Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
21 Aug

Gender Differences in Fat Metabolism

malefemaleA few months ago, I addressed the role gender plays in how we respond to intermittent fasting. That post sparked a great discussion, and I’ve since received a fair number of emails from readers eager to learn other ways in which gender plays a role in our health and nutrition. One email in particular set me off on a round of research. So, a hat tip to you, Winifred, for giving me something to think, learn, and write about. I hope everyone finds it to be helpful.

As you may know, women and men store and metabolize fat differently from each other, and a 2008 paper (PDF) reviewed the evolutionary reasons for these differences. Here’s a summary of their findings and few other noteworthy factoids:

Women carry more fat than men. They are better at storing fat than men. Moreover, when women store fat, they do so in different places than men. They’ll preferentially store fat in in the hips, butt, and legs, whereas when men gain weight, it usually goes to the upper body (hence why you see massive beer bellies atop stick legs). Furthermore, when both men and women store upper body fat, men are more likely to develop visceral fat – the abdominal fat associated with metabolic syndrome – while women are more likely to develop subcutaneous fat.

On women, body fat seems to be healthier and less problematic. The characteristically female lower body “gluteofemoral fat” is actually a strong sign of metabolic health, whereas abdominal fat is not. In men, high body fat levels correlate strongly with insulin resistance, while this relationship is much weaker in women (probably because of their lower tendency to store visceral fat).

Women burn fat differently than men. Upper body fat goes first, while lower body fat tends to stay put. Except during pregnancy and lactation, when the lower body begins to give up lower fat stores far more readily. Interestingly (and not by coincidence), women tend to preferentially store the long chain omega-3 fatty acid DHA – the one that’s so important to the baby’s development during and pregnancy – in their thighs.

Women make more triglycerides than men do, but their serum levels are similar. This indicates that the fat is being taken back up into adipose tissue at a higher rate in women than in men.

Women are better at burning fat in response to exercise. During endurance exercise, they exhibit lower respiratory exchange ratios than men, which indicates more fat burning and less carb burning.

Women are better at converting ALA into DHA, and they also tend to have more DHA and AA circulating throughout their serum than men, who have more saturated and monounsaturated fat.

These differences in fat metabolism aren’t seen in isolated muscle cells of men and women, which isn’t really surprising. We’re made with the same basic building blocks; we just run on different software. The differences are systemic and hormonal.

Why does this sexual dimorphism in fat metabolism exist?

Well, the name of the game in evolution is reproduction, and reproduction is far more nutritionally expensive for women than it is for men. I don’t think I have to spell out why – for a man, the reproductive process is a brief moment in time, a half tablespoon’s worth of effort; for a woman, the reproductive process lasts the better part of a year and represents a significant drain on nutrient stores. As such, women are “designed” to hold onto said nutrients because, as far as evolutionary fitness is concerned, her primary purpose is to feed, nurture, and cultivate an entire other human being inside her body for nine months. Think about that for a second: women have to create and support another life inside their bodies. They have to provide the food, the water, and the shelter. If something goes terribly wrong in the “outside world,” that nutrient flow to the fetus could be interrupted, thus putting her evolutionary purpose at risk.

Now, imagine if the body didn’t know best. Imagine if the expectant mother had to know precisely what the fetus needed at any given moment – what precise nutrients were needed, which foods to eat and when to eat them in order to provide said nutrients, what to drink and how much of it, what not to eat nor drink – and then make a conscious decision to provide those things right on schedule? It wouldn’t work. We wouldn’t be here. Luckily, the body “knows.” The body will draw on what’s stored and what’s provided to make a health baby. And if it’s not all there, it’ll even convert other stuff into the stuff that it actually needs. Sure, a good diet will absolutely improve fetal health, but we’ve all known parents with less-than-ideal diets who have healthy kids. The body knows.

Which is why women store and burn fat differently than men. In order to be able to provide those nutrients to the growing child, female bodies store certain types of fat in certain places on the body. Female bodies “hoard” certain types of fat and are loathe to relinquish them “just cause you had a simple caloric deficit.” Whereas a man could go low carb Primal and lose weight pretty easily because all he “has” to be able to do is provide a bit of sperm, a woman’s body has more important things in mind, like having enough body fat on hand to produce enough leptin for optimal fertility, or enough DHA stored in lower body fat to build a robust baby brain.

How does this affect my recommendations or your diet, if at all?

Women – don’t be concerned about a little (or more than a little) subcutaneous body fat, especially on your lower body. If you’ve been trying in vain to lose that stubborn jiggle on your thigh, consider that maybe, just maybe it’s there for a reason. Even if you’re not interested in having a child, it’s likely that the presence of lower body fat indicates good health. You don’t have to get pregnant, but the ability to do so is probably a marker of good health, and the research outlined above suggests that classically feminine patterns of fat deposition are healthier than classically male patterns. And even if you don’t like your glutofemoral fat, rest assured that the males in your life (even ones as far away as Papua New Guinea – PDF) likely do!

Men – most of the fitness and health literature is geared toward you, so I’ll just suggest that you take this information on gender differences in fat metabolism into consideration.

I’ve always stressed the relativity of a person’s ideal body composition. I’ve discussed my own failings at trying to eat big and lift big to get big. I managed to put on five pounds of muscle by eating and working out way more than was comfortable or natural, but it made me lethargic, and as soon as I skipped a meal or workout, muscle would just peel off. That’s my comfortable body composition. Your ideal body composition might look very different, and, if you’re a woman, it might look very different from a man’s. That’s fine. That’s natural. That’s attractive. That’s how it’s supposed to be, and by trying to fight it – in either direction – your health may suffer.

What do you folks think about all this? Does this take a load off your mind, or does it open up new avenues of inquiry? Let me know in the comment section!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Fabulous article. There is a range of being healthy but the media higlights only what maybe 1% can achieve making te 99% worry and chase goals that are unrelaistic and undesirable.Our goals should be healthand if we want look good naked, mt look good for a magazine shoot.

    Michelle wrote on August 21st, 2012
    • Wow I was first!!

      Michelle wrote on August 21st, 2012
      • I am really really tired of people who comment “First”
        No input just a childish display.
        Please refrain from I’m first nonsense.
        Please notice you were too slow anyway and you are second.sheeesh.

        Peter wrote on August 22nd, 2012
        • Please notice Michelle posted the first TWO comments.

