Body type and diet

Everyone loses and gains weight at different rates because of the body type you’re born with and the way each type responds to hormones and foods. Recognising your body type is the key to losing weight and feeling healthy. Here’s what to do…

Credit: Getty Images

Apple shape

If you have an apple body shape you tend to carry all or most of weight through the belly area. With the legs and arms staying fairly slim.

Typical cravings – starchy foods like bread and pastas as well as fizzy drinks and caffeine.

Hormone watch point – Insulin. The key to losing weight for the Apple is getting her blood sugar levels under control.

Foods to eat – Clean protein, including chicken lean beef, pork and fish. Healthy fats like eggs, avocado, nuts, seeds, nut butter and full fat cheeses. Leafy greens like spinach and kale.

Foods to avoid – Starchy carbs, high sugar fruits, coffee and fizzy drinks.

Celebrity apples – Catherine Zeta Jones, Colleen Rooney.


Breakfast: 3tbsp cottage cheese with tomatoes, handful spinach.

Lunch: Turkey steak with raw veggies, 3tbsp fresh salsa and ½ avocado.

Dinner: Kale, mushroom and onion omelette made with 2 eggs.

Snack: Small bag salted popcorn.

Credit: Getty Images

Pear shape

Pears mostly gain weight around hips and thighs with sometimes a small pouch of fat around the lower abdomen. They tend to suffer more with fluid retention and PMS affected by hormones.

Typical cravings – high fat dairy like creamy cheese, lattes and rich desserts.

Hormone watch point – Estrogen if other hormones like progesterone are out of balance, can promote lower body weight gain.

Foods to eat – high fibre vegetables and fruit. Small amounts of protein like turkey breast and white fish such as cod and non-dairy fats like coconut oils and eggs.

Foods to avoid – heavy cheeses, cream and sauces, caffeine and alcohol.

Celebrity pears – Kim Kardashian, Beyonce.


Breakfast: 1 tub Greek yoghurt with handful berries.

Lunch: Grilled chicken breast with large green salad and 1 tsp oil dressing.

Dinner: Small portion cod cooked in coconut oil, sea salt, and 3tbsp, with broccoli.

Snack: 1 apple with 1 tbsp nut butter.

Hour glass body shape

This body type tend to gain weight evenly throughout body, most obviously around the face but also round knees and ankles giving a soft, rounded look.

Typical cravings – dairy products especially ice-creams, refined sugar, carbs such as pastries and sweets.

Hormone watch point – the master of hormones, the pituitary gland that affects both cortisol and insulin.

Foods to eat – whole grains cereals, like oatmeal and quinoa, one serving of lean protein like lean chicken or fish, plenty of spices like cumin and cinnamon.

Foods to avoid – dairy products, refined carbs and sweets.

Celebrity hour glasses – Carol Vorderman, Kelly Brooke.


Breakfast: Smoothie made with 3tbsp Greek yoghurt, coconut milk, berries, dash of cinnamon.

Lunch: Grilled salmon fillet with grilled tomatoes, pepper and onions.

Dinner: Grilled chicken breast, ½ sweet potato, baked and 3tbsp. broccoli.

Snack: 5 prunes, handful unsalted nuts.

It’s no secret that losing weight isn’t exactly a one-size-fits-all kinda thing. Yes, you always have to eat less and move more—those are givens. But beyond that, what works for one person isn’t always right for someone else.

As for me? Usually, I’m not one for gimmicks. I believe that eating clean, wholesome foods in reasonable portions, and listening to your body, is the best way to maintain a healthy weight. (Oh, and letting yourself have dessert when you really want it. That’s a must.)

But recently, I started wondering whether my approach might be too simplistic. After all, even though I eat relatively well, I don’t feel amazing and energized 100% of the time. I’ve also long had the nagging feeling that for as clean as I tend to eat, I should weigh a little bit less. (Lose up to 25 pounds in 2 months—and look more radiant than ever—with Prevention’s new Younger in 8 Weeks plan!)

MORE: 7 Reasons You’re Tired All The Time

Still, I wasn’t into the idea of embarking on a rigid, complicated diet or one that banned entire food groups. As a nutrition writer, I’ve long known about the idea of eating for your body type, or somatype. Back in the 1940s, experts came up with three basic somatypes based on a person’s skeletal frame and body composition, and to this day, many dietitians and exercise physiologists create diet and exercise programs based around these types.

Ectomorphs are naturally long and lean and have a hard time gaining fat or muscle. Mesomorphs are solid, athletic, and strong and tend to find it easy to maintain a stable weight. As for me? I’m a classic endomorph: Though I’m not overweight, I have a higher percentage of body fat and tend to carry it in my lower abdomen, hips, and thighs. It’s almost impossible for me to put on muscle (I’ve tried), and if I overdo it on the junk for just a couple of days, it’ll show up on the scale.

