BY LISA WILLIAMS
Fat is like real estate. It’s all about location, location, location.
Some are blessed with slender graceful limbs and dainty bosoms like your typical waif supermodel, while others are genetically endowed with curvaceous hips and small waists like Kim Kardashian. However, the difference in body shapes not only determines how you look like on the outside, but also tells an important story of what’s happening on the inside. Where and how easily you tend to store fat signals of what metabolism you have, and even herald what health risks you’re predisposed to.
Clearly then, shaping up is not a same-for-all cookie cutter affair. By implementing the suitable diet and exercise program for your body type, you can lose weight more effectively, make the most and look fabulous in your genetic shape, and stay healthy.
To make matters more confusing, many body-type or shape systems have been described – e.g. ectomorph-mesomorph-endomorph, or hourglass-ruler-spoon-cone… But one of simplest and widely used is none other than the fruity-licious apple-pear system by Dr Marie Savard, author of ‘Apples and Pears – The Body Shape Solution for Weight Loss and Wellness’.
Find your closest shape along with the suggested diet tips that will help you look good and discover your fruit of health.
People who tend to store fat around your waist more than in their lower bodies are characterized as apples. Your Waist-Hip Ratio (obtain this by dividing the circumference of your waist one inch above the navel by circumference of the widest part of your hip) is bigger than 0.8.
The increased deep belly (visceral) fat also carries increased risk of a plethora of diseases, including heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers (e.g. breast and endometrial cancer). So it is imperative that you pare down the fat that’s drowning your organs.
The good news? experts do find that the abdominal fat associated with the apple shape breaks down more quickly than fat stored in the butt and thighs (the pear shape). Moreover, it’s been estimated that you can cut your risk of disease in half by losing just two inches from your waistline. So when it comes to taking control of your health, the apple may not fall far from the tree.
The Diet: Those with the apple shape should take a good amount of heart-healthy fats (about 15 percent of your calorie intake) such as oily fish, avocados, plain nuts and olive oil which are high in omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats. The healthy fats have been shown to decrease risk of disease, while allowing the body to burn more fat.
At the same time, you should limit carbohydrates to less than 50 percent of caloric intake, and mainly in the form of complex carbohydrates. Fiber slows the digestion of sugar and lowers insulin and cholesterol levels. While lean proteins should make up the rest of roughly 35 percent.
- Favor complex, low glycaemic index carbs (whole grain, most fruits & vegetables except potatoes, beetroot, and sugary fruits like pineapple, dates or watermelon); as well as high quality proteins (salmon, trout, eggs, beans).
- Eat moderately ordinary animal proteins (turkey, lean chicken or beef), skim dairy products, and other sources of “good” fats (handful of nuts a day for snack, olive oil, avocado, flax seed).
- Avoid fried foods and refined sugars (candy, ice cream, carbonated drinks, and white-flour products).
The Workout: Interval training three times a week is a good way to rev up your metabolism and lose weight. Other aerobic exercises like cycling also helps to build muscles in your lower body to balance the top half.
Add some medium intensity strength training exercises twice weekly to tighten your core muscles and burn flab.
Extra help: ‘Apple’ types tend to need some extra help around their tummy and love handles. Coolshape using non-invasive cryolipolysis is effective in reducing the stubborn pockets of fat accumulated in the midsection.
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Those with the pear body shape have larger hips and thighs but smaller waists, and a Waist-Hip Ratio of less than 0.8. Curvy-hip chicks are generally at a lower risk of heart and metabolic diseases than apple-bodied.
But the biggest challenge here is losing weight – the body tends to burn fat around the waist first, excess fat in curvy thighs and hips often doesn’t budge easily once it gets there. The ‘passive’ fat stored in the lower body is meant to stay put, giving women a ready source of energy for childbirth and breastfeeding. Pear shapes are also predisposed to cellulite, osteoporosis and varicose veins.
The Diet:The pear-bodied should keep their fat consumption to a minimum, as your body will hoard fat in those childbearing hips & thighs. Instead, try to include higher proportions (55 percent) of healthy complex carbohydrates, and low-fat protein.
- Complex carbs (such as brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa, sweet potatoes), and low GI, high fibre fruit and veggies form the biggest proportion of your calorie intake.
- Eat moderately high quality lean proteins (steamed fish, skinless chicken, turkey breast, very lean beef)
- Avoid animal fat in fatty foods (fatty meats & dressings, full-cream milk, butter)
- You might also want to supplement your diet with calcium to ensure sufficient intake, quit smoking and limit alcohol intake to prevent brittle bones.
The Workout: Jog your metabolism to burn off calories with medium intensity aerobic exercises (especially weight-bearing ones like brisk walking, jogging, rope jumping, or dancing to maintain strong bones) 3 to 4 times a week.
Alternate this with moderate strength training workouts to build your upper body muscles and balance up the heavy bottom, and tone up your booty to J Lo or Beyonce deliciousness. A bigger muscle mass also allows your body to torch fat more efficiently during aerobic exercises.
Extra help: Vaser Liposuction for the thigh area is one treatment where you can see results in your ovverall figure after just one session. To combat any cellulite or unsightly dimpling that frequently accompanies this body shape, consider Thermage Body.
The Rectangle is typically long and narrow, and your shoulders, waist and hips are generally the same size.
While this body type is usually thin, weight gain is often in the belly region. This, again, may increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes and other diseases as with the apple-zone fat.
The Diet:This body type is best served with a diet that incorporates healthy fats that reduce the risk of heart disease, and include almost equal amounts of complex carbohydrates and lean proteins. The goal is to decrease dangerous belly fat and increase lean muscle mass.
- Eat a healthy diet of complex carbs (like whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables), and high quality lean proteins (such as oily fish, lean chicken, eggs and beans) even though you may not have a major weight issue. Eating unhealthy food can still cause diabetes and high blood pressure in skinny people.
- Consume moderate amounts of heart-healthy fat (like nuts and olive oil) for cardio-protective benefits.
- Avoid artery-blocking saturated fat, trans fat or refined sugar.
The Workout: Twice weekly sessions of strength training with high weight but low repetitions can help to create better definition by toning up your muscles.
Mix up your figure-shaping weight routines with moderate-intensity aerobic exercises to keep your heart healthy.
Extra help: This body shape typically looks long and lean but may have pockets of hidden fats, thus being labelled the ‘skinny fat’. While drastic measures are unnecessary, body toning measures will go a long way in transforming a body from drab to fab. Consider Exilis Body Magic that wields a radiofrequency skin tightening and body shaping wand and transforms over a series of 4-6 sessions.
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