Every woman is different, especially when it comes to where you carry your weight. Are you bottom-heavy or pear-shaped? Or do you put on pounds on and above your waist, which is better known as apple-shaped. Or would you say you’re more “boxy?" No matter what you see in the mirror, there’s a solution to enhancing your metabolism based on your body type.
According to nutrition specialist Dr. Jeffrey Morrison, the way you are shaped is controlled by your hormones. For most, when you’re young, you have the liberty to eat what you want and not gain weight. But no one’s a stranger to the fact that as you age, things change. With every decade you age, your hormones shift and your metabolism slow down.
A study published this year in the May 16th, 2012 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association shows what we have always known. People respond differently to diets based on their individual nature. That is quite understandable: there is no miracle diet or nutritional approach which fits equally to all women. If your friend lost weight painlessly on particular diet, do not expect that you will see the same result on your own body.
Which Fruit You Are?
Apple Body Type
What does an apple look like? Apples have a tendency to put on belly fat, may have round faces, have humps on their upper backs and may have thin legs. According to Dr. Morrison, traditional methods of weight loss like cutting calories and aggressive exercise routines do not work for this body type. Why? A low-calorie diet and too much exercise translate as starvation and stress to this body type, which can increase the production of cortisol, the stress hormone. Increased amounts of cortisol can slow metabolism and is known to contribute to belly fat and an increased waist size. Cortisol also floods the body with sugar. When your body does not use it for energy, it gets stored as fat. Belly fat is especially dangerous because it surrounds so many of your vital organs.
Apples may also suffer a lot of inflammation or pain, particularly in the joints, back or neck. They are also at greater risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and breast cancer.
According to Dr. Morrison, apples should eat foods low on the glycemic index. One way to do this is by cutting out carbs. Carbs spike blood sugar – so reducing or eliminating them from your diet would prevent this and keep cortisol controlled. The less cortisol, the less belly fat.
Apples can replace simple carbs with the following foods:
* Lentils, which are packed with protein and require more energy for the body to break down.
* Red pepper hummus, also rich in protein; the spices can also boost metabolism.
* Eggplant makes a great carb substitute. When used in certain recipes, for example eggplant lasagna, it gives you the same density and texture as pasta.
Pear Body Type
Pears are plagued by what many of you may know as “junk in the trunk.” Pears carry most of their weight on their lower hips, thighs and butt, and – perhaps most frustrating of all – a stubborn pooch of tummy fat. While it may take longer to accumulate this kind of fat, it’s also much harder to get rid of. Why? This kind of fat is influenced by estrogen, and estrogen makes fat. When a woman gets pregnant, estrogen spikes (which is why many women keep the weight on long after the baby is born), and when a woman has a heavy period, estrogen spikes, too, making more fat. The good news is that this kind of fat is not as dangerous as belly fat, but it may be more unsightly, as it can become that cheesy, cellulite-type fat that is every woman’s nightmare. And while an apple cannot become a pear, with excessive weight gain, a pear may wind up transforming into an apple.
Pears are at a higher risk for osteoporosis. During menopause, pears make much weaker estrogen, which is not strong enough to keep calcium in the bones. Other health issues for this type are cellulite, varicose veins and joint problems.
For pears the main recommendation is to focus on high-fiber foods. Fiber binds to the estrogen in your gut and carries it out of your body when you go to the bathroom. Keeping your body’s estrogen in balance in this manner can enhance your weight-loss efforts and improve your silhouette.
Try these high-fiber foods:
* Edamame, rich in phytoestrogens to regulate your estrogen levels.
* Whole-wheat pasta – a great swap for regular pasta that will fill you up fast.
* Figs are a fruit with one of the highest levels of fiber. If you have a sweet tooth, dried figs are a healthy way to help you get your fix.
“Box” Body Type
If you find yourself possessing the attributes of both an apple and a pear, you are likely a box body type. Unfortunately, as America’s weight problem continues to grow, this body type is also on the rise.
This body type is most concerning because of its wide range of health implications: It affects the thyroid gland, and those carrying excess weight with this body type can run a greater risk of experiencing depression, memory loss, high cholesterol and an enlarged heart.
