I was at the beach last weekend and had an opportunity to observe, (not in a disrespectful way of course), in a purely clinical way, female body types. Without the spanx, tummy tucking briefs, pushups, minimizers and all the different apparel women today wear on occasion, a woman in her swimsuit is as close to her natural body shape as can be. There are the apples, the pears, the hourglass and rectangle shapes but I am going to only talk about the “apples” and the “pears” in this post. Most women fall into these two in some way or the other. Of course, there are the nicely proportioned women who have no problems with weight gain whatsoever and this post is probably not for them :)!
As a clinical dietitian I get to prescribe diets, and weight loss diets are part of my job too. As I tell my clients “If you want to lose weight to be healthier, go for it” or “if you want to lose weight to feel better about yourself that’s ok too“. Just don’t get obsessed about weight loss. The goal is to be healthy.
Body Type: Knowing your body type is important and eating for your body type is a key factor in losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight. Accept your body type and work with it.
Apples: I myself am an apple as you can see in the picture below. I tend to gain weight on my mid-section, chest, back and abdomen. Well not so much the abdomen since I exercise my abs some, but otherwise am a classic apple. Apart from the few times that I wish I could sport a slinky tank top without sporting too much cleavage, I like even love my body type and am happy with it. Health problems associated with apples are Coronary heart disease, cardiovascular problems, back problems and type 2 diabetes.
Pears: You can always spot the pears with their curvy figure and strong hips. They tend to store fat in their thighs and butt. Although they are not as prone to heart disease as the apples, they have health issues associated with knee problems which could result in knee replacements, joint problems and foot injuries. Increased risk of osteoporosis is also associated with pear body shape.
Eating for the apples: The type of fat you’re battling here is visceral fat. While this fat is easier to burn than subcutaneous fat, excess visceral fat is linked to heart disease and cancer. There is a buildup of cortisol aka stress hormone that slows down the metabolism and settles on your abdomen as fat. Avoid refined, simple carbohydrate and replace them with complex carbs and anti-inflammatory foods like quinoa, steel cut oats, barley, buckwheat. Always eat your meals with protein and some healthy fat like olive oil, avocado, nuts, salmon etc. to stabilize blood sugars. Mixed meals containing some complex carbs, fat and protein are the best for you and will control cortisol surges. Low carb, Paleo type of eating pattern with an emphasis on healthy monounsaturated fat will work well for this body type. Keep a check on your stress level to keep cortisol production low
Workouts for the apples: Work on strengthening your core. Interval training which includes working out a comfortable pace for few minutes followed by high intensity exercise for few minutes will help burn visceral fat. Like if you’re on a treadmill or elliptical, walk normal speed for 7 minutes and crank up the speed and intensity for 3 minutes.
Eating for the pears: The type of fat you’re battling here is sub cutaneous fat. This fat is not as dangerous as visceral fat, but it is harder to get rid of. Research shows pair shaped bodies are better off eating lower fat products. A Mediterranean type of diet with plenty of protein, veggies, lentils, are good for this body type. High protein with complex carbs, lots of fiber and low fat is a good diet approach.
Workouts for the pear: Resistance training is good for this body type. Using resistance bands, the ball etc. will help. Squats, push-ups will slim those thighs and fat on the butt. Circuit training is also good for this body type. Biking, running, are good aerobic activities for this body type.
Most importantly love yourself, your body shape and revel in it. Each body type has its own pros and cons and while you can work towards a healthier you, don’t get obsesses about diet and exercise. Enjoy life and live like every day is a new gift.
Remembering 9-11 and all the families that lost loved ones. Life is precious. Go live it well. Forgive, forget, love and hug those around you! Thanks for stopping by and if you want a personalized diet plan feel free to hit me up. I may take you on pro bono too! xo