #12
                        I actually have some of #3 going on myself, so I'll address that one.

                        I lost 80 pounds doing a CW diet and a LOT of cardio. I lost weight Everywhere, but my calves are the place where the muscle really shows. Sometimes I look at them and they baffle me. Lots of walking, running, and biking. The flab at the hips and belly, some of that might be flab that used to be filled tight with fat, same with upper arms, and even chest. There's a point where all of these things seem to look worse before they even think about looking better, but the calves don't go through that same thing.

                        Eating primal seems to be helping even out my fat loss now. I still have some freakishly great calves, but the rest of me is trying to catch up.

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                        • #13
                          I think #3 may have something to do with the shoes they wear. Walking in heels changes the shape of the calves and thighs. Also, I tend to lose from the extremities in...face, hands and feet first, rear end very last.
                          Chris
                          "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It is about learning to dance in the rain."
                          Unknown

                          My journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread36279.html

                          My "Program": doing my version of a 4:3 - 3 day fast diet with real food every day, with a little twist of anti-inflammatory mixed in.

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                          • #14
                            i'll 2nd the heels & developed calves - walking around in 3" or higher heels will work the calves.

                            re: chicken legged guys - i think a lot of it is genetic. I know a particular guy who works out like a maniac (cycling) and no matter how fit he gets & he actually can get fit, at least that's what the results show, he's still gonna have pathetic little chicken legs & a mismatched barrel body.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by demuralist View Post
                              I think #3 may have something to do with the shoes they wear. Walking in heels changes the shape of the calves and thighs. Also, I tend to lose from the extremities in...face, hands and feet first, rear end very last.
                              This and the fact that the calves, ankles, and knees aren't really areas where there are major fat deposits (compared to, say, the upper thighs or lower belly).
                              But actually, I've noticed the opposite. I grew up in a city (overseas, not north america) where everyone walked and took public transport pretty much all the time. Very little driving on a day to day basis. If you were busy you could easily walk up to 2 or 3 hours a day, with lots of hills and stairs, just doing normal daily stuff. You could almost ALWAYS tell who was an American tourist and who was a foreign expat living in this city by the difference between their legs. Even if they weren't fat, the tourists had almost atrophied calf muscles and a total lack of basically any visible muscle at all in their legs. It just looked like they never ever walked anywhere. Residents of the city had normal looking leg musculature, including office workers who were sitting 8-12 hours a day. It was really weird and quite striking.

                              Then I moved back here and met people who bitched about walking 10 minutes to get to a restaurant or if the had to walk up more than 2 flights of stairs, and everything became clear.

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