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Are You "Pear-Shaped"? How Estrogen & Genetics Play a Part & How You Can Make Changes



Forget the hour-glass shape; we've got pears & apples.


Maybe you've got it, or maybe you have that friend (or a few) who have the dreaded misfortune of carrying extra weight specifically 'below the belt.' (send them this, they will be thankful, not insulted.)


You know what I'm talking about.

  • butt

  • hips

  • flanks

  • thighs


That's where it sits; your 'extra'. No matter what exercises you do or weight you loose - that's the first place is shows up & the last place you lose it.


I, myself, have this dreaded problem. I could be vascular in my shoulders, rocking a nice 4-pack in the stomach when not flexing...and my butt still looks like a twerk machine. During high school (before I built shoulders, back & chest) I was wearing a size 4 on top & double that on the bottom. My proportions were clearly 'pear' - and I hated it.


Some may think "yah! butts are in!"


But not all of us are jones-ing for junk in the trunk.


Why do some women have 'Pear shape'?


Well...some sources are trying to say it's genetics. But I'm calling bullshit. There are 3 articles from Mount Sinai, The BBC & The Nursing Times which are detailing the studies with these claims. Although the studies are looking at waist to hip ratio, including men in the studies, making sure subjects are all from 'European' decent, looking at a wide, adult age range & scaling results to accommodate body mass index (height to weight ratio) - there are still some funny things going on with the study.


First of all - there is no mention of women who have given birth versus women who haven't. Our pelvis expands while carrying a child & depending on our health, our genetics & our lifestyle - they may 'stay' wider. They can also go back to their prior size or even get smaller after the relaxin hormone leaves our body OR even through 'hip binding' in postpartum, a practice used in South East Asia. (I've done this, it's awesome.)


Second - the goal communicated by the researchers of these studies was the hope that it would allow them to see the genetics possibly associated with fat storage differences (pear shape storing fat in the hips vs apple shape storing fat in the belly) AND how to create medications for people. For people who store fat in their belly, there is a much higher risk associated with developing type 2 diabetes & heart disease. This is just as much about helping people as it is about making money off newly developed medications that we wouldn't need if people followed a healthier diet in the first place!


So to clear that up - whether or not it's genetic is pretty irrelevant.


If you ARE getting a pear shape WHEN you gain extra weight - why is that happening, how do you stop it, how do you prevent it & how do you reverse it?


They call it "Estrogen - Dominance."


You have excess estrogen in your body & your system.


The most common causes of this are said to be 2 things:

  • environmental factors/what we are eating

  • birth control & other hormone replacement therapy


There seems to be tons of 'excess' estrogen in most of our foods & products from pesticides & parabens (beauty products) to actual growth hormones fed to livestock.


We can also be over producing it in our bodies. The No. 1 cause of this? Stress.


But don't forget: our monthly cycles, pregnancy, postpartum, then perimenopause & pre-menopause. The problem isn't often 'those aspects of woman hood.' Our shifts in hormones in all of these stages are necessary & normal. What we don't want is more than we need to stick around. We don't want to collect it & store it.

We want extra estrogen to leave our bodies when it's no longer needed. We're not looking to 'balance' our estrogen. We're looking to 'release extra' that is causing the fat accumulation in our hips, butt & thighs.


How do we 'release' extra estrogen?


Fiber.


No. Specifically SOLUBLE fiber.


Why? Because through research & testing it was found that excess estrogen will bind with soluble fiber to be excreted (through urine & feces.) Soluble fiber will help you poop & pee out the extra estrogen in your body that you don't need. Which in turn stops the collection & holding of the fat stores in your hips.


So when you don't have excess estrogen & all of the other crappy things that go along with that such as inflammation, bloating & water retention - you can actually lose fat when you DO the things you normally do to burn fat & lose weight.


Keep going to the gym. Eat really healthy food. Drinks lots of water. Lower your stress.


Ok. but before we even get there, you have 2 things you have to do first.