According to Dr. Morrison, if you are a box and you are lacking enough thyroid hormones, every cell in the body gets fatter due to a slowing of your overall metabolism. Since the thyroid controls the metabolism, all the body processes are slowed, including digestion, mental clarity and even absorption of vitamins.
The box shape is regulated by the thyroid hormone. A healthy thyroid speeds up the metabolism.
For box type it is highly recommended to consume foods high in selenium and iodine. Iodine is vital for healthy thyroid hormone production, and the essential mineral selenium may help decrease inflammation that can cause an underactive thyroid. Today, many people use kosher salt or sea salt, but these salts do not contain iodine. To help maintain healthy thyroid function, reach for traditional iodized table salt when seasoning food.
You can also try the following foods:
* Seaweed: A great snack packed with both nutrients.
* Shrimp: A good source of vitamin D.
* Sunflower seeds: Just one-third of a cup makes for a great daily snack.
Body Types from Eric Berg
Chiropractor Eric Berg, author of The 7 Principles of Fat Burning, explains his new classification of the hormone-driven body types.
The Adrenal Shape
What it is: Our adrenal glands sit on the kidneys and deal with stress. “When too much stress builds up, your fight-or-flight response kicks in, triggering the hormone cortisol to build up fat around your most vital organs—which are located in your midsection,” Berg says.
What it means: Constant stress leads to poor sleep patterns, causing worry, excessive thinking, brain fog, poor memory, and weight gain, he says. “Most growth hormone is released at night, and this hormone regulates fat burn,” Berg explains. Trying to lose weight can actually cause you to add pounds since conventional diet programs that call for drastically cutting calories and overtraining with exhaustive workouts only further stress your body. “This is why hundreds of sit-ups every day will never give someone with the adrenal shape that flat stomach they desire,” Berg says. Overtime, as adrenal fatigue continues, tolerance to stress dives even lower and patience with others wears thing. “These types tend to be edgy and irritable, and oftentimes, others get on their nerves.”
The Thyroid Shape
What it is: Your thyroid resides in the front of your lower neck and is about 2 and a half inches wide. It makes hormones that control the metabolism in all your cells. “Hence, thyroid types tend to get big all over, not in just one place,” explains Berg. “Many thyroid body types are triggered by the hormone estrogen. As estrogen becomes dominant, your thyroid slows down and over time, can become sluggish.” Stubborn baby weight that doesn’t seem to go away after giving birth is often due to a spike in estrogen, coupled with thyroid malfunction, he says.
What it means: Besides weight struggles, those with a thyroid body type also often suffer hair loss, saggy skin under the arms, ridged nails, and loss of the outer eyebrows, Berg says. “Thyroid types also tend to reach for simple carbs, such as bread, for quick energy to rev their sluggish metabolism.” You can get tested for thyroid disorders, but Berg says that problems don’t always show up on blood tests until the person is already in an advanced state.
The Ovary Shape
What it is: For women in childbearing years who are trying to conceive, having over-productive ovaries isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But for others, it can lead to saddlebags and lower stomach pooch, Berg says. Like the thyroid shape, too much estrogen triggers the ovary shape; in fact, people can be both shapes in their lifetime. “Many ovary body types turn into thyroid types after pregnancy due to the spike in estrogen, especially if the woman develops a thyroid problem during or shortly after having the baby,” he explains.
What it means: Ovary types can also suffer heavy periods and develop facial hair and acne, especially during that time of the month, Berg says. “Anything that is cyclic, such as headaches, PMS, bloating, and depression, can occur frequently with the ovary type, oftentimes during ovulation or about one week before a menstruation.”
The Liver Type
What it is: Your liver is a 3-pound organ under your right rib cage that filters toxins and helps digest your food. “Liver types typically have thin legs and a protruding belly,” explains Berg. “These types have a condition called ascites, which is essentially the liver leaking a plasma-like fluid into the sac that sits just above our intestines.” Because the liver type has this belly pooch, people often equate them to having a fat stomach, but in reality, they actually have lowbody fat. “Even if the person is 300 pounds, if most that weight in their tummy, a lot of it could be fluid. People always incorrectly assume that all weight is equated to fat, when it isn’t,” says Berg.