          Paul wrote on August 22nd, 2012
    • Yah, I agree. I think this post does a great job at saying that not everyone is the same. Meaning that your ideal body composition is not going to be the same as some super model somewhere. However, your ideal body composition is healthy, natural and beautiful. Great post.

      Max Ungar wrote on August 21st, 2012
      • I don’t understand why so many people compare themselves to what a super model looks like? While there are beanpole skinny (naturally without effort) women/men out there, probably more likely than not, that super model had to suffer, A LOT, to look the way she/he does. Especially by modern societal standards. They’re deprived and starving. Who, in reality, is happy that way???? I know I wouldn’t be!

        Kate wrote on August 22nd, 2012
        • You would be surprised. When you are skinny, you get a lot more attention (if you are into that sort of thing) then you would be at an average to overweight size.

          Lauren wrote on August 22nd, 2012
        • I have to agree with Lauren – although logically it doesn’t make any sense to abuse oneself in order to get unnaturally thin, (a fair amount of) society rewards skinny with attention.

          Unfortunate but true.

          N wrote on August 22nd, 2012
        • That’s not really fair. I’m considered skinny which is a result of working out and eating right. Today’s average weight person is likely to be overweight. From speaking to men, they prefer women with a little meat on them and believe that super models are too skinny. I think it was Women’s Health Magazine that took an old portrait of a naked woman. And by old think not this century, so the woman by my consideration was kinda chunky. They doctored it up so the lady in the pic looked more like the skinny “modern” standards of today. When surveyed, most men preferred the undoctored picture. Something like 60%. I think that men really just don’t care and there is a man that will find some form of the female body flattering.

          Ashley wrote on September 8th, 2012
    • yuppp totally agree! my body type is more like a dude… always have belly fat first before other part. lol I got trapped in body image issue for a while since i have like big muscular legs, unlike those models usually seen on magazines. Now I just focus on being healthy and be comfortable in my own body.

      Gift Clumsywarrior wrote on August 21st, 2012
    • Totally. I’m completely mystified by the near-universal assumption (in the paleo-sphere) that a ‘healthy’ fenale will look like a supermodel or triathlete.

      Natural selection will go for ‘fertile’ over ‘ripped’ any day.

      Think about those wonderful fertility goddess statues from paleolithic times- they had hips, butts, breasts, and… bellies!

      I simply don’t believe that evolution cares how flat your tummy is, especially after you’ve had kids.

      Has anyone looked into the whole belly-fat thing? Is it really true that a waist/hip ratio for women should be 0.8 (like we’ve been told),or is this another case of the stats being fraught with underlying assumptions?

      homehandymum wrote on August 22nd, 2012
      • Regarding waist/hip ratio, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was oversimplified (or rather I would be surprised if it wasn’t) BUT there is actual evidence that waist/hip ratio is at least a reasonably decent (though certainly not perfect) marker for risk of a number of diseases, e.g. diabetes.

        However the actual ideal # varies depending on things like ethnicity and family background.

        TO wrote on August 22nd, 2012
      • There’s also the problem that one’s “natural” waist, or what science considers to be a waist, and what we culturally consider to be a waist is a lot different. One’s natural waist, as I understand it, is just under the ribs. Just about everyone is smallest there, no matter how big they might be. It’s why empire waists look so good on a woman. It emphasizes the natural waist, and flares out at about that /.8 angle. (Too tired for maths.)

        JMH wrote on August 30th, 2012
  2. Good stuff, Mark. One of the things I like most about your take on ancestral health is that it’s just that – health. I always see you encouraging people to embrace their own natural, ideal body composition, not an artificially constructed societal one, and to experiment to find a diet that matches their lifestyle (e.g. natural, vegetable carbohydrates as an elective macronutrient in response to exercise levels, etc., rather than an automatic evil). Glad to see this one.

    Ware wrote on August 21st, 2012
  3. Thank you for this. I mean, seriously, thank you. My upper body has shed pretty much all its fat, I can see my abs, my arm muscles are defined…but my damn lower body just holds onto the fat for dear life. Maybe I should just accept that this means I’m healthy :)

    Carly wrote on August 21st, 2012
    • You and me both, Carly!

      Nicole wrote on August 21st, 2012
      • Nothing wrong with a badonkdonk!

        Paleo Ron Burgundy wrote on August 21st, 2012
        • Bon, or Ron, or whoever you are, I like where you link goes. Very nice, and a move I shall imitate.

          Joshua wrote on August 21st, 2012
        • This article was well written. Links to cited articles were provided which always gives credibility to the author/researcher. The evolutionary explanation for fat storage was accurate and dovetails nicely with primal eating.
          We live in an articial world with an abundance of natural amd unnatural items, some of which we consume more than moderately. Our bodies reflect this.
          What does a completely natural body in a natural world look like? After reading this I have a better understanding of that question and it’s answer.

          Also kudos to Ron for linking to the 2nd best site on the web, with his neato linking trick.

          Levon wrote on August 26th, 2012
    • And me: already makes three. :)

      Patrícia wrote on August 21st, 2012
    • The next time my 6yo son pokes my outer thigh and giggles at how “squishy” it is, I’ll inform him that he’s lucky I am a prime specimen with plenty of glutalfemoral fat reserves or he wouldn’t even be here to laugh at me.

      Yeah, that will make me feel a lot better!

      Decaf Debi wrote on August 21st, 2012
      • Thank you for that comment… It made my day :) I may steal your line for future use against my very young gang of five who feel the need to mention how squishy certain spots are….

        Laura wrote on August 21st, 2012
      • Yeah, my brothers used to call me thunder thighs. Should be more like, WONDER thighs! GIRL POWER! ;)

        elaine! wrote on August 21st, 2012
        • I *love* this & I’m stealing it.

          Stacy wrote on August 22nd, 2012
        • I’m stealing this too!!!

          Jackie Kessler wrote on August 22nd, 2012
    • Amen to that!

      Hilary wrote on August 22nd, 2012
    • I’m with you Carly – my body decided to become a bottom heavy hourglass at age 12 and weight fluctuations notwithstanding (from 58 to 82 kg), the basic shape and composition of my body/body fat doesn’t change. Looking at pictures of every female relative I have, we’re all the same, hanging onto that bum and thighs until the famine!

      Guilia wrote on August 22nd, 2012
  4. Great article, but what does it mean then if I a woman has ab fat? So far I have lost 60lbs but I still have fat around the middle and I have hit a wall as to fat loss. All ideas would be helpful.

