You Are What You Eat: The Right Diet For Your Body Shape
No matter what your size and shape may be, all the basic nutrition practices apply—get moving, burn calories, don’t sit around all day, and so on. But while these habits can benefit all kinds of shapes and sizes in general, there are some health and nutrition recommendations that you can maximize even further based on your body shape. Here are just some of the best practices you can incorporate into your life in order to eat mindfully and think twice before you indulge on that grub!
1. Pear Body Shape
To find out if your body shape is a pear, you can calculate your waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) by dividing your waist measurements by your hip measurements. If the resulting WHR is below 0.8 for women or below 0.9 for men, then you have a pear body shape. You can also try and find out what your body shape is with respect to working out your muscles HERE.
People with pear-shaped bodies usually have narrower upper bodies, because most of the weight is located along the thighs, hips, and buttocks region. Opposite from apple-shaped bodies, pear-shaped figures do not have elevated risks of stroke and diabetes, mainly because the weight around the bottom part of the body is due to subcutaneous fat. This kind of fat, as opposed to visceral fat, isn’t likely to spread around other parts of the body to increase heart disease risk. However, this weight around the hips may be cellulite, and may increase osteoarthritis risk. In women, particularly, it is more common to accumulate weight around the lower body because of estrogen levels, which is why it is also important for women who have pear body shapes to check their breasts for cancer every month.
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It may be more difficult for pear-shaped bodies to lose weight, so it’s best to indulge in a high fiber, low fat diet. Aim for more fruits, veggies, and whole grains in your diet, and do not be fooled by healthy claims from processed foods. Balance out your daily meal intake with a lot of lean protein for repairing and building muscle, and if you can, go for organic dairy products and meats as well. When it comes to exercising, target your leg muscles by doing some power walking or some running, as well as some good ol’ strength training.
2. Rectangle Body Shape
Also known as the straight body, ruler, or banana shape, the rectangle body shape has a proportional weight distribution but has a tendency to accumulate weight along the middle part of the body. Most rectangular-shaped people have high metabolism and therefore do not gain weight as easily as other shapes do, so it’s best to maintain that metabolism by keeping an eye on moderate intake of various kinds of food. Eat a well-balanced diet composed of veggies, fruits, lean meats, low saturated fat content, low sugar, and whole grains.
If you are looking to form more curves in your body, incorporate some strength training on your lower body muscles (thighs and buttocks area) and on your shoulders. This kind of muscle building will not bulk you up (for ladies), so fret not! Simply keep moving and avoid accumulating some of that unwanted sedentary belly fat. Just a simple half an hour of moderate intensity exercise done about three to five times every week will already do wonders for your body shape and overall fitness. And, as with anything, aim to create a healthy lifestyle change by avoiding heavy alcohol drinking and cigarette smoking.
3. Apple Body Shape
The waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) for the apple body shape in women is above 0.8 and above 0.9 for men. Much of the weight for apple-shaped bodies is concentrated around the midsection, and the lower body is usually slimmer. The kind of fat here, however, tends to be mostly visceral fat, which means that an apple-shaped person needs to lose weight more urgently. This kind of fat can wrap around vital organs and can increase the risk for heart disease, type II diabetes, elevated blood pressure, and other health problems.
The best thing for you to do is to go on a low glycemic index diet. This means that you should steer clear of refined sugars and processed carbohydrates, and focus instead on veggies, fruits, lean meats, and legumes. These kinds of food can help to fight off inflammation, and with a variety of healthy snacks, you can regulate your appetite and keep those insulin levels within acceptable parameters.
The tendency to develop “beer bellies” is more common in men with age, so you need to combat this kind of lifestyle imbalance by increasing physical activity, reducing stress, and swearing off any excessive alcohol consumption. You can also fight off risks of breast cancer and colon cancer by engaging in cardio workouts, weight training, cycling, swimming, and jogging to maintain a healthy body fat percentage. Go for low carbs and protein-rich diets, avoiding pastries and white bread. You can also help stimulate your metabolism with spices such as chilli or garlic, and improve liver function as well. Lastly, stay away from any tempting and impulsive mid-afternoon snacking! If you want to know more about what doctors say about this body shape, check out this article HERE.
4. Hourglass Body Shape
The hourglass body shape is usually the more commonly desirable one, with a slim middle area and proportional hips and shoulders. Still, an unhealthy BMI (body mass index) can be problematic if you don’t follow an anti-inflammatory diet. To combat this, you need to eat foods that are high in lean proteins, whole grains, and plant-based proteins. These can include beans, nuts, lentils, and tofu.
People with hourglass body shapes tend to have cravings for dairy and sugary carbs, and can have congestion and water retention. As such, you need to limit refined and processed carbohydrates as well as high-fat meats. Supplement your food instead with quinoa, buckwheat, millet, or oatmeal, and focus on fresh produce and healthy fats such as salmon, nuts, olive oil, avocados, and seeds. Keep caffeine at a minimum, and avoid those processed sugars too. And if you really want to look and feel sexy, you can indulge in these detox parties that are currently trending around the metro!
5. Pencil Body Shape
This type of body shape is usually related to thin individuals, but in reality, this simply means that measurements between the shoulders, waist, and the hips can have very little variation. To stay fit and healthy with the pencil body shape, you should swap out those unhealthy foods with 50% fresh produce and the remaining half composed of lean protein and whole grains.
There are often no curves with this body shape, and weight gain tends to concentrate along the belly. This kind of “skinny fat” can still be problematic as it may leave the person prone to diabetes and heart disease. It’s wise, therefore, to eat every four hours and with a well-prepared plating method. Half of your food should be produce, a fourth should be whole grains, and the rest should be lean proteins like fish or chicken without the skin. This kind of rich complex carbs and healthy fats can definitely reduce the risk of cardiovascular issues in the body.
Now that you know how your diet defines your health, it’s time to start being a mindful eater—you can even get your kids in on it too with these tips on how to keep your children on a healthy diet. We’re all created with unique body shapes after all, and it’s only logical for you to make the most of what you’ve got!