MORE: 9 Proven Ways To Lose Stubborn Belly Fat

So how should an endomorph eat? Endomorphs are really good at converting carbs into sugar and storing them as fat. According to the American Council on Exercise, they tend to have some degree of carbohydrate and insulin sensitivity. That’s why it’s better for endomorphs to eat an even distribution of protein, healthy fats, and carbs. And the carbs should come mostly from vegetables and whole grains—not bread, cookies, or high-sugar fruit.

Carbs are definitely what I crave most. But I notice that when I have a lot of them, I tend to feel kind of crazed. Even something healthy like an apple can leave me jittery and a little light-headed within a couple of hours, unless I pair it with some nuts or nut butter.

So for the past month, I decided to try eating in a way that was more in line with my somatype. I eat a largely plant-based diet, for both ethical and environmental reasons, so I wasn’t about to start snacking on beef jerky. But I did make an effort to eat meals that were higher in protein and healthy fats and lower in carbs. And while I didn’t cut out my beloved sugary junk altogether (a girl’s gotta have her chocolate chip cookies), I tried really hard to make the majority of my carbs high-quality. Think: whole grains and sweet potatoes rather than white bread.

Marygrace Taylor

In the past, I’d often crave a big bowl of oatmeal for breakfast (or on the weekends, buttery toast). But either of those would usually leave me feeling sort of hollow and sluggish within a few hours. So instead, I started having a hard-boiled egg with steamed kale and slices of steamed winter squash, topped with flaky sea salt and a generous drizzle of tahini. Because I’m a creature of habit, I ate this almost every day. And even though it wasn’t a ton of food, I found that it kept me fuller and more focused throughout the morning.

MORE: 5 Things That Happened When I Ate A Big Breakfast Every Day For A Week

I’m not big on heavy lunches because they make me sleepy. So I’ve always done the soup or salad thing, but usually, I’d pair it with a hunk of crusty bread. Instead, I started making sure that my soups were protein-based—think split pea or lentil. I’d top my soups with a drizzle of olive oil or swirl in some coconut milk when I cooked them to make them creamy. And instead of the bread, I’d have half a sweet potato. It took some time to adjust (I really love bread), but after a week or so, I got used to it. It was a smart move: I felt lighter after lunch, and I tended to get less foggy in the afternoon. (Try these slimming soup recipes that still satisfy.)

For dinner, I tried to steer away from carb-based meals like pasta or sandwiches. Instead, I’d make beans, tempeh, or tofu and plenty of roasted vegetables as the base of my meal, and have a smaller portion of a whole grain like wheat berries or quinoa. Sometimes I’d have cheese (like a sprinkle on top of a black bean bowl), but more often, I’d add a healthy fat like avocado or homemade cashew sauce.

As for snacks, I’ve never been big on eating between meals. But in the past, when an occasional urge to nibble would strike, I’d usually have a cookie. Now, I’d have a handful of nuts or olives. At night, I was actually big on eating fruit before bed. But often, I’d find that an apple or a bowl of cherries would leave me feeling weirdly awake (maybe too much sugar?). So I swapped the fruit for a square or two of 85% dark chocolate, which was higher in fat and lower in sugar.

MORE: 7 Things That Happen When You Stop Eating Sugar

The verdict? Over the course of the month, my weight stayed the same. But I felt better. I had more energy, and I felt less fuzzy. Just as good, I never experienced that weird, jittery, low-blood-sugar thing that I sometimes used to get an hour or two after eating lots of carbs. Plus, the less of that stuff I ate, the less often I found myself struck with intense cravings for sugary foods. And regardless of what the scale said, those rewards alone were totally worth it.

Marygrace Taylor Marygrace Taylor is a health and wellness writer for Prevention, Parade, Women’s Health, Redbook, and others.

Body type eating: Find out whether it’s right for you.

Body type — whether ecto, meso, or endomorph — can determine what sports suit you best, as well as what you should be eating to fuel your activities. Yes, it’s true — those darn ectos can get away with a little extra pasta!

What is eating for your body type?

Many people think that “body type” just describes the way someone looks. In fact, your body type can also provide information about how you respond to food intake and about your hormonal and sympathetic nervous system (SNS) characteristics.

Physique characteristics can thus be linked to metabolic differences between individuals. Once someone establishes their body type, they can then adjust nutrient intake to maximize body composition and health related goals.

There are three general categories of body types (somatotypes): ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph.

Very few people fall perfectly into one of the three categories. People are often a mix of characteristics. Additionally, years of training and good nutrition can change the outward appearance of one’s body.

For instance, a bodybuilder might be mistaken for a “natural” mesomorph when in fact, s/he is really an endomorph who’s trained and dieted hard; or an ectomorph who’s spent years guzzling protein shakes and doing the power lifts.

An ectomorph who’s gained a little weight around the middle from a sedentary lifestyle and poor nutrition might assume they’re more endomorphic.

However, most folks can find their general tendencies in one of the three groups.

