What is the best way to handle my wife during her menstruations?

 

There is a disorder called PMDD that a doctor can treat. I would encourage her to see a gynecologist if she in severe pain to make sure its not something more serious. If she gets easily offended do this gently and reassure her you care love her she is beautiful and your not trying to "fix" her. Have a serious but positive talk ask her what would make that time bearable it might be something as simple as a heat pad and wine or you just letting her be for the week and you take care of things. Kudos for trying to understand her but the best way is to gently discuss this with her. I'm a woman a sometimes cramps make me feel every emotion from goofy to dangerous but thats no excuse to get crazy violent its ultimately her responsibility to control herself and get help.

Butt and thighs?  Well, I consider it my duty, my obligation, to answer this one.  Why?  I like fit butts and I can not lie...

Right off the bat I can see some common misconceptions women have about physique enhancement/body composition-based training.  And I'm assuming this question is coming from a women.  If I'm wrong, and you are a dude, well, good for you.  Nothing wrong with wanting a nice A#$ -- squats and lunges pushing through the heels.  But this one is primarily for the ladies (although all kidding aside, there are some good fat loss and health tips for everyone).

So I'm going to address your question, but it can't be looked at in a vacuum of a few exercise choices.  You need to understand the physique transformation process as a whole -- training, diet, and most importantly hormonal control.  That's the only way you are going to get real world results, and not just read about them.

I apologize in advance, but this is going to be a long one.  And in fact, let's make it a "2-parter" so you don't fall asleep.  Cool?  And we'll go in order of importance -- Part I we'll talk about hormones and diet, Part II we'll talk about training advice.  I know that's your actual question, sorry, but we need to prioritize.

(A) Hormonal implications

If you are fat everywhere, you are just fat, and you need to lose weight = relative calorie deficit, strength training, walking.  But if you hold fat in only a specific area, that can be a sign of some sort of hormonal imbalance.  A famous strength coach named Charles Poliquin came up with a theory called Biosignature Method, which is essentially a quantitative way of determining these conditions.  Skinfold measurements are taken at various sites on the body, and abnormally high values in any one particular area are a red flag.  Here is the rundown:

Chest/triceps = low testosterone or high aromatase activity
Abdominals = high cortisol
Suprailiac (love handle) = high insulin or insulin resistance
Hips/thighs = high ESTROGEN

Of course you don't really need skinfolds to assess this, you can see it right in the mirror or how your clothes fit right?

And this makes sense logically.  Estrogen is the reason that women, on average, have a higher body fat percentages than men, and why they tend to store it on the hips and thighs.  Now don't get me wrong, some estrogen is a good thing.  I'm not trying to turn you into RuPaul.  But abnormally high amounts are not great for your body composition goals, or your overall health (high estrogen is a risk factor for several forms of cancer). 

In today's modern world, the fact is we are becoming increasingly overexposed to estrogen-like compounds in our food, consumer products (cheap plastic containers -- ditch those), and just the overall environment.

The question then, is are there steps we can be taking dietary-wise to prevent or combat over-expression of estrogen in the body, thus reducing fat accumulation on your trouble areas.  The answer is an encouraging yes.

1. If you can afford it, buy the highest quality animal meats.  Commercial animal meats are treated with estrogen in order to fatten them up for sale (remember estrogen leads to greater fat storage, which makes for juicier ribs and T-bones).  The problem is this can get passed on to us, especially in the fatty cuts of meat.  Now don't get me wrong, I think lean animal protein should be the foundation of any solid fitness-based diet, and each meal should be centered around a lean protein source.  However, QUALITY is paramount.  At the very least look for hormone-free, antibiotic-free meats.  From there, the premium would be wild fish and free-range, grass-fed meats. 

2. Reduce foods that contain phytoestrogenic compounds and behave like estrogen in the body (bad phytoestrogens, bad!).  Top of the list includes beer, licorice, soy, and flax.  Yeah, I know flax is marketed as a health food, but it's not that great.  I know we all need to increase our consumption of Omega 3 fatty acids, but fish/fish oil is a much better choice for about 18 different reasons.

