Diet & Exercise

Foods That Are Right For Your Body Type

This morning I’ll be going on The TODAY Show with Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford to talk body types – specifically foods that are right for your body type. If you miss the show and are interested in what’s going on, here is what I’ll be talking about.

There are a lot of different diets out there that are marketed to help us lose weight – some good and some, in my opinion, not so good. The big differentiating factor between what makes a diet good or unhealthy is healthy eating. Sounds like a contradiction, right? We automatically assume that all diets have us eating healthy, thus, we lose weight. That’s not always the case. Let’s leave those “unhealthy diets” on the shelf for the day and talk about healthier diets.

Healthy diets typically vary from low fat/moderate carbohydrate to high protein/higher fat (significantly cutting back on carb) and everything in between. Some people do fantastic on traditional low fat diets, and some people do great on high protein diets that are higher in fat. When I say they do well, I mean they thrive – they’re healthier. This is the crux of what I focus on – metabolic typing. Defining which foods are ideal for your body. Not everyone who starts eating a healthier diet wants to lose weight, they just want to live healthier – as we all should. But for those of us who DO want to shed a few pounds, there are foods we should eat and foods we should avoid, depending on our body type.

Through metabolic typing, body types fall into one of four general categories:

The Athlete
This person typically carries a lot of their weight though their upper body, is on the shorter side and has no problem gaining muscle (even if they’re not an athlete). When excess weight comes on, it’s stored in the upper arms, back and chest.

Foods the athlete should avoid include saltier, savory foods. This body type should make dinner the meal of the day, eating a light breakfast and lunch.

The Babyface
This person puts weight on in their face, as you might have guessed, but also throughout their body. It’s usually evenly distributed.

Foods the babyface should avoid include dairy, particularly high fat dairy. This body type should eat like a reverse pyramid, eating a bigger breakfast, moderate lunch and smaller dinner.

The Pear
This body type tends to put weight on through the hips and thighs, creating a “pear” shape.

Foods the pear should avoid include spicy foods and high fat dairy. The pear does better eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and lean meats. The pear should eat opposite of the babyface, in pyramid fashion, eating a small breakfast, moderate lunch and larger dinner.

The Apple
This apple gains weight through the midsection and usually has thinner legs and arms.

Traci Mitchell on TODAY Show talking Eating Right for Your Body Type
Traci Mitchell on TODAY Show talking Eating Right for Your Body Type

Foods the apple should avoid include refined carbs, particularly sweets and caffeine. This type should eat a diet rich in protein and healthy fats – even higher fat foods, such as full fat yogurt. The apple does well eating three squares a day.

About Traci

Traci D Mitchell is a nationally-recognized Chicago-based nutrition coach and personal trainer featured on the TODAY Show and Dr. Oz. As the trainer for Steve Harvey’s Bridal Bootcamp, Traci keeps herself busy by challenging others to be the healthiest they can be. Traci is available for corporate speaking events and private coaching. Interested in working with Traci? Get info here. To keep up-to-date,  subscribe to her newsletter.


  • Jasmine

    Why should pear-shaped people avoid spicy foods? I’ve heard that spicy foods actually help you lose weight, not the reverse.

  • Bunny

    I’m a pear shape I can eat your way but!!!!! I love spicy I put hot stuff on everything ! Why dose the hot spice make me gain weight . Help spicy bunny : (

    • tracidmitchell

      Hi Bunny,

      Good question. I work in metabolic typing – or identifying foods that are right for your body. When it comes to weight loss, the foods restricted for your body type are because those foods specifically stimulate that particular gland (even it it’s calorie-free, like hot salsa). It’s the chronic overstimulation of the gland and the over-reliance on that stimulation to produce an energy boost that causes the gland to wear out, resulting in the weight gain. If you’re a pear–shape, you want to watch spicy foods, high fat dairy, rich desserts and eating after dinner. I hope this helps!

  • Jenny

    I’m a babyface. Is it okay to eat fruit? I noticed there wasn’t any fruit in this group on the Today Show. Are dairy products the only foods to avoid?

    • tracidmitchell

      Hi Jennifer,

      Yes, fruit is ok. Here is what you should avoid: black tea, butter, cheese, coffee, cream, ice cream, sour cream and yogurt. Mostly dairy, as you can see – but also coffee and black tea. I hope this helps. Traci

  • Cindy

    I am an apple shape. It’s been most frustrating for me to lose weight. I’ve done strength training for slightly over one year. I am actually gaining weight instead of losing weight. When I started to combine cardio/walking 2 miles on nights when I did not do strength training, I started to lose pounds. I also noticed a few years ago that if I cut out artificial sugars and chocolate, that I could easily lose weight. Why do artificial sweeteners have this effect?