Ectomorphs are thin individuals characterized by smaller bone structures and thinner limbs. Think of a typical endurance athlete. They tend to be thyroid and SNS dominant with either a higher output or higher sensitivity to catecholamines like epinephrine and norepinephrine. This profile is linked to a fast metabolic rate and a high carbohydrate tolerance.

This group generally does best with more carbohydrates in the diet, along with a moderate protein and lower fat intake. A nutrient distribution for this body type might be around 55% carbs, 25% protein, and 20% fat. (But don’t drive yourself crazy with the math. Just think “higher carbs and lower fat.”)

A group of ectomorphs doing what they do best

Here’s what that might look like using our portion control guide.

Ectomorph men begin by eating:

  • 2 palms of protein dense foods at each meal;
  • 2 fists of vegetables at each meal;
  • 3 cupped handfuls of carb dense foods at each meal;
  • 1 thumb of fat dense foods at each meal.

Portions for ectomorph men

Ectomorph women begin by eating:

  • 1 palm of protein dense foods at each meal;
  • 1 fist of vegetables at each meal;
  • 2 cupped handfuls of carb dense foods at each meal;
  • 0.5 thumb of fat dense foods at each meal.

Portions for ectomorph women.

Mesomorphs have a medium sized bone structure and athletic body, and if they’re active, they usually have a considerable amount of lean mass. Many explosive athletes like wrestlers and gymnasts fit these criteria. Mesomorphs tend to be testosterone and growth hormone dominant. This profile leads to a predisposition for muscle gain and the maintenance of a lower body fat.

Mesomorphs typically do best on a mixed diet, consisting of balanced carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. A macronutrient split of 40% carbohydrate, 30% protein, and 30% fat can work well.

Reggie Bush Serena Williams

Here’s what that might look like using our portion control guide.

Mesomorph men begin by eating:

  • 2 palms of protein dense foods at each meal;
  • 2 fists of vegetables at each meal;
  • 2 cupped handfuls of carb dense foods at each meal;
  • 2 thumb of fat dense foods at each meal.

Portions for mesomorph men.

Mesomorph women begin by eating:

  • 1 palm of protein dense foods at each meal;
  • 1 fist of vegetables at each meal;
  • 1 cupped handfuls of carb dense foods at each meal;
  • 1 thumb of fat dense foods at each meal.

Portions for mesomorph women.

Endomorphs have a larger bone structure with higher amounts of total body mass and fat mass. Football lineman and powerlifters are frequently endomorphs. They tend to be naturally less active. Where the ectomorphs tend to burn off excess calories with near constant movement, excess calories in endomorphs do not seem to cause that same increase in expenditure. This means that excess calories are more likely to be stored as fat. This profile leads to a greater propensity for energy storage, including both lean mass and fat mass. This can also mean a lower carbohydrate tolerance.

Endomorphs typically do best on a higher fat and protein intake with carbohydrate intake being controlled and properly timed (e.g., after exercise). So that’s what we recommend: more fat and protein, less carbohydrate.

A nutrient distribution for this body type might be around 25% carbs, 35% protein, and 40% fat. Again, no math gymnastics. Just think higher fats and protein, lower carbs.

Jayne Williams, author of Slow Fat Triathlete Shot putter Dan Taylor

Here’s what that might look like using our portion control guide:

Endomorph men begin by eating:

  • 2 palms of protein dense foods at each meal;
  • 2 fists of vegetables at each meal;
  • 1 cupped handful of carb dense foods at each meal;
  • 3 thumbs of fat dense foods at each meal.

Portions for endomorph men.

Endomorph women begin by eating:

  • 1 palm of protein dense foods at each meal;
  • 1 fist of vegetables at each meal;
  • 0.5 cupped handful of carb dense foods at each meal;
  • 2 thumbs of fat dense foods at each meal.

Portions for endomorph women.

(For more on this hand-size portion idea, including photo examples, check out our calorie control guide for men and women by clicking here.)

In general, we encourage individuals to experiment with different nutritional strategies until they find what works for them. And this is certainly one way to go about doing things.

Still, if seemingly endless trial and error with food intake doesn’t sound like an enjoyable way to spend your weekends, then identifying your body type and eating the appropriate distribution of nutrients might be a smart place to begin.

What you should know about eating for your body type

Regardless of your body type, body composition, or overall health status, your ability to handle carbohydrate-dense foods is greatly improved the more active you are.

This means that the best time to eat a majority of those starchy (or, less ideally, sugary) foods is when you’re most physically active. Depending on your body type, your carb tolerance and needs are different and your strategy should be different to match.

High carb tolerance (and needs)

If you’re the very carb tolerant type (or high carb needs type), eating a greater percentage of carb-dense foods outside the workout window will likely be just fine for you. This means eating more carbs all throughout the day. And you should, of course, ensure you get plenty of carbs around your workout for fuel and recovery. Just think more carbs around workouts and somewhat less carbs at other times. Remember that as carb intake increases, fat intake decreases.