3. Consume foods that act as estrogen inhibitors in the body.  Top of the list includes cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, etc.), green tea, and citrus fruits (lemon, orange, etc.).

4. Consume foods that act as overall detoxifiers in the body -- water and VEGETABLES, especially dark leafy greens.  And I'm not talking some crazy Detox Plan where you need to take like 45 different supplements.  I'm talking REAL detox foods, nature created the best of the bunch -- vegetables.

5. If you are interested in learning more about this topic, a guy named Ori Hofmekler wrote a book called the Anti-Estrogen Diet.  Although my overall dietary philosophy is different in terms of food timing and macronutrient ratios, there is a ton of valuable information in the book in terms of food choices.

(B) OTHER DIETARY FACTORS

From that point on, it is all about using diet to control overall body fat:

1. Like I said earlier, because of NATURAL levels of estrogen in the body, and resulting fat distribution patterns, women will tend to HOLD fat on the hips and thighs anyways (regardless of over-exposure to environmental estrogen compounds).  This means during a targeted fat loss diet, this is the very last place fat is going to go.  I know that can be frustrating, but its physiology.  Consistency and patience are keys.  If you are tightening up in other areas, you are definitely headed in the right direction.  Stay the course.  You will eventually drop the stubborn fat.

2. In caloric excess, this is the first place fat is going to "make a comeback".  That's why you can't crash diet or follow some crazy extreme diet to try and rush the process.  If you can't maintain the plan, you are only setting yourself up for a rebound.  And in fact yo'yo'ing is one of the worst things you can do for stubborn body fat.  You tend to store a greater percentage of fat in these areas during the rapid weight gain/rebound phase.

You need to look for sustainable, lifestyle plans even if the process takes a little longer, rather than short-term quick fixes.  Of course the latter is what is marketable and sells well, but its not necessarily going to help YOU.

3.  I've given some specific dietary advice throughout my other answers on the "Q".  Check it out, but as a summary:  you need to be in a relative calorie deficit (I think a good general place to start is 10-12 calories per 1lb of bodyweight, but of course individualization needs to take place from that point on), you need to improve your insulin sensitivity (cut out fructose and trans fats), control blood sugar and insulin levels (cut out sugar and flour, eat a good protein:carb ratio at each meal), eliminate food allergens (ie if you are allergic or sensitive to gluten or lactose), and eliminate the need for your body to store fat to "house" toxins (like pesticides and of course, phytoestrogens).

Alright, I'm throwing in the towel for now.  My fingers are cramping.  In part II, lets get to some actual training advice.  Some cliffhanging for now:

1.  You can't spot reduce body fat, that is an accurate statement.  But yes, you can ABSOLUTELY target train muscles.  Anyone who says otherwise is slightly misinformed about human/exercise physiological principles.  Why do you think I do so many "curls for the girls"?

2. You need to stop being afraid to build muscle.  And in fact, you need to specifically FOCUS on building muscle.  Muscle is what provides your body with it's shape and tone, tightens areas up, and boosts that metabolic rate (which helps you burn more fat at rest).  You won't get huge and bulky like a man can, which is a common fear women have, due to hormonal differences (testosterone vs. estrogen).  the overly masculine women you see in, say bodybuilding mags, are taking steroids to change their hormonal profile to resemble more of a man's.  That's not going to happen to you unless you are "juicing up".

And besides, the body fat hanging off your thighs and butt are what are really making you feel "bulky".  It's not the lean, sinewy, muscle tissue.  Muscle is actually way more dense and compact than fat tissue, and therefore takes up less space, pound for pound, than fat.  The key is to get you to add muscle WHILE dropping fat.

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Anika Devi received her Bachelor’s degree in Media, Culture and Communication from New York University in 2012. She began freelancing for Business Solutions BD in 2010 and joined the team as a staff writer three years later. She currently serves as the assistant editor.
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