    Jodie Jantz wrote on August 21st, 2012
    • I would also love to know this! I carry all of my weight in my stomach and it NEVER goes away. Even when I lost 50 pounds I had rolls on my midsection and thin arms and legs. What caused this to happen and what do I do about it?

      Nikki wrote on August 21st, 2012
      • Me, too! I am small-hipped and have a smaller chest, so not much fat being stored there. Instead, it’s seems to be around my belly…the traditional apple shape.

        I have been assuming that I’m insulin resistant. I have a strong family history of diabetes. I also assume that I have to really limit sugar in all it’s various forms to reduce the belly fat, but I’d love to hear an expert’s opinion.

        Barb Crocker wrote on August 21st, 2012
        • I’d LOVE to know this as well. I’ve lost approximately 20 lbs in the last few months, I almost feel like I’m UNDERweight now at 5’4 and 114 lbs. I feel like even though my upper body has shrunk so dramatically, I still have a little “pooch” over my abs/belly that I can’t seem to shake!

          Kiki wrote on August 21st, 2012
    • There are probably multiple factors but cortisol (a hormone released when you’re stressed) is one I’ve read definite research on, and diet composition is another. Sleep is another possibility.

      So be happy, eat well, and sleep well. It might help, and if it doesn’t at least you’re be calm, happy, and well rested :).

      TO wrote on August 21st, 2012
    • I would also like to know what ab fat means on a woman. I’ve always had a belly paunch (starting at about my solar plexus and curving way out to just below my belly button), even when I was skinny in my teens and twenties. Near as I can tell, it’s almost all subcutaneous, but it also makes me look like I’m perpetually bloated. I believe it’s partly genetic; I’ve had to make peace with the fact that it will very likely never go away.

      I also (for a woman) have broad shoulders and a thick waist; I’ve never had a 0.7 waist/hip ratio. It amazes me sometimes that men even look at me, but I still somehow manage to catch a few eyes here and there. It helps that I have a nice rack and a nice badonkdonk, I suppose.

      Angel wrote on August 21st, 2012
    • In my recent BioSignature (really interesting assessment if you’re curious: http://www.charlespoliquin.com/Education/Biosignature.aspx) The BioSignature measures where you store fat and how that relates to your hormonal profile. My top two problem areas: 1. Suprailiac (love handles) and 2. Umbilical (belly). This first relates to blood sugar management and the second relates to cortisol. The BioSig isn’t a perfect science, but I have definitely seen improvements in these two areas by going very low carb (huge improvements in my love handles. Huge.) and now I’m working on the cortisol issue. I’m not very stressed out, so instead I eliminated birth control (which can elevate cortisol) and I’m focusing on sleeping like a champ. Perhaps try limiting your carbs and reducing your stress?

      Susie wrote on August 22nd, 2012
    • Ladies, I have been Paleo/Primal for about 2 years and found the same thing… UNTIL … in support of BF I’ve been on an autoimmune + FODMAPS protocol for 3 weeks and the little pooch around the middle shrank!
      Note I lost only about 1kg, so I’m not sure whether it was inflammation or boating as I am yet to re introduce foods.
      I’m so chuffed to have a flat-ish tummy that I’m wondering if I’ll bother reintroducing any of it ;)
      The thighs are still there :)

      Vetti wrote on August 22nd, 2012
      • Agree with the above poster. My perpetual belly shrank after I discovered my fructose intolerance!

        Marisa wrote on August 24th, 2012
  5. I find myself now almost 6 months pregnant.. And I can certainly say the first place I put on weight was my gluteal-femoral area. Now I have a better understanding of why it happened there first! I know its all to help the baby. Wonderful post Mark!

    Shana wrote on August 21st, 2012
  6. So, even though I am 18% body fat (huge yay, my goal was 20%. And a big thank you, Mark, for TBP, I hit that glorious number because of you), and it seems the jiggle on my butt and outer thighs only diminished slightly, it is a sign that I’m *healthy*?

    That will take time to sink in.

    Nicole wrote on August 21st, 2012
    • A woman at less than 20% body fat, with abs showing has nothing to complain about. And if anyone in your life complains about your gluteal-femoral fat, then tell that person to go away.

      Robert

      Robert wrote on August 21st, 2012
      • “And if anyone in your life complains about your gluteal-femoral fat, then tell that person to go away.”

        +1

        TO wrote on August 23rd, 2012
    • Much lower than the body fat than what I’m sure you’ve worked hard accomplish, can actually be dangerous. At around 16% a large percentage of women stop menstruating. We don’t now know if lack of a cycle is dangerous *in and of itself*, but it is a big indicator that the body is starting to shut down to preserve energy. 18% is amazing! Consider the *jiggle* to be famine insurance. ;)

      mntnmom wrote on August 22nd, 2012
  7. The down side of being unique is that there may be no fitness model hiding inside your skin. Luckily most people can probably achieve reasonable results without killing themselves.

    Groktimus Primal wrote on August 21st, 2012
  8. Brilliant and much needed information!

    Harry Mossman wrote on August 21st, 2012
  9. So this explains why my *ss and thigs kept getting bigger over the last 2.5 years of eating primally…hmm.
    I never had a womanly figure really, I have always been the kind of stick figure growing up and in my 20’s.
    I’m loving my newly acquired hip and thigh fat.
    Good to know that it’s high in omega 3 and I wonder if me eating a crap load of fish over the last 12 months has anything to do with it?

    Because I ate a lot of red meat the first year of eating primally and my hips didn’t change. My bones/body/hip figure has changed dramatically since cutting down on red meat/lard and eating a diet extremely high in seafood and butter.

    Issabeau wrote on August 21st, 2012
  10. Very interesting article Mark, and it makes a lot of sense! As a woman, I’ve always carried my extra weight more like a man does – stick legs and all. While I’ve lost a lot of weight, reversed diabetes 2, and gained a lot of fitness along the way, I still have that spare tire that I hope “going Primal” will help me with.

    Does the study say anything about women who carries weight around the middle section rather than the “usual” pattern?

    Catherine Kostyn wrote on August 21st, 2012
    • Yes, I’m definitely interested in hearing more about ab fat for females. I am fit, tiny butt, no fat on my muscular legs, but my body loves to store this bit of fat on my tummy!