    • tracidmitchell

      Hi Cindy,

      Please read my post today, it actually touches on what you’re talking about. Regarding non-nutritive sweeteners (aspartame, sucralose, etc) – I’ve had several clients report back with the same info. In fact, one of my clients lost eight pounds after cutting out diet soda and adhering to her metabolic type. Non-nutritive sweeteners can have various affects on the body – and weight gain or plateaus is one thing I’ve heard often. I’m not a proponent of artificial sweeteners – at all! Weight loss when cutting out these sweeteners happens to some people, but not all. Regardless, cutting them out completely is just one of many ways for your body to become “cleaner,” yielding positive results.

  • JoyceM

    Good morning, I was wondering if this statement (under athlete) is an error, and that you meant to say “breakfast is the meal of the day”?

    “This body type should make dinner the meal of the day, eating a light lunch and dinner”.

  • JoyceM

    Apple here … As big as I’ve gotten, I really don’t eat much food(not hungry). My friends and family say the same thing, I should be a skinny girl for as little as I eat. I live off my coffee, water and easy to grab stuff usually the carbs (toast, chips, crackers). When I do eat I’m starving and like steak, chicken and veggies (meat and tater gal). I’m getting pre-diabetic and when I went on the small meals, five times a day diabetic diet, I gained fourteen pounds in two weeks. I don’t think it pumped up my metabolism at all. I can’t live without my carbs and caffeine! What is the best way to pump up my metabolism?

    Thanks! :)

    • tracidmitchell

      Hello again, Joyce. It’s hard to say exactly what’s going on without knowing your metabolic type, however, from what you’ve posted it looks like your body is compensating (somehow) for less-than-ideal dietary choices. If you’re eating mostly carbs, you’re likely throwing your blood sugar levels for a loop. Caffeine could be enhancing this. I’m not surprised to see that you’re not losing weight. Eating like the “apple type” will help. A typical apple will crave sweets and refined carbs, much like you’re doing. I know it’s hard to cut out caffeine, but try to keep it to one or two cups a day in the morning hours only. Consider working with me on metabolic typing.

  • Shelia

    Hi, I need some help. I am what you call baby face.
    I was in the hospital for 3 weeks and the medication they gave me made me gain 40 pounds in just 2 months.

    I am injured bad. I have 8 disc out and seral other physical problems. I have started walking in the house and doing my streches. I eat write because at one time in my early 20’s I got up to over 200 pounds.

    I am off the medication that made me gain the weight.
    I do not know what else to do. The extra weight makes me hurt more.

    I am 5’7 at 170 pounds My goal is to get down to 140.
    Please help I am stuck.
    Thanks so much,

    • tracidmitchell

      Hi Sheila, I’m sorry to hear about your injury. You mentioned you’re walking in the house, on a treadmill I presume. Sounds like your body has been through a lot. I work in metabolic typing with my clients, so that’s always the angle I will come from. Without having your metabolic typing done, I can’t be certain, but if you’re a babyface – then you should try avoiding dairy, eating a larger breakfast (2 hard boiled eggs, toast w/ham); moderate lunch (grilled chicken salad with veggies and olive oil dressing); dinner (bowl of lentil soup). Drink water throughout the day – really try to make a conscious effort to do this. These are just a few suggestions – nothing too exciting, but sticking with this pattern might help. Hopefully you’re working with a good physical therapist that can progress you on exercises to do from home. Best of luck, Traci

  • G

    I am an apple should I also incorporate “eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and lean meats” like the pear along with your general tips for apple?

    Thank you Traci!

    • tracidmitchell

      Of course lean meat and fruits are good for you, but watch how you feel after you eat them. Just today I was talking with another apple who told me a simple switch from chicken breasts for dinner to chicken thighs (dark meat has more fat) “did the trick.” If a healthy fruit salad is calling your name, have some, but don’t make fruit the staple of any meal. Make sense? Thanks, Traci

  • Daphne

    Dear Traci,
    I fall under the category for a baby face body type… I am 4’11 and I weigh 147lbs… I do not eat a whole lot but I did notice that some of the foods that I eat a lot of are listed for me not to eat… I always thought that yogurt and low fat dairy was part of helping you to lose weight. I love yogurt, cheese, and dairy. I do not drink coffee but I do drink sweet tea. I would like to lose the weight. I walk and do yoga and the weight is not coming off! I even cut out sodas. I think that I will start following your meal plans for my body type and see what happens. Can you suggest some breakfast, lunch,and dinner foods that will help me. I love tuna, salmon, and chicken. I am not much of a red meat eater and not much on starches. Also are there any fruits that you would suggest for me to definitely eat on a daily basis? Thanks for your help and by the way I loved watching you on Hoda and Kathie… It was very informative for me!