What it means: In healthy individuals, blood sugar naturally rises in the morning due to hormonal changes, but after fasting overnight, liver types inevitably wake up with low blood sugar—and irritability, Berg says. They also have digestive problems such as gas and heartburn after they eat because of their sluggish digestive juices. “This means food is not broken down thoroughly, and if bile isn’t released, the person will feel unsatisfied and crave quick carb energy,” Berg says.
Muscle, Fat, and Bone Body Types
There is another body shape classification we would like bring in this presentation. It is clear, that our body consists from three major components: muscle, fat, and bone. Let’s review how these components affect shape of your body.
Your muscles, a major part of your musculoskeletal system which is made up of bones muscles ligaments and tendons; its purpose is to, protect and support the internal structures and organs of the body, allow movement, give shape to the body, produce blood cells, store calcium and phosphorus and produce heat. Your body is in a constant struggle to create efficiency by constantly changing to meet the amount of strain you place on it. Muscle fiber gives the body shape and your organs protection. It also creates more red blood cells, increases your white blood cell count, and can increase the body’s ability to fight infection. Here is the secret: you need muscles. Skinny isn’t necessarily healthy. Skinny is in itself a potential health issue, but I’ll get to that in a future article. Muscles big and small are vital to your survival and well-being.
Fat, also known as lipids, is another misunderstood aspect of health. Lipids of the appropriate type are incredibly important to the body. While saturated and trans fats can be harmful, other fats such as mono and polyunsaturated fats are healthy and support your body’s functioning by acting as a highly concentrated secondary energy source, and a carrying agent in the transportation of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. They are an essential ingredient in skin and hair and regulate blood pressure. You as an informed consumer need to be aware of what you are putting into your body. It will determine the quality of life you live both now and in your later years.
Your skeleton “serves as a collection of levers that transmit muscular forces, protects organs, serves as a framework for tissues and organs, and serve as banks for storage and release of minerals like calcium and phosphorous. Exercise (low or high impact) creates dense bones providing us with a healthier, stronger, and more durable skeleton. A diet and exercise regime that supports bone health is also critical to help people create a healthy future.
Your genetic body shape, called Somatotype is your body’s propensity to create, store, or regulate muscle and fat. William H. Sheldon, PhD, MD, introduced the concept of body types, or somatotypes, in the 1940s. Most people are unique combinations of the three body types: ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph. Most individuals have a dominant somatotype and also display some characteristics of the other two. There are arguments involving bodybuilders, scientists, and fitness professionals that support the theory that your Somatotype is not set in stone and can change through exercise and dieting.
It is believed that ectomorphs have fewer fat cells and muscle fiber cells. Again, this is arguable but they are classified as having very lean frames, high metabolisms, and small muscles. Ectomorphs can build muscle and they can get fat if they become overly sedentary. The University of Houston says, “While most of us love to hate these genetically-blessed individuals, some male ectomorphs may not be thrilled with their narrow-chested frames, and some female ectomorphs long for more womanly curves.” Now does this mean that a female ectomorph can’t have womanly curves? Absolutely not! It just takes work and she has to pay attention to her diet. She has to educate herself on proper dieting to get her to her goal.
On the other end of the spectrum is the endomorph. Many endomorphs simply give up thinking that they must be cursed to never be fit and healthy. Many endomorphs are actually ecto- and mesomorphs that are super sedentary and have terrible diets, thus they are not endomorphs at all. But, to those true endomorphs, you are not without hope. Endomorphs simply have more muscle fibers and more fat cells, so paying close attention to exercise and dieting is crucial. Living healthy, exercising and being active, all while adopting a healthy diet is the key to a fit healthy life.
Last is the famed and envied mesomorph. Their bodies pack on muscle easily and have fewer fat cells so they usually have a very muscular build. All that is needed is consistent exercise and a good diet and their bodies can become shaped very easily.
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