Moderate carb tolerance (and needs)

If you have moderate carb tolerance (or needs), you should likely maintain a moderate intake of carb-dense foods outside the workout window. This means you’d make sure you eat some carb-dense foods around your workout. The rest of the meals would consist of less carb-dense foods and more lean proteins, veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds.

Low carb tolerance (and needs)

If you’re not very carb tolerant (or have low carb needs), your best bet is to minimize carb-dense foods outside the workout window. This means mostly veggies and fruits outside the workout window (along with proteins and fats).

For extra credit

As we approach different stages in our lives, hormones change and our body type can be influenced. This includes stages such as puberty and menopause (as well as the male equivalent, andropause).

Summary and recommendations

Carb tolerance/needs: High
Typical body type: Ectomorph
Carb timing ideas: Should include lots of carb-dense foods around exercise. Some starchy, whole grain, minimally processed carbs should also be eaten at other meals. Veggies and/or fruits (~3:1 serving ratio) should be eaten at each meal.

Carb tolerance/needs: Moderate
Typical body type: Mesomorph
Carb timing ideas: Should include carb-dense foods around exercise. Some starchy, whole grain, minimally processed carbs can also be eaten at other meals, though consumed in moderation. Veggies and/or fruits (~4:1 serving ratio) should be eaten at each meal.

Carb tolerance/needs: Low
Typical body type: Endomorph
Carb timing ideas: Almost all carb-dense foods should be included around exercise. Veggies and/or fruits (~5:1 serving ratio) should be eaten at each meal.

All of the aforementioned guidelines are great for muscle gain (assuming overall food intake is high enough), maintenance, and even moderate weight loss/shifting body composition.

For people brand new to the world of healthy eating, don’t worry too much about body type eating. This would be a better place for you to start. For our advanced nutrition readers, take advantage. Establish your body type, implement the strategies, and watch how your body changes.

If you’ve used a strategy in the past and it didn’t work, then don’t do it again. As always, match up behaviors and expectations while utilizing outcomes based decision making.

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17 Weight Loss Tips Based on Your Body Type

We all know the basics: don’t spoil your sweet tooth, up your fiber game, drink lots of water. But what you may not know is that the effect and efficacy of your dietary decisions can be influenced by your body shape. That’s right, those double chocolate fudge bars may do a lot more damage to you than to your neighbor. Why? Your body type doesn’t just have visual implications; it affects (and reflects) how you respond to food and on a deeper level than your metabolic makeup—which is where the body type diet comes in.

“Your metabolism and eating habits will determine your percentage of lean muscle mass and body fat,” says Maria A. Bella, MS, RD, CDN, and founder of Top Balance Nutrition. “Where body fat is located on the body can be a major determinant of insulin sensitivity and weight gain. So, it’s super important to eat according to your body type to ensure that your metabolism is working at its best.” It’s an underrated factor when it comes to efficiently reaching your weight and health goals, so here’s a much-needed look at the best weight loss tips based on your body type.


Are You An Apple Body?

People with an apple body shape tend to carry most of their weight around the belly area but have a slimmer lower body. “Abdominal fat—usually visceral fat—unfortunately, causes many health risks such as an increased risk of heart disease, cancers, and diabetes because it’s the type of fat that surrounds your organs,” says Shirlee Rosen, RDN. “Abdominal fat is known to be detrimental, causing inflammation and insulin resistance, which can lead to metabolic syndrome.” If you’re tummy heavy, however, don’t despair! Visceral fat, although very dangerous, is also metabolically active and easier to lose if an appropriate diet is followed. Kick things off and find out how to lose belly fat in just a couple weeks.


Apples Can Benefit from a Low Glycemic Diet

Rosen explains that due to irregular insulin levels caused by abdominal fat, a low-glycemic diet has been proven to be most beneficial for weight loss for an apple body shape because it will work to decrease inflammation and help burn fat. “Following a low-glycemic diet includes eating foods such as green vegetables, most fruits, kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils, and bran cereals. Cut out foods such as white bread, pastas, rice, pastries, cookies, and candies.” By following a low-glycemic diet, she says, you can stop your blood sugar from spiking, therefore controlling insulin levels and decreasing the risk of chronic diseases. Choose fiber-rich carbohydrates such as whole grain bread, oats, legumes, beans, and non-starchy vegetables.


Apples Should Consumes Carbs with Protein or Fat

When consuming the recommended carbohydrates high in fiber, it’s important for apples to pair them with a protein or healthy fat to further control blood sugar levels. “Healthy fats, such as nuts and fish, are loaded with omega-3s, which have been shown to decrease inflammation,” says Rosen. Eating more heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil, nuts, seeds, and avocados is also essential because, according to Chelsey Amer, RD, they boost satiety and may help you eat less unhealthy foods and blast belly fat.