  • Lisa T

    Hi, Traci
    I’m unsure if I’m a Athlete or Babyface both seem to be me. I get really broad cross my back and I’m naturally busty and that gets crazy with weight gain. But my thighs, butt & stomach get fat too. I did lose 48lbs on the HCG Protocol and have managed to stay a size 8 for over 4 month. I would like to know the foods I should not be eating to say this way. I eat pretty much whatever I want and I always fall back to my 142lbs two days later. Can you help with my type for more knowledge I’m 44 yrs old and you know the old saying weight gains comes with age. Thx

  • Jodi


    I am an apple shape, and have a lot of food alergies. I am gluten intollerant and have a bad gall bladder that does not respond well to pork and leafy vegetables. I want to eat better, but it seems that my body rejects the foods that could help. Although I try to be active, I have bad knees and exercise induced asthma.

    Is there anything else I could do to try to lose weight? Please help!!

  • Paula

    So I’m thinking that I’m in the “Apple” group, as I don’t have large arms, legs, butt, hips, etc. I’m also Type2, so trying to drop weight is a struggle since the medications tend to cause weight gain. I do workout with a personal trainer, typically twice a week.

    My problem is that I can workout…cardio & strength training…yet I never drop any weight. Since I take medications to lower my blood sugar, I do eat on a schedule and I try to have more protein that carbs and try to make the carbs I do have the low glycemic ones.

    I also feel that part of my problem is this huge scar I have below my navel. I never had a weight problem with fat above my navel until I had surgery and acquired that scar. Now it seems no matter what I do, I’m stuck with it. I can live with what’s below my navel, but it’s the roll above that I want rid of!


  • Donna

    I guess I would be an apple. My weignt seems to lie in my midsection, no matter how many crunches I do it seems to just remain. I do drink about 3 cups of coffee at work every day. I use splenda to sweeten a cup of coffee. Is this a downfall for me? I do crave sweets at times but do avoid as much as possible. I get the sweet and salty effect at least twice a month. What’s my best meal to eat?

  • Jerri S.

    I am a female with a muscular/athletic build. When I gain weight I feel it in upper and mid section. Is it possible to have both Apple/Athletic build and how would I approach weight loss?

  • Kathy

    What if you’re a combination. I seem to fit both your athlete and babyface types. I’m a short female and I gain weight mostly in my back and upper arms and face. But, when I lose weight I lose it first in my face and lastly in my back and arms (if that makes any difference)

  • Elva Johnson

    I am an apple with slimmer hips and a big waist. I am seventy and use a walker to get around. I eat Oatmeal with raisins and chopped up apple,Greek Yougurt with berries or eggs scrambelled for breakfast. W.Wflat bread with hummus,sprouts,cucumber, red bell pepper or avacado. Choice of one or two veggie. Dinner Soup low sodium. Homemade.I drink tea non caf, water and nonfat milk.once in awhile I eat juice bars or a little ice cream.

  • Melanie Zimmerman

    This may sound stupid, but I’m not sure what shape I am. I think probably an apple because I have fat through the midsection. But when I look in the mirror, I just see fat all over. But my arms thinner (except for bat wings) and I have muscle in my legs from working out. Any thoughts?

  • CJ

    Hi Traci- I’m intrigued by your column. I think I’m a Babyface. You mentioned folks with that type should eat a bigger breakfast.One of your suggestions was hard boiled eggs, toast and ham. I’m not a fan of hard boiled eggs, and I’m always running out the door (usually late!) in the morning. Any other quick meal suggestions for this type? Thanks in advance!

  • love monkey

    Hi Traci,

    I’m a PEAR shape and I’m wondering is all dairy off limits for this type like KEFIR the great tasting yogurt drink and middle eastern style yogurt. I don’t eat this often but would like to eat a little every day and I eat it in small amounts like 4oz so is this okay?

    Also just wondering if bananas are okay to eat I always here a lot of stuff about them being bad but after reading this book “The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth” by Jonny Bowden I love this book and highly recommend it and I feel a little better about eating banana’s. What’s your take?