      Amber wrote on August 21st, 2012
      • How has your diet been before going primal? I’m not exactly an expert, but I’ve heard this before and found some studies indicating that trans fats “increase the amount of fat around the belly. They do this not just by adding new fat, but also by moving fat from other areas to the belly.” Read below:

        http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20060612/eat-trans-fat-get-big-belly

        Anders Emil wrote on August 21st, 2012
        • I believe I’ve seen similar research about high carbohydrate diets — that they tended to favour more abdominal fat and less lower body fat.

          TO wrote on August 21st, 2012
      • me, too! :)

        Jenny wrote on August 21st, 2012
      • maybe that’s ok! We all need to quit setting “what that chick on the cover of Shape” looks like as a goal/ideal and remember that we are all unique.
        Most of what makes the “jiggle” go away is weights. but then not all of us will have the same success/results as others – because of our genetic predisposition(s)

        peggy wrote on August 21st, 2012
    • I know I’ve read research before showing that women who carry their weight in the abdomen do tend to be at somewhat higher risk for health problems (e.g. diabetes). Apparently it’s one of the reasons, though not the only one, for genetic differences in diabetes.

      Sorry :(.

      TO wrote on August 21st, 2012
    • Me too Mark, I lost weight everywhere and now have stick legs. I eat 60% Healthy fat, 30% protein 10% carbs from veggies lots…still have the muffin top? I also IF once a week for 24 hours.

      I eat about 1800-2500 calories daily, lots of grass fed butter and healthy oils (grass fed beef, eggs and free range chicken) NO SUGAR, GRAINS or FAST FOOD. (past three years)

      I am stronger and faster feel great (look great with out the muffin top would look better)… never been overweight but now looking at boarder-line underweight 5’5 -111lbs. with a muffin top…

      Workouts 3-4x weights(45 min) (squats and dead-lifts “heavy” 120-165lbs x5x5–still stick legs), walking and sprints.

      What is it about the mid section for middle age women?

      Could it be red wine? Mid Life? Hormones. BTW if women live longer for lower body fat -well mine is gone from going Primal! However I can get it back if it means I would be healthier —just pick up the junk food —LOL

      Marie wrote on August 21st, 2012
      • I always wonder, when nice-looking / nicely built women complain about or agonize over so-called “muffin top” — if they are, in fact, unaware that a woman’s body SHOULD have hips and a waist? If you’re wearing your pants so tight that your subcutaneous fat is pushed up and over your belt line (the lower-body version of a push-up bra?!) — maybe that’s not a sign that you need to ‘do something about your body’– but you need to get pants that fit better? Women are supposed to have smooth contours and a lovely (granted, small) layer of subcutaneous fat gives that!

        Elenor wrote on August 21st, 2012
        • Good point Elenor. There’s a reason vanity sizing exists. Some of us don’t want to let go of our size 2s.

          And another flip on the “muffin top” if you are small in the waist and thicker in the hips, pants today are not really made for “us.” They are all low-rise for the boy shapes of teenage girls today.

          Parson wrote on August 22nd, 2012
        • You can get smaller, but you are more likely going to have hip bones jut out rather than a muffin-top. We can’t win, can we?

          Lauren wrote on August 22nd, 2012
        • exactly what I was going to say! also, proper fitting clothes can make a world of difference when it comes to curves

          Josephine wrote on August 22nd, 2012
        • I agree with the “pants fitting better” comment. I think it was one of those fashion TV shows where the host said that back in the day, everyone used to get their clothes tailored, and the “made to wear” phenomenon is only very recent. Heck, not that long ago, women were still making their own clothes. Maybe we should spend less money on tons of clothes and instead get the stuff we have tailored so it fits properly.

          Deanna wrote on August 22nd, 2012
        • I generally find that, if my pants aren’t pushing up my belly fat and causing the muffin-top, then they keep falling down and I’m constantly pulling them back up. I feel like it’s a catch-22 for me.

          Susie wrote on August 25th, 2012
        • I don’t want to start an argument, least of all with a cat ’cause I love ‘em, but I wonder why you say women ~should~ have those things.

          Lisa wrote on September 1st, 2012
  11. How does this relate to menopausal women?

    Kaki wrote on August 21st, 2012
    • I was thinking the same thing. Does the female body change according to different ages (ie, childbearing vs non)?

      Happycyclegirl wrote on August 21st, 2012
      • It does. And men’s bodies change, too. Old men and old women look more alike than men and women in their reproductive years.

        em wrote on August 21st, 2012
      • I’ve just started reading “Why Women need Fat” Melissa Mcewen’s review of this book mentions some of these connections.

        Josephine wrote on August 22nd, 2012
    • Not only that, but will all this lead to separate future Primal Blueprint books for each gender?

      Wenchypoo wrote on August 22nd, 2012
  12. It’s interesting that since I’ve been eating primally my body has taken on a much more feminine shape. Nature is cool.

    katie wrote on August 21st, 2012
  13. Someone help me out here. What rhymes with “gluteo-femoral”?

    Sir Mix-A-Lot wrote on August 21st, 2012
    • Derriere Immortal

      Paleo Bon Rurgundy wrote on August 21st, 2012
    • Why? Are you writing poetry about the female bod? Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

      Christina wrote on August 21st, 2012
    • booty-o-fonderwul

      edearl wrote on August 21st, 2012
    • ephemeral?

      Emerald is close enough to sound like a rhyme.

      TO wrote on August 21st, 2012
    • paleo temporal
      (means I set my diet-watch to Primal Time)
      as in,
      when I was chillin’ with my Grokkies and our gluteo femorals
      yeah everybody shakin’ their derriere immortal
      i knew it was cause we all went paleo temporal…

      you get the idea

      god that’s nerdy LOL

      Tom B-D wrote on August 21st, 2012
      • Aw man, now that’s going to be stuck in my head all day…

        Joanne wrote on August 21st, 2012
        • and when I ditched the grains the pain went down the drain
          i mean I used to be bigger than Queen latifa
          but then I made peace and shook hands with beef-a
          I smile as I lick the bacon grease
          cause what a relief
          I’m a FAT BURNING BEAST
          y’all

          Tom B-D wrote on August 21st, 2012
      • Nerds totally rule!!! roflmao!!!

        Rae wrote on August 21st, 2012
  14. Are chicken thighs better to eat then? :)

    JohnC wrote on August 21st, 2012
  15. Thank you thank you thank you. So happy to read a thorough, well-written article/blog post about these differences!