Snacking Is Important for Apples

Along with including lean protein or healthy fat with every meal, it’s also imperative to snack on a regular basis if you want to combat midsection visceral fat. “Snacking will help prevent blood sugar spikes and help keep your hormones in balance, which can be an issue with excess abdominal fat,” says Amer.


What Is A Pear-Shaped Body?

People with a pear body shape tend to carry most of their weight in the lower portions of their body, which is mostly subcutaneous fat. This is also known as fat that can be pinched. While love handles and muffin tops make most of us cringe, this kind of fat isn’t surrounding our vital organs, meaning that it isn’t as detrimental to our health as the fat you’ll find in people with an apple shaped figure. On the flip side, this type of fat is harder to lose because it’s stubborn and not as mobile as visceral fat. You can make the long process a little more fun by spiking your workout routines with fun ways to lose weight!


What To Eat For A Pear-Shaped Body

“To shed their stubborn fat around their hips, pear-shaped individuals may benefit from a high-fiber, lower fat diet with an adequate balance of lean protein because it’s much easier to burn carbohydrates than it is fat,” says Amer. She suggests including several servings of whole grains, like quinoa, brown rice, and whole grain bread, throughout the day.


Pears Should Avoid Unnecessary Hormones and Up Calcium

Some studies suggest that the pear-shaped body may be due to increased estrogen levels, which is why Bella says that it’s best to avoid non-organic and processed meats that may contain unnecessary hormones. “Conversely, calcium has been shown to influence the way our bodies store fat, making it helpful to load up on Icelandic or Greek yogurt and dark leafy greens.” You’ll want to also familiarize yourself with these best calcium-rich foods that aren’t dairy.


Pear Should Watch Alcohol

“Put away the alcoholic beverages, sodas, juices and smoothies and replace them with water,” Rosen says. “By doing that, you are not only cutting back on calories but also providing your body with an essential nutrient it needs throughout the day.” This is especially important because, as mentioned, the subcutaneous fat that pears have is hard to shed, making it critical they avoid excess calories.


What Is An Inverted Triangle Shaped Body?

Inverted triangle shaped bodies, also referred to as top heavy body types, tend to have broad shoulders and they’re prone to storing fat on the upper half of their body.


What Inverted Triangle Shaped Bodies Should Eat

If you’re broader up top, it’s important to opt for complex versus simple carbohydrates. Translation: trade your white rice and potatoes for quinoa and oats. Fresh vegetables (particularly leafy greens) are also key, and you should eliminate high-fat cheeses and processed foods—particularly the bloat-inducing, salty ones.


Inverted Triangle Shaped Bodies Should Load Up On Magnesium

“Magnesium is crucial for hundreds of bodily functions, which is why consuming this wonder mineral is associated with better blood sugar control,” says Amer, who recommends it for all body types. “Be sure to include almonds and dark leafy greens like spinach and black beans in your diet daily.” You can take some extra steps for your upper body troubles by also discovering these easy ways to get rid of back fat.


What Is An Hourglass Body?

The hourglass figure tends to be the most desired body shape because those with this figure gain weight evenly throughout their body. When people with this type do gain weight, however, it’s most noticeable on or around the face, arms, chest, knees, and ankles.


An Hourglass Shaped Body Diet

Hourglass figures should follow an anti-inflammatory diet rich in fresh produce (fruits and veggies) and whole grains (buckwheat bulgur, millet, quinoa), healthy fats (avocados, salmon, nuts, seeds, olive oil) and high-quality lean protein (turkey, salmon, sole), beans and lentils. Like all body types, hourglass shapes should limit processed foods, sugar, caffeine, and high-fat foods. “Hourglass bodies, like all bodies, can benefit from including more plant-based proteins, such as beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, tofu, and edamame in their diets because these potent protein sources are also high in fiber and many contain healthy fats we need to shed excess weight,” says Amer.


What Is A Pencil-Shaped Body?

People with a straight-shaped body have similar measurements for their shoulders, waist, and hips—basically, no curves. Most skinny people tend to have this body type, and when they do gain weight, it’s usually in the belly. As mentioned with apple-shaped figures, this is problematic for health reasons (hence the term “skinny fat”), since it leaves them prone to heart disease and diabetes.


An Ideal Diet for Pencil People

“Pencils may be at a healthy BMI but still have a high body fat percentage,” says Bella. “Eat every four hours and structure your meals based on a plating method: fill half of your plate with produce, one-fourth with a whole grain such as quinoa or millet and the rest with lean protein such as fish or skinless chicken.” Bella adds that it’s important to ensure that pencils are getting at least two to three servings of reduced fat dairy (we recommend organic 1%) per day and that they should aim for six colors of produce. This body type diet, which is rich in complex carbs, fresh produce, and healthy fats, is a great formula to follow because it will work to help decrease the risk of cardiovascular problems.