    Also he talks about eggs and for my body type, the PEAR shape can I eat eggs? I love them and it would be very hard for me to give them up for this a main staple for how I get protein in my diet. He also talks about eating the yellow part of the egg and I am a true believer that if you are heart healthy that eating the yellow is very important it’s what has the most nutrients. GREAT for your eyes and skin and one of the cheapest forms of protein.

    And one other question you say that the PEAR shape should eat a smaller breakfast and moderate lunch and larger dinner is there some scientific backing on this what are the reasons for doing this exactly if you could break it down it would be greatly appreciated!! Why does the PEAR shape eat more at dinner when most health nutritionist have said eat light at night!?!

    Thanks for your time sincerely, love monkey

  • Karen

    Hi Traci…I think I must be a cross between apple and babyface type because when I gain weight say even 10/15 lbs its in my middle section and upper arms first but I also get a chubby double chin face too…Any suggestions…I lost 60 lbs but still have chubby belly and upper arms with double chin…Last time I weighed myself I was at 128lbs, 5’3″ height…Love the information you are putting on your website…

  • Nikki

    I am definitley a baby face. You said above to eliminate coffee and black tea…is this for the caffeine or for something else. Is decaf ok? As well should I avoid even low fat dairy? Skim milk and Yogurt? I eat a lot of both currently. If dairy is eliminated – what is the best way to get needed calcium?

    • tracidmitchell

      Hi Ashleigh,

      Sorry for the delay responding to you! Yes, I would consider that overweight, however, because she’s a 12-year-old, it’s best to seek a doctor’s advice to make sure something else isn’t going on. I would love to give you suggestions, but start there first. All the best, Traci

  • Taylor

    Hi Traci! I am getting so down on myself because I lead a pretty healthy lifestyle but I seem to gain weight no matter what I do! I drink nothing but water and tea (except at happy hour, which is rare), I have a pretty good diet and even keep a food journal, and I excercise on a regular basis. I can’t decide if I’m an apple or pear becuase I bottom heavy, but I tend to gain weight evenly throughout my body. Please help, I don’t know what to do!

  • Nelly

    Hi Traci!
    I am a little confused about which body type I have and I was wondering if you could help me out. I was thinking that I have a babyface shape because I do gain weight in my face, but my arms are very skinny and I never gain weight there. I have a large stomach but my legs are not skinny, so I ruled out an apple shape. What do you think?

    • tracidmitchell

      Hi Janelle,

      If you have a tendency to gain weight in your midsection (even if you put a little on in your face) you’re likely an apple, or would respond well to an apple-like diet. Your legs don’t necessarily have to be sticks. Does that make sense? I hope that helps! Traci

    • tracidmitchell

      Hi Janelle,
      If you have a tendency to gain weight in your midsection (even if you put a little on in your face) you’re likely an apple, or would respond well to an apple-like diet. Your legs don’t necessarily have to be sticks. Does that make sense? I hope that helps! Traci

  • Anthea

    Hi Traci,
    Thanks for the interesting article. I’m an apple (no matter how many crunches/ab workouts I seem to do!) who is a caffeine and fruit addict (probably 5 coffees, 10 cups of tea and 4 pieces fruit per day). should I be trying to limit these things? and what about regular carbs? (ie oatmeal for breakfast, wholemeal toast x4 slices and rice every day). are there any other carbs i could substitute them for? i love breads and cereals.


    • tracidmitchell

      Hi Anthea,

      Yes, I would try avoiding both caffeine and high sugar (GI) fruits. For instance, eat a green apple instead of a red. Try to ease off the caffeine. It looks like you’re eating a lot of starchy carbs, too. Try limiting those to one meal a day. My preference of starchy carbs will always go to oatmeal and rice over toast/breads/pastas. In any case, limit your carbs, or split them up in smaller amounts throughout the day. If you’re getting that much starchy carb, and that much fruit (also a carb), try to focus on quality of protein and type of fat as well. It will make a big difference. I hope that helps a little. Traci

  • tracidmitchell

    I’m sorry for the delay getting back to you. Spicy foods – the reason they’re supposed to be toned down is because they stimulate the hormones (from ovaries, in theory) that are responsible for fat storage in that part of the body. You’re in a unique position as it sounds like you’re encouraged to gain visceral fat (through the midsection) which could throw your hormones off more. I would stay away from high fat dairy, increase my lean protein significantly, and incorporate a decent amount of healthy fat (coconut oil, olive oil, avocado, walnuts, etc). Does that make sense? I hope this helps. One thing I always tell clients is to “get out of their head” when it comes to this. Wish I could be more help. All the best! Traci

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