    Mary wrote on August 21st, 2012
  16. Fat deposition in post-menopausal women is a completely different animal. There are a lot of us out here, Mark.

    rose wrote on August 21st, 2012
    • That’s right – my thighs and butt are shrinking, but I have gained belly fat since menopause. Primal has help tons though and I have lost 13 pounds. Almost under 20% body fat!

      Never give up!

      mhillacorn wrote on August 21st, 2012
      • Yes, I would like to see more info on post-menopausal metabolism/fat deposition. I would be so happy with 20% body fat. I’ve only just started Paleo lifestyle so I appreciate all these posts that show the success of others. It’s encouraging.

        kimberley wrote on August 22nd, 2012
    • no kidding. when you write “women are …” or “women do …” most of the time it doesn’t describe how MY body is or behaves, at all.

      not even close.

      tess wrote on August 21st, 2012
    • I would like to see this topic addressed as well–my body responds differently, looks different, since menopause. I am a couple of years post-menopausal–nothing is the same!

      hummingbird wrote on August 21st, 2012
  17. Please be mindful that “gender” is not the same as “sex”. Mark, you should be using the term “sex” when referring to biological differences, as gender is an expression that is not based on someone’s “parts”. I am a faithful reader and your work has changed my life!

    River wrote on August 21st, 2012
    • O brother, can we just all admit we all know exactly what he is saying and not be nitpicky where there are no nits to pick.

      Joshua wrote on August 21st, 2012
      • No, please recognize that all people are not aware of how certain language is oppressive and/or inaccurate. If you look up the two work in the dictionary, they have different definitions. I’m not trying to be a jerk, because it’s awesome info, but definitely upset me in the way it was framed.

        River wrote on August 21st, 2012
    • For this and all scientific discussions gender refers to sex. XX and XY stuff. Surgery and hormonal therapy affect appearancevbut they can not change your DNA.

      Mike wrote on August 21st, 2012
      • But hormonal therapy will sure as heck affect how you lay down fat! I bet Primal trans-people are doing a lot of interesting self-experimentation, and mixing of advice when it comes to ancestral heath. Hopefully there will be a resource on those issues someday.

        Anna wrote on August 21st, 2012
        • I agree – I am a trans man and live primally as a way to be healthy and modify my body in a way the fits with my gender. For me, and for many other trans and gender queer folks out there, there is a BIG difference between sex and gender.

          I love this site, the Primal Blue Print, and the work Mark does, but would love it even more if I saw LGBTQ perspectives considered a bit more. Not all Grokers want to be attractive to the opposite sex.

          Kris wrote on August 21st, 2012
        • Like Kris I’m a trans man.

          Mark’s post quite clearly goes through the differences in storing fat that we associate with male/female. For most people that will tie up with their genes because their genes have dictated the appearance of their sexual organs and their sexual organs produce most of their sex hormones. Some of us get our primary sex hormone from other sources (I get injected with mine).

          Personally once I started hormone treatment I started to apply advice for guys to myself. And it’s largely held true. But I had hormones “loaded” for the start of my treatment. So I would have pretty darn quickly gone into a male range for my testosterone. Certainly by 4 months I was comfortably in the male range. But I think we should all experiment anyway to find the version of paleo/primal that works for each of us.

          I think we’ll struggle to get much of a resource for trans people TBH. We’re obviously few in number, there are fewer paleo trans folk, and there’s a lot of under-knowledge medically about trans folk anyway.

          Nature loves diversity. It’s why we’re here in the first place. Evolution only works when it offers up different options in the first place.

          treborix wrote on August 26th, 2012
      • Not everyone is born XX or XY, like those with Klinefelter’s. And even if the chromosomes are clear, there are still conditions like CAH, which can make genetic men look like women, or virilize the genitals of females, or lead to various degrees of intersex. Then there are transexuals, who may be genetically and anatomically one sex, but deeply, unshakeably, identify with the other. Sex is a tricky business, sometimes — genes don’t always determine identity — so it is important to make a distinction between sex and gender.

        em wrote on August 21st, 2012
        • Agreed. My in-laws had adopted a baby girl with fetal-alcohol syndrome. She was undeniably a “she” but was born with both parts. I don’t understand it all, but they had to choose which sex (gender?) she would be right after birth. Not all genetics go by the book. FWIW:)

          Jennae wrote on August 22nd, 2012
    • I totally second this. River is not being picky here, actually. Just accurate. Gender and sex are considered to be different in the scientific literature, it would be great if the post title would reflect this.

      Joanna wrote on August 21st, 2012
      • Yeah, another transperson agrees! But good article! I wish this would be shown in the health classes, esp. to the girls. It’s so sad to see so many people with eating disorders.

        Omnomnomz wrote on August 22nd, 2012
  18. Thank you for the Great post! Since I’ve started eating primal, I’ve leaned out a little (eating bacon, whole milk yogurt, organic cream, butter, etc…) even though this was not my intent when starting this lifestyle. I think this may be more a function of my waining hormones (I’m over 50). All I know its made quite the improvement on my quality of life. You’ve confirmed what I always thought about body image and health. It’s great to lead a healthy, active life style and still sport a wonderfully feminine figure.

    Judy wrote on August 21st, 2012
  19. And don’t forget that even after those nine months are over, women are still growing their babies for a long time through nursing. Evolutionarily, women would need to be prepared to be the primary nutritional source for their babies for a year or more – traditional societies tend to breastfeed for three or more years, and that adds up to a lot of calories.

    Kat wrote on August 21st, 2012
    • Great point Kat. Not only does it add up to a lot of calories but women also have to make up the vitamins and nutrients they “lost” during pregnancy.

      Happycyclegirl wrote on August 21st, 2012
    • 3 years?! Well, good to know.

      Since going Primal reduced my body fat *everywhere,* that bodes well for getting that part of my womanly shape back for a while once we have a little Grokling.

      Nicole wrote on August 21st, 2012
    • ..and so, a great deal of that hip/thigh fat will remain until breastfeeding has used it up – which usually happens during the second year of breastfeeding. Something that new moms who only token feed for a few months never get the benefit of.

      RaeVynn wrote on August 21st, 2012
      • …and also something those crazy-ass Hollywood starlets should be told, so they stop express dieting away their nutritional powerhouse bodies 5 mins after giving birth!
        Aishwarya Rai is not only gorgeous, she is a role model for mothers wanting to buck the “rubber band body” trend of the celebrity world – it is comforting to know that not only is she a bastion for self esteem, but is doing the right thing from an evolutionary perspective too.