Tips For All Shapes

“Always fill half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables!” Rosen exclaims. “Eat those first and then go for the lean protein and fiber-rich whole grains. This way, you will feel full off of the low-calorie, high-fiber vegetables and won’t overeat the higher calorie food choices. You will be less inclined to indulge in other foods.” And don’t forget that drinking water is imperative since many people confuse hunger with thirst. Rosen also suggests using smaller plates, always keeping healthy snacks handy (carrots and hummus, apples and almonds, plain Greek yogurt and cucumbers), limiting your sugar and simple carbohydrates, and upping your intake in fiber-rich foods.


Workout Tips for Your Body Shape

While our shape may be mostly influenced by genetics and diet, fitness is a non-negligible part not only for overall tone but for health, too. “Physical activity is key for any body type. Moving more not only helps with weight loss, but boosts your overall health, reducing your risk of heart disease, helping control your blood sugar, and more!” exclaims Amer.

Any exercise is better than no exercise, but here’s what to focus on for your body type:
•Apple-shaped people should focus on high-intensity interval training, which works to blast fat and torch calories while improving cardiovascular capabilities.
•Those with a pear shape should focus on a mix of strength training (focusing on the lower half) and cardio for all over fat burning.
•Hourglass should focus on full body moves.
•Pencil people need to work on building muscle, particularly in the ab area.
•If you have an inverted triangle shape, focus on a mix of strength training (focusing on the upper half) and cardio for all over fat burning.

Get plenty of ideas with these 30 most effective 30-second workout moves!

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Your body stores fat differently from other bodies, taking a different shape. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to weight loss. It’s time to get to know your body type: Apple, Pear, Inverted Pyramid and Hourglass

When you start eating for your body type, you’ll be amazed at how quickly your body will adapt to your type’s eating plan. Energy will improve and weight will come off naturally.


This body type tends to carry all or most of its weight through the belly area. The legs and arms of the Apple are generally fairly slender without much extra weight. Even though this body type is at the greatest health risk due to excess visceral fat, the belly fat that’s deep inside the midsection, it’s easy to get rid of.

Common cravings: Starchy or sugary foods, diet sodas, caffeine

Response to a poor diet: Lacks energy and experiences cravings, particularly around midmorning or after lunch.

Hormone to watch out for: Insulin. The key to losing weight for the Apple is getting his or her blood sugar levels under control.

Limit: Starchy carbs to one meal a day and low glycemic index fruits (berries)

Eliminate: Coffee or caffeinated beverages as they can throw off cortisol and insulin. Sugary refined carbohydrates, like sports drinks, store bought energy bars or sweetened yogurts


This body type tends to gain weight through the hips and thighs, often with a small lower abdominal “pooch” (this is subcutaneous fat, not to be confused with visceral fat). This body type appears to have a significantly smaller upper body, with little excess weight through the arms and chest.

The Pear may run into a little frustration when it comes to weight loss as the subcutaneous fat through the hips and thighs is difficult to mobilize. In fact, the Pear may notice other parts of her body losing weight before the target area. It’s highly likely that this body type is dealing with estrogen dominance. By eating foods that help flush out estrogen while eliminating the foods that mimic estrogen leading to an excessive amount, this body type will lose weight.

Common cravings: High-fat dairy, lattes, rich desserts

Response to a poor diet: Will experience unusual hunger either in between meals or at the end of the evening, after dinner.

Hormone to watch out for: Estrogen. Even though estrogen, as a group of hormones, isn’t necessarily bad, an imbalance of too much estrogen to other hormones, particularly progesterone, can promote lower body weight gain.

What to eat: Start with a foundation of high-fiber vegetables and fruits, supplement with healthy amount of oats, quinoa, buckwheat and brown rice. Also include small amounts of lean protein and clean, non-dairy fats.


This body type tends to have broader shoulders that taper down toward the waist and hips. They usually carry quite a bit of muscle mass in the upper body, but are prone to storing extra fat through the chest, back of the arms and above the bra line.

Common cravings: Salty, fatty and fast foods; alcohol

Response to a poor diet: Has a decent amount of energy early in the day, loses steam in the evening and succumbs to cravings

Hormone to watch out for: Cortisol. Released through the adrenal glands, found on top of the kidneys. Constantly elevated cortisol levels, released through the adrenal glands, can have a cascading effect on other hormones that perpetuate weight gain, particularly insulin.

What to eat: Start with a foundation of complex carbohydrates (oats, brown rice, buckwheat) and supplement with low-fat dairy and lots of fresh vegetable juices, leafy greens and high-fiber fruits.

Eliminate: Heavy meats, heavy cheese, salty snacks, protein bars, caffeinated beverages


This body type typically gains weight evenly throughout his or her body, often most noticeable in the face, but also through the arms, chest, knees and ankles. This body type has a soft, round look.

