There are a lot of diet plans out there that claim to offer miraculous results for everyone, but the truth is that it is not always that simple. Instead of pinning your hopes on a diet that might have worked for a friend or co-worker, it is better to eat in a way that matches your body type.
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Everyone can be categorized in four different body types, and the key to healthy weight loss is adapting your diet to your body type. Depending on your body shape, you will crave different types of food, react differently to eating unhealthily and might have to eliminate certain things from your diet to stay healthy.
Whether you are an apple, pear, hourglass or inverted pyramid body shape, eating right can make a big difference to your health and how you feel.
The Apple Body Type
Characteristics: If your body conforms to the apple type, it means that your weight is distributed mostly around your belly. In contrast, the arms and legs of a person with an apple body type tend not to carry as much weight and can appear to be fairly slim. The excess fat of this body type places it at a greater health risk, but since the belly fat is located inside the midsection, it also breaks down easier than fat that is stored in the thighs or buttocks. Care must be taken, however, as visceral fat, that is to say the fat surrounding organs such as the liver, pancreas and kidney, can cause spikes in your blood-sugar levels while also creating insulin resistance. This body type also comes with a higher risk of endocrine disorders.
Cravings and consequences: If you have an apple body type you will find that you tend to crave diet sodas, caffeine and sugary or starchy foods. By not eating correctly, your body will start to lack energy, and these cravings can kick in around mid-morning or just after lunch.
Concerns: The apple body type tends to have excess amounts of sugar and no way to process all of it. This can lead to weight gain as well as chronic diseases. To lose weight it is important to get your blood sugar levels back under control.
Food to eat or eliminate: Include chicken, pork, fish, lean beef and other clean proteins in your diet while supplementing it with healthy fats. These include food such as nuts, seeds, eggs, full-fat cheeses and avocado. Kale, spinach and other leafy greens are also recommended for the apple body type. Eliminate beverages such as coffee and sports drinks that can mess with your insulin levels. Also limit your starchy carbs to about one meal a day and cut back on low glycemic index fruits.
The Pear Body Type
Characteristics: If your body conforms to the pear type it means that most of your weight gain happens in the hips and thigh area. This results in a smaller upper body and larger lower body. Weight loss is harder for the pear body type than the apple because the fat on the lower half of the body is much harder to burn off than belly flab.
Cravings and consequences: Rich desserts and high-fat dairy as well as lattes are some of the things commonly craved by the pear body type. When indulging in a poor diet the pear body type often experiences unusual hunger sensations between meals or post-dinner in the evenings.
Concerns: Lower body weight gain often comes as a result of an estrogen balance, which is something people with a pear body shape should be cautious about. Excess estrogen can cause bloating as well as toxic fat gain.
Food to eat or eliminate: High-fiber fruits and vegetables are recommended for the pear body shape along with brown rice, buckwheat or oats. The diet can also include non-dairy fats and lean protein, but in smaller amounts. Caffeine and alcohol should be avoided, along with non-organic produce and meats as well as high-fat dairy.
The Hourglass Body Type
Characteristics: If you have an hourglass body type you’ll find that weight gains are distributed mostly evenly throughout your body. It is often most noticeable in the face, but sometimes also on the knees, ankles, chest and arms. People with an hourglass body type tend to have a round, soft look overall. Sometimes weight accumulates a little more on the lower half of the body, but always less at the waist.
Cravings and consequences: It is common for people with an hourglass body type to crave either sugary carbohydrates or dairy. Unfortunately, the consequences of poor dietary habits for people with an hourglass body type are congestion as well as water retention.
Concerns: Women with an hourglass body type also tend to have more estrogen, which should be monitored.
Food to eat or eliminate: Raw vegetables and fruits are a good choice for the hourglass body type and can be supplemented with oatmeal, buckwheat or other types of whole grain cereals. Plenty of spices and daily servings of lean protein are also beneficial. If you have an hourglass body shape, limit your intake of refined and processed carbohydrates as well as all types of high fat meats. Food to eliminate from your diet includes sweets, refined carbohydrates, caffeinated beverages and dairy products.
The Inverted Pyramid Body Type
Characteristics: If you have broader shoulders that taper down towards your waist and hips, you fall into the inverted pyramid body type category. Muscle mass in the upper body is a typical characteristic of the inverted pyramid body type, but it is not uncommon for fat to be stored through the chest and the back of the arms either.
Cravings and consequences: Cravings commonly experienced by people with the inverted body type include alcohol as well as fatty, salty and fast foods. Even with a poor diet people with this body type will find that they have a decent amount of energy early on in their day, but tend to wear out quickly towards the evening and then succumb to their cravings.
Concerns: One of the things that anyone with an inverted pyramid body shape should be careful about is elevated cortisol levels. This hormone is released via the adrenal glands, and due to its effect on other hormones, such as insulin, can lead to weight gain.
Food to eat or eliminate: For a healthy diet focus on complex carbohydrates, such as buckwheat, brown rice and oats. As a supplement, you can add leafy greens, high-fiber fruits and fresh vegetable juices. Low-fat dairy is also acceptable as part of your diet. On the other hand, caffeinated beverages, salty snacks, heavy cheese and heavy meats should be eliminated from your diet.
Even if you don’t fall into one of those four basic body types, for example, if you have a naturally slim body, it’s still important to eat healthily. Even if weight isn’t an issue there is still a risk of diabetes or high blood pressure when eating unhealthily. Decrease saturated fats and include heart healthy fats in your diet for the best results.