        Cledbo wrote on August 26th, 2012
  20. Mark, this was interesting and a little comforting, but in a future post could you please, please dig a little deeper into a very large (ha!) sub-set of your female followers (and future followers) – – the post-menopausal woman and any additional challenges or differences in burning fat? For post menopausal women, doesn’t that mean their bodies aren’t driven to store fat for reproductive purposes? Shouldn’t the body then give up some of those stores more easily now? It sure doesn’t seem that way.

    And to round out that long-anticipated post that’s more geared to your post-menopausal followers, I’d love you to address just what actually happens in the body as it breaks down its own fat. I’ve read that toxins and hormones can be stored in our body fat so how much concern should we feel about releasing stored toxins & hormones into our bodies and blood streamed we lose the weight? Are there any precautions we might take to avoid any potential stressors (besides the age old ‘keep hydrated to flush them away’)?

    Thank you again today’s post!

    kerryk wrote on August 21st, 2012
    • Yes! Please! Women spend half or more of their adult lives peri- and post menopausal, and believe me, fat metabolism changes!

      Diane wrote on August 21st, 2012
    • Kerryk, Thanks for bring this up. Yes, Mark please do address this in the near future. I know you’re not busy! :)

      Susan wrote on August 21st, 2012
    • Yes, please re: what happens to the toxins and hormones, etc, all stored in our fat, when we burn it?

      Grokiana wrote on August 21st, 2012
      • Hi everyone,
        Count me in here too. Peri and post menopause is a huge issue, as us XX’s tend to live longer, and I want to be able to approach menopause and beyond empowered with strategies to cope. I have read that it is a stage where insulin resistance rears it’s ugly head which whacks on belly fat, and i am starting the research now but I think there is a huge chunk of readers out there that crave this information.
        As regards body shape, media has a huge part to play in this, in our modern world, primal cues on attractiveness and the ability to reproduce are being subverted by stick figures and impossible flat bellies and low, low rise jeans, which only about 5% of the population can wear with any confidence, the rest of us look like muffin tops:)
        Cheers everyone, love yourselves, and enjoy life and people around you in all their diversity.

        Heather wrote on August 21st, 2012
    • Mark, count me in too. Would love for you to dive into the effects of menopause on women and how the primal approach can help. There is a distinct lack of info out there for us. And 51% of the population (and probably your readership) that have dealt with or will be dealing with this issue. Thanks much in advance!!! Grok on.

      Liz wrote on August 23rd, 2012
  21. Mark, this was a great post. I’m sure it makes a whole lotta women feel better about themselves because it did that for me. I have spent a lifetime agonizing over my gluteofemoral fat that no amount of squats will shrink – this has been a huge bummer since having children was never my desire. But…I’m probably healthier for it. And that’s really all that matters. Thanks for all the good info.

    Christina wrote on August 21st, 2012
  22. Great post! I have spent a lot of time wondering about a related issue the last year while pregnant:
    If the body knows best and the mothers dirt during pregnancy is important, then why oh why does nature make you feel so sick?
    I’m ashamed to admit I’ve rarely eaten worse than whilst pregnant – anytime I tried to do better my body got rid of it immediately. I lost 4 kg in first 4 months and my poor daughter got white bread and cheap chocolate to live on – stuff I never ever eat otherwise…

    Emma wrote on August 21st, 2012
    • This is my pregnancies too. Vomiting everything except McDONALD’S or white bread. Why?

      Linda wrote on August 21st, 2012
      • I experienced horrendous morning sickness during my 2nd pregnancy and had trouble gaining weight until the 3rd trimester. It had my doctors worried, but my midwife was never all that troubled by it. She seemed confident my body would “figure it out” in due time, which it did. All the indicators of fetal health were good.
        Now I’ve been reading a book by German ancestral health scientists (not yet available in English, unfortunately), in which it is said that morning sickness is a protective mechanism to prevent the mother from eating anything that could potentially harm her or the baby (such as via food poisoning). The fact that today, we have so many unhealthy foods to fall back on was not foreseen by this evolutionary mechanism – before the advent of doughnuts and McDonalds, we would have resorted to more healthy foods that were available but didn’t repulse us. And because we are better at storing fat and gaining/maintaining weight during pregnancy, the fetus can be kept healthy even if we are eating a less than perfect diet or even too little food in general.

        Stephanie wrote on August 22nd, 2012
  23. So if we store fat differently, process nutrients differently, should we be working out differently than men in the primal context?

    When you say, “Women are better at burning fat in response to exercise,” that means fat as a macronutrient, not the aesthetic definition of fat, right? Does this mean our balance of protein/carbs/fat should be different than the typical recommended 40/30/30?

    But I do appreciate the shout out that women are just built differently. I think that in general we don’t give ourselves enough leeway here. Hooray for loving ourselves!

    Alexa wrote on August 21st, 2012
    • Eating 40% of calories as protein will probably make you feel sick. Almost every culture ends up averaging about 15% of caloric intake as protein, with a range of about 10% to 30%. If you stick to Mark’s “Primal Blueprint” recommendation of 100 to 150 grams per day of carbs, that is only around 400 to 600 calories per day, or maybe 30% for a woman with just moderate exercise levels, maybe a little less for someone who exercises more and eats more because of that. So you end up with something more like 15/20/65 to 20/30/50 protein/carb/fat ratios as a percentage of calories. If you really want to optimize for low fasting insulin levels you can go down to something like 15/5/80 but you have to start consciously watching what you eat for carb level at that point, since even eating fresh fruit will put you above 5% of calories as carb pretty easily.

      Chris C wrote on August 21st, 2012
  24. ‘As such, women are “designed” …’
    Mark, you’ve got it!
    I enjoy your website except for the evolution premise. Women were indeed designed. They were the last thing God created and still the best design around.

    Dan wrote on August 21st, 2012
    • According to David King, an associate professor in the anatomy department at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Carbondale, “The modern theory of evolution is almost universally accepted among scientists. It is far and away the best explanatory framework ever proposed for understanding data from paleontology, biogeography, systematics, comparative anatomy and physiology, ecology, ethology, population genetics, and molecular genetics.”

      Sorry, Dan, but humans and every other form of life on this planet (and beyond) are the product of evolution. The evidence is overwhelming.

      Barefoot Amy wrote on August 21st, 2012
      • So where is the missing link?