Common cravings: Dairy, sugary carbohydrates

Response to a poor diet: Water retention and congestion

Hormone to watch out for: Master regulator of all hormones, the pituitary gland, which can have an effect on cortisol, insulin and thyroid, among others.

What to eat: Start with a foundation of raw vegetables and fruits, supplement with whole grain cereals (oatmeal, quinoa, buckwheat). Include a daily serving of lean protein and plenty of spices.

Limit: High-fat meats; refined and processed carbohydrates

Eliminate: Caffeinated beverages, dairy, refined carbohydrates, sweets

Excerpted with permission from The Belly Burn Plan by Traci D. Mitchell. Harlequin 2015.

Photo by MBG Creative

You may think you’ve heard about every diet out there — Atkins, ketogenic, Whole30 — but have you ever heard of body-type eating? If not, don’t worry; you’re not alone. The first time I came across body-type eating was when I was studying to become a Precision Nutrition nutrition coach. I liked the concept of eating for your body type and found that when it came to my personal-training clients, this was a lot easier for them to follow than traditional dieting, and because of that, I knew I had to share this concept with all of you.

What Is Body Type Eating?

Typical body type is used to classify the way someone looks, but your body type can provide information about how you respond to food intake and provide more insight into your hormonal and sympathetic nervous system (SNS) characteristics. By understanding your physical characteristics, you’ll be able to understand metabolic differences between you and your peers and then adjust your nutrient intake “to maximize body composition and health-related goals,” according to Precision Nutrition. Before determining your body type, it’s important to note that very few people fit one of the three categories perfectly; most people are often a combination of body types. Let the following information be a starting point to eating for your body type, and make adjustments as you see fit.


Ectomorphs are generally characterized as thin individuals with smaller bone structures and thinner limbs, like endurance athletes. These people are usually thyroid and SNS dominant. Ectomorphs have a fast metabolic rate and a high carbohydrate tolerance. These people fare the best with more carbohydrates in their diet along with moderate protein and a low fat intake. A sample nutrient breakdown for an ectomorph is 55 percent carbohydrates, 25 percent protein, and 20 percent fat. If math isn’t your thing, simply go for more carbs and less fat. Following the Precision Nutrition portion control guide, an ectomorph woman’s meal should look like the following:


  • One palm of protein-dense foods at each meal.
  • One fist of vegetables at each meal.
  • Two cupped handfuls of carb-dense foods at each meal.
  • One-half thumb of fat-dense foods at each meal.


Mesomorphs typically have a medium-size bone structure and an athletic body, and if they’re active, they also have a higher percentage of lean muscle mass. Explosive athletes like sprinters and gymnasts tend to fall into this category. Mesomorphs are typically testosterone and growth-hormone dominant, which means they’re at a predisposition for gaining muscle and maintaining a lower body-fat percentage. If you identify as a mesomorph, a balanced diet of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats is best for you. A sample nutrient breakdown for a mesomorph is 40 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent protein, and 30 percent fat. Following the Precision Nutrition portion control guide, a mesomorph woman’s meal should look like the following:

  • One palm of protein-dense foods at each meal.
  • One fist of vegetables at each meal.
  • One cupped handful of carb-dense foods at each meal.
  • One thumb of fat-dense foods at each meal.


Endomorphs tend to have a larger bone structure and higher amounts of total body mass and fat mass. Football linemen and powerlifters are typically endomorphs. For endomorphs, excess calories are likely to be stored as fat, and they tend to have a greater energy storage that includes both lean muscle mass and fat mass. As a result, endomorphs also tend to have a lower carbohydrate tolerance. Precision Nutrition suggests that endomorphs follow a diet consisting of a higher fat and protein intake, with their carbohydrate intake being controlled and properly timed. A sample nutrient breakdown for an endomorph is 25 percent carbohydrates, 35 percent protein, and 40 percent fat. More fats/proteins and fewer carbs is the name of the game. Following the Precision Nutrition portion control guide, an endomorph woman’s meal should look like the following:

  • One palm of protein-dense foods at each meal.
  • One fist of vegetables at each meal.
  • One-half cupped handful of carb-dense foods at each meal.
  • Two thumbs of fat-dense foods at each meal.

Final Verdict

This is a great place to start if you’re looking to optimize your nutrition. You won’t get caught up in counting calories or restricting foods and will be eating a diet that works the best for your body. Although I’m a nutrition coach, I’m not a doctor, so before you make any changes to your diet, be sure to consult your physician. To find out the .

Image Source: Burst / Matthew Henry

Finding Your Perfect Diet

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From Women’s Health Foundation

Ever pick up a book or magazine because it claims to have the secrets for the “perfect” way to eat? Are you constantly changing your diet based on what science or the media is telling you is healthy? What the heck is a “perfect diet” anyway?