  1. Lower your sugar intake, processed food & fried food intake. If you're just going to keep eating garbage & expect your body to do the right thing 'just because' you added something healthy in - forget it. You need to cut out the crap so that your body doesn't have a traffic jam while an ambulance is trying to get through & save you.

  2. Get your gut health on track. This means water & healthy bacteria - probiotics & prebiotics. You need them both. If your factory is broken, it doesn't matter what material you drop off there - nothing great is going to happen. It wouldn't hurt to add in a B complex & a magnesium complex as well.

  3. ***Special extra for anyone drinking large quantities of alcohol. Stop it. Your liver is required to be in top shape to get ride of a bunch of that excess estrogen.


So after you've done those 2 things (maybe 3) - then you can start adding in soluble fiber.


You're going to see a ton of website blogs & articles that mention flax & chia seed are where you can get the best soluble fiber to release excess estrogen.


**A rule of thumb - google searches, articles & blogs are designed mostly for SEO & for not getting in trouble. The top rated articles mention the most bland & gen-pop methods that will get you the least aggressive results.


What you NEED is to incorporate beans &/or lentils on a daily basis in small amounts to start (1/4 cup) AS WELL AS a small portion of rice or oats, every day & a bread with complex grains in it, almost every day.


Do not think that a tablespoon of ground flax & a tablespoon of chia seed in your cute little green smoothie 5 days a week is going to cut it. You will not see significant results.


I don't care where you put the beans/lentils. In your scrambled eggs. In your lunch salad. In your stir fry dinner. It doesn't matter. And ONLY start with 1/4 a cup. The following week move up to 1/3 cup. You might not ever need to go higher than that. Your first few days, if you haven't been eating this sort of fiber, will be uncomfortable (bloating.) Your gut is figuring out what to do with this new thing you've added. Stick with it past 3-4 days. You will adjust. (If you don't, I'm not a doctor - so go see one.)


Black beans & lentils have the best fiber percentage out of all of the cans you'll see on the shelf in this grocery store section. You'll see from 18%-24% (approx) for 1/2 cup. Depending on the brand, this will differ. Things like chick peas & kidney beans have a lower fiber percentage.


***Tip - Rinse the Sh*t out of your beans/lentils. Put them in a sieve and run them under cold water until the run off is clear. Let them sit & drain or tap them off until the excess water is gone. It's the gooey liquid in the can that gives people all the 'gas.'


Your rice or oats only need to be a 1/3 - 1/2 cup addition to your day, if you don't already eat this. Then your high grain bread can be 1-2 pieces every other day. Rice cakes are a nice alternative (on top of your rice or oats portion) if your scared of your 'simple carb' count (which you should be.)


Do not be fooled - the blogs & articles will tell you to eat more green veggies & fruits. Don't do this. You'll find most of your INSOLUBLE fiber here. It will not help you. In fact - a lot of your bloating or 'pot belly' could be coming from eating too many leafy greens.


The other helpful piece of advice for those of you ladies who love the gym:

  • increase load

  • lower volume


What the hell does this mean?

  • Increase the weight you're using. Squat more, curl more, press more, carry more.

  • Lower your reps, sets & amount of time spent in the gym. If you're using higher weights, you don't need to be there as long.

  • **extra tip - go slower. WAY slower. example: if you are doing a shoulder press, it should take you 4-6 seconds to raise the weights & 4-6 seconds to lower the weights.


Watch the fat melt off your hips & butt.


You're welcome.


This article is dedicated to Patrick Gagnon, who previously worked with Charles Poliquin, one of the worlds most respected & talented fitness/health coaches. Thank you for the advice & reminders. It's working.



 

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Julia is a Holistic Health Consultant, holding a Double Diploma in Community Support & Addictions Work, is a Certified Transformation Specialist, Personal Trainer & Nutrition Coach & a Lvl 2 Reiki Practitioner. She specializes in Trauma Informed Practice & Resiliency Coaching and Holistic Pregnancy & Postpartum Health Coaching. PrettyAggressiveRecovery@gmail.com 


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