        Kiki wrote on August 21st, 2012
        • There is no such thing. I hate to reference Wikipedia, but here’s a nice selection of “transitional fossils.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transitional_fossil

          ajt wrote on August 21st, 2012
        • Seriously? Are you so ignorant of basic biology and evolution that you would even need to ask such a question?

          There is no such thing as a ‘missing link’. Yes, there are many details of evolution yet to be worked out. But that’s a basic difference between science and pseudo-science: people continue to work on, enhance, refine, and yes, even correct the theoretical framework.

          That said, the existing framework of evolution is as well established as our knowledge of any physical science, and better than many which you wouldn’t think to question. Modern biology simply wouldn’t exist outside the framework of evolution.

          (There are so many examples of evolution in day-to-day life that how could you doubt it? Drug resistant bacteria and intentional evolution by breeders of numerous species, being two of the most obvious.)

          Jim wrote on August 21st, 2012
      • Without having to insist on our own beliefs, Primal works whether you think humans evolved to perform optimally by eating, moving, sleeping, etc., this way, OR whether you think humans were brilliantly designed to function at peak using the world provided for them.

        Either way, it just makes sense.

        Grokiana wrote on August 21st, 2012
        • And who knows? God may be a sculptor of sorts using evolution to design and create us.

          Either way, the primal blueprint works and in my own personal experimentation has proven to have truth in it! :-)

          primalpal wrote on August 22nd, 2012
    • Argree!
      I don’t believe in evolution either, but that doesn’t negate the science behind Primal living working.
      I think Dan made a valid and considerate point. He didn’t put anyone down, so don’t be offended.

      Beth wrote on August 23rd, 2012
  25. Thank you so much for this post, Mark! I am very lucky to have an hourglass figure which I love (most days). I am pregnant now, so my waist is getting thick and I’m no longer looking much like an hourglass. Big boobs, thick waist, wide hips, and thick thighs. It’s reassuring to read about why my body looks like this now…and to be reminded of what these hips and thighs are for! It’s also reassuring to read that there really is a difference (and a reason for the difference) between the way women and men lose body fat. Thanks!

    Jess wrote on August 21st, 2012
  26. Great article Mark. Much of the research says that women tend to put on weight in their thighs and butt. However, when I gain weight, it tends to go to my stomach first (and also my thighs and butt). And when I lose weight, I see greater changes in other areas of my body as opposed to my waist. Why does this happen? I would love to see a follow-up article addressing this.

    Chika wrote on August 21st, 2012
    • This is exactly how I gain weight too, it goes straight to my belly first, and I am female. I am lean and muscular elsewhere, but the belly fat just hangs on no matter what.

      spincycle wrote on August 21st, 2012
    • I agree, I have never been hour glass like, and nor has any of the females in my family. I do not carry weight in my lower area, when I lean out, I lean out in my upper body and my legs. I am currently at 17% body fat and I am a 34 year old mother of one. I think we can’t group all women the same, my more hour glass friends can obtain very small waist circumferences yet have very large thighs and hips. There has to be some evidence of different body types of women that cause them to gain weight in different areas of the body. And I DO do well on a restricted carb diet, when I cut my carbs I loose a lot of body fat.

      Michelle wrote on August 21st, 2012
  27. I love this article as it helps women accept their natural body fat placement. I’d love to know more in regards to a post-pregnancy body. I just had my second baby in May and I’m finding it much more challenging to reduce my belly. I also ended up with appendicitis at the end of July which I think didn’t help. Also, why are my cravings so crazy now that I’m nursing. I didn’t have this problem when I was pregnant.

    Jana wrote on August 21st, 2012
    • I just have to say that if you’re nursing exclusively the cravings are WAY worse than pregnant cravings. Pregnant cravings made me want one thing or one taste of a certain item. Nursing cravings made me a snack monster. Take heart! At around 10 months, when my son was taking in good amounts of solid foods the cravings started to let up.

      Audrey wrote on August 21st, 2012
      • Yes! Nursing always made me gain so much weight pre-paleo. Now I just make sure that I eat enough carbs and fat; protein too but it doesn’t stem the cravings. I think water is a huge factor as well. Makes sense, I’m feeding a giant 5 month old super baby from my own body. That’s a lot of water I’m using. I’m guessing that I make 60-70 ounces of breastmilk a day maybe more.

        Elizabeth wrote on August 21st, 2012
    • Nursing mothers need way more food than pregnant ones. Snacking is totally okay, and stock up on lots of nutrient-dense foods. Butter, eggs, meat, bone-broth soups, dairy fats (if you can tolerate it), coconut cream and oil if you can’t.

      My body settled down a lot when I started using real butter instead of margarine, when I was nursing my first baby (way back before I knew about paleo).

      Watch your actual caloric intake, too – I wasn’t eating enough. Too many ‘easy’ foods that were empty (toast, mostly!), and not enough actual nourishment.

      Generally, in a metabolically healthy person, a craving is a sign that your body needs something – not necessarily the thing you’re craving (your body can problem-solve in crazy ways), but *something*.

      A good multi-vitamin wouldn’t hurt, either.

      And I also just had appendicitis myself – it’s taking me longer to recover than I thought it would, so go easy on your body – it’s working hard to heal up, clear up any residual infection, AND nurse a whole other human being :)

      homehandymum wrote on August 21st, 2012
      • I agree! I really enjoyed this article, but I think it’s definitely worth noting that it’s not just the 9 months in the womb in which the female body has to do more to protect fetal health – breastfeeding is associated with even higher caloric needs. Arguably, the fat weight you gain in pregnancy could be more important for future breastfeeding than for the pregnancy itself. And in an evolutionary context, breastfeeding was designed to go on for up to 4 years!
        When I was breastfeeding my first child, I lost weight to the point of being very underweight. While I obviously knew that I was ALWAYS hungry, I neglected to really consciously improve my nutrient intake to fuel nursing. I think modern medicine often neglects this time period, focusing so much on the pregnancy, that many women are taken completely by surprise by their caloric needs once the baby has been born.

        Stephanie wrote on August 22nd, 2012
    • Don’t forget that sometimes babies go through growth spurts and your body actually anticipates these by cranking up your own intake to meet the little one’s needs. Then the baby will nurse like a mad thing for a week or so to bring in even more milk. During those times I’d be a wild hunger monster! Thank goodness for dietary fat to help feed the little one.

      Rhonda the Red wrote on August 22nd, 2012
  28. “Except during pregnancy and lactation, when the lower body begins to give up lower fat stores far more readily” And that is why I am still nursing my little Grokling at 18 months. Horray!