In America, we tend to think there is this one right way to eat or live (and we are “discovering” it all the time). We’re such perfectionists! But what if that scientifically proven healthy diet or way of life saps your energy and makes you feel unwell.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory, everyone has a unique combination of imbalances that manifest when we are exposed to stress. Some of us get headaches or other pains, while others have trouble sleeping, problems with digestion, mood, urination or our menstrual cycles.

Any symptom is an indication of an underlying imbalance—a way for our bodies to communicate the need for assistance. Predictable patterns of symptoms often emerge accompanying these imbalances, so I guess even if we are all unique and different, at least we fall apart in a fairly predictable pattern—according to TCM.

With all these lovely unique people around, how is it we think there is one diet that is appropriate for everyone? TCM practitioners often give dietary recommendations in addition to using acupuncture and Chinese herbs to encourage healing. In other words, once you understand how your body tends to fall apart, you should adapt a lifestyle and diet that supports those weaknesses, especially during times of stress. Essentially, we all need the diet that is supportive of our unique bodies, and it may change as we age and evolve.

The responsibility then falls on us to find our own “perfect” diet and lifestyle. Thankfully there are many resources available to assist us in this process, but the best resource is actually you! Start paying attention to how you feel with your current diet. If you’ve tried several diets, you probably know a thing or two about what works and what doesn’t for your body.

Let’s stop relying so much on what we are told our bodies need and start listening to what they are telling us. With your unique perfect diet you should feel energized all day and get appropriately tired as the night winds down. You should fall asleep and stay asleep until it is time to start your day. You should have at least one bowel movement a day (which should be formed, soft, and easy to pass), and feel energized (not bloated, gassy, or tired) after eating. Occasionally, changing our diet is not enough to improve how we feel and it is necessary to incorporate other healing modalities like herbs, supplements, acupuncture, homeopathy or pharmaceuticals.

Where to start … I like Michael Pollan’s take on nutrition: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

Eat REAL foods that come from the ground or have a mother.

Eat CLEAN foods that have grown and been raised without pesticides, hormones, or antibiotics.

Eat BALANCED meals containing lots of fruits and vegetables, some meat or vegetable protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats.

Need specifics? Consult a Nutritionist or TCM practitioner or check out books by Michael Pollan (we like Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual and In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto for a more in-depth guide) or Dr. Andrew Weil (Eating Well For Optimum Health: The Essential Guide to Bringing Health and Pleasure Back to Eating).

If you are having symptoms, especially digestive symptoms, eczema or psoriasis, headaches, fatigue, poor immunity, foggy headedness, or depression, you may want to consider experimenting with a dairy-, gluten- or soy-free diet. It may take more than reading a book or magazine, but once you figure out your “perfect” diet to support your unique body, it will change your life!

Mary Sabo is a L.A.c, Dipl.OM, MSOM with Source Healing in Chicago. She is nationally board certified by NCCAOM and has a strong background in Chinese Medicine and its usefulness in treating headaches, digestive disorders, emotional disharmonies, women’s health issues and fertility.

Finding the Best Diet Plan for Your Body

Finding the best diet plan for your body is based solely on your body’s needs. It also depends on your mental attitude and what you think you can actually follow. Finding the best diet plan for your body is also key to the eventual success of the diet you’re on. If you pick a diet that has demands or goals that seem unreasonable to you, the chances of your failure are that much greater. Whichever diet plan fulfills that basic criteria is the best for your body.

Best Diet Plan for Endomorphs

The endomorph body type is one that retains fat the best out of all body types. Some of the body characteristics of endomorphs include large joints that are commonly referred to as “big-boned,” a big and round body shape, and a resistance to losing fat easily. If you have ever been on a diet and had a hard time losing fat, then you may be an endomorph. High-carb diets should be avoided at all costs if you have this body type, which is why a diet like the Atkins diet should work best. The Atkins Diet is characterized by a severe restriction of carbs. Endomorphs sometimes experience a carb sensitivity and an insulin resistance. The low-carb Atkins Diet should not stimulate high levels of insulin and glucose release when its food are eaten.

Best Diet Plan for Mesomorphs

The mesomorph body type is typified by broader shoulders and a more athletic look. This type of body has good posture, is symmetrical and is adept at putting mass onto the frame. Mesomorph body types are able to accomplish this because their bodies distribute fat equally all over. A diet plan that includes a huge variety of foods is the best for the mesomorph body type. You are recommended to take in lots of protein to sustain your muscle mass. You should also eat healthy oils like flax seed oil and olive oil. Carbs that the body absorbs slowly, like yams and vegetables, should also be included in your diet plan. The quantity of meals per day should be increased to six, but they should be smaller meals eaten every two hours.

Best Diet Plan for Ectomorphs

The best diet plan for an ectomorph body type is one that builds your body weight up and your muscle mass, too. The ectomorph body type is defined by being skinny and having trouble building mass. To reverse these effects, you should go on a high-carb diet plan that will fuel your body with weight gain-inducing carbs. Another good recommendation is to include more protein in your diet, as protein is the building block for muscles.

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