    Audrey wrote on August 21st, 2012
  29. I have always had a bubble butt (notice the word ‘had’). My butt began to go away durring my first pregnancy. While I was nursing, there was literally nothing left of my butt or thighs. My son was a very aggressive eater. It took a full 18 months post nursing for my butt and thighs to return to normal and they are still only a fraction of what they once were. The next child will likely just take the rest of me. LOL. But, that’s what a woman’s body is designed to do. Sustain, protect and nurture life. It is true that our body is a gift that keeps on giving.

    Lea wrote on August 21st, 2012
  30. Okay, so I come from a fairly athletic-looking family. I a woman, and my fat levels are fairly low (17%) but I will tell you this: You can bounce quarters off my thigs, and my butt was reverse-engineered through Squats. While my stomach is very flat, I have a bit of fat there and on my arms.

    …so I’m NOT healthy?

    Jillian wrote on August 21st, 2012
    • How do you feel? That’s the most important question.

      You could also be one of the lucky women who could be an underwear model. I love every inch of my body EXCEPT what gets covered by my gym shorts.

      Nicole wrote on August 21st, 2012
      • I was just confused because it sounds like I’m UNhealthy by medical standards! But I have been eating like a saint my entire life! My dad was a nutrition nazi growing up, but now I love him for it and have been doing the same thing as an adult.

        Jillian wrote on August 21st, 2012
        • Isn’t the whole point to love our female bodies as they naturally occur under healthy life conditions? The last thing we need is more body envy, where women with full, rounded butts and thighs are scornful of slim women with boyish hips, who then feel insecure and sad about themselves. :(

          Grokiana wrote on August 21st, 2012
        • Well, medical standards aren’t written in stone! I’m the same way and I’ve always been healthy. I did have to work for my body to some extent, but I have an athletic build as well. If you feel well, aren’t lacking nutritionally, and everything works… best thing you can ask for.

          Lisa wrote on September 1st, 2012
  31. Damn. And I was hoping you were going to tell me exactly what to do to get rid of my outer thighs that seems to think they run my show…

    Mindy1986 wrote on August 21st, 2012
  32. I am adding my plea for more info on females who store fat on their abdomen. I have always had “runner legs” despite never running, and small arms. Fat accumulates aromd my waist first and then my breasts, and good luck ever getting rid of it. What could be causing this, how can we change it, and

    Emily wrote on August 21st, 2012
    • And is it unhealthy or just our personal variation?

      Emily wrote on August 21st, 2012
  33. Thanks, Mark!

    Great article, but you forgot a couple places where we store fat preferentially — I’ll give you a hint: they’re to do with lactation.

    That’s another nice thing about primal compared to semi-starvation diets (i.e. low cal/low fat), is that with primal, body fat is preserved in all the right places!

    for Jodie and Nikki, who mentioned they had trouble losing abdominal fat — what about trying a careful carb count for a few days and then experimenting with lower levels…

    I know I need to keep carb counts closer to 20 than 50 to have visible abdominal muscles, while still maintaining fat in the right areas. [Overall I'm about 20% body fat, heading towards 19%].

    The reason my carbs need to be so low is there is a genetic predisposition to obesity in my family. [But I think if you had many pounds to lose, you might also benefit from more carb restriction. Gary Taubes talks about that in "Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It". Jimmy Moore's been talking about it, too, over on his blog.]]

    It’s a very different way of eating — usually by the time I’ve finished breakfast I’ve had about 1000 cal. of fat…. I eat about 3,000 cal a day, half of those at breakfast.

    I do more low- and medium-intensity exercise now (started training for a triathalon with all the extra energy that eventually came with this shift in my diet, hence the 3,000 cal a day intake) but when I started last year it was just Doug McGuff’s 12 min per week “Body By Science” approach to exercise. That was enough to start changing my look and capabilities…and it also made a big difference in my fat burning, specifically off my abdomen.

    Hope that’s helpful…

    postmodernnomad wrote on August 21st, 2012
    • Thanks I will try that.

      Jodie Jantz wrote on August 21st, 2012
  34. Interesting and informative post. Anyone else have “Baby’s Got Back” running through their head? LOL

    I do think that things are a little different for peri and post menopausal women though. All the fluctuation in hormone levels definitely affect the fat distribution. Also, stress and cortisol levels play a huge part in where your fat is stored (IMO). I’d love to see the whole peri/post menopause issue addressed.

    Kat wrote on August 21st, 2012
  35. I feel better! Even with 8 months of nursing so far, the fat has been SLOW to come off. This article also hints that different women store fat differently. And gain muscle differently, as Mark points out with his own example. Focus on acceptance and HEALTH, rather than some body ideal, is key for me.

    Jenny wrote on August 21st, 2012
  36. I dont think I have ever been so happy to have a big ass in my life! After just a month of primal I feel spectacular not just because i am not a slave to the 3 hr meal plans anymore but because of this… I am so at peace with my body and instincts. i used to eat low fat and after a few days go nuts and crave half n half. Gee i wonder? Its so nice to just make peace and realize we are that way for a reason…and still get a bit of a smaller butt in the mean time….Thank You Mark!!!!!

    Tracey wrote on August 21st, 2012
  37. Great post Mark! Love the part about how the body “knows”

    Hassan wrote on August 21st, 2012
  38. IMO the difference between the effects of subcutaneous fat and abdominal fat is fascinating and although it’s known they’re very different, we don’t hear about it way often enough!

    It can be a problem in both directions — fit athletic people (esp women but not only) who needlessly worry about a little bit of subcutaneous fat on top of their muscles

    –but also people whose BMIs and weights seem OK but who have abdominal fat. They and their doctors can underestimate their risk of diabetes and heart disease.

    AFAIK measuring waist/hip ratio is a rough way to estimate

    TO wrote on August 21st, 2012
  39. I really appreciated your comments about trying to eat big, workout big, to get big. I was much the same when I was younger. Always wanted to be bigger. I tried for 6 months to put on weight with lots of extra calories and too much weight lifting and managed to gain ~7lbs. I was ripped though. However like you, a few weeks of slacking off due to burnout and the weight was gone. Much happier now to weigh less but have a lean, easier to maintain physique.

    Mark wrote on August 21st, 2012
  40. Still doesn’t explain why some of us women cannot attain that attractive athletic body on this diet no matter what we do.

    Diane wrote on August 21st, 2012

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