When I first started researching and writing about body types, and the hormonal distinctions between them, a lot of people were skeptical because most people simply thought that everyone should, more or less, eat the same types of food to be their healthiest. Well, I certainly didn't invent the research. Thousands of peer-reviewed studies were pointing to things like belly fat and upper body obesity for decades. I simply broke the research down for everyone to understand in a way that made sense in my book, The Belly Burn Plan. It turns out that knowing how to define your body type can help you a lot, not just in how to manage your weight, but your health, too.
If anyone has ever told you that you're unique...believe them. You are unique, and your hormones are living proof. Your body has dozens of hormones that act like little chemical messengers, circulating through your body 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
These hormones sit in balance with one another. When one hormone gets thrown off, the other hormones hear about it and start to respond in their own special way.
Some of our hormonal distinctions are genetic, including the hormones that communicate how tall we will be or whether we will have male or female features. Sometimes our hormones can be affected by our environment, including the stress in our life, the sleep we get (or don't get), and the foods we eat.
Several hormones affect how our bodies will store fat. And many of the foods we eat affect those hormones. In a big nutshell, this is part of the reason why we store fat in the parts of our body that we do.
Can You Define Your Body Type?
Based on the research, there are four key body types:
- The Apple Type
- The Pear Type
- The Hourglass Type
- The Inverted Pyramid Type
Before I jump into a definition of each of the types, know that just because you identify with one specific type doesn't mean anything is wrong with you or that you're inherently unhealthy.
But if you're someone who has an excessive amount of fat to get rid of, there's a strong probability that your body could benefit by identifying with one of these types...and then doing something about it.
Here's a quick breakdown of each type:
The Apple-Shape Body Type
This is someone who gains a majority of their unhealthy body fat through their belly area. It's a combination of subcutaneous fat (pinchable fat) and unhealthy visceral fat. This is, by far, the most common body type among men and women. Food plays a role in this type of fat storage, but so does stress and lack of sleep. Fortunately, belly fat is easier to move, but you have to do the work to shed the fat. It can be done through eating the right foods...and it's easier than you think!
The Pear-Shape Body Type
This body type is usually a woman who gains a majority of her excess body fat through her hips and thighs (and maybe a little below the belly button). Reproductive hormones, especially estrogen, are responsible for this body type.
Subcutaneous fat is the fat that gets stored here. Even though this type may have a more defined waist, which is generally considered healthier, extra fat is still a burden to carry. Diet can help significantly.
The Hourglass-Shape Body Type
This is the person who distributes their fat evenly throughout their entire body (face, arms, chest, belly, legs). And yes, a constellation of hormones plays a role in the shape of this body type.
This body type's fat is a combination of plenty of visceral and subcutaneous fat.
The Inverted Pyramid-Shape Body Type
This is the person who gains a lot of weight through their upper body, then tapers through the lower half. This body type usually has broader shoulders, and carries a lot of fat through the chest, upper arms and upper belly area.
The research for this body type usually refers to upper body obesity as a culprit, and the mechanisms for why this body type is...well, this body type...is not as clearly understood yet. That being said, if this body type is less-than-healthy, meaning overweight, then eating or avoiding specific foods can help.
What do you think your body type is?
Remember, just because you identify with a body type does NOT mean you're necessarily overweight or have some sort of a problem. Your shape is your shape. Brining your shape back to the healthiest it can be is the goal.
If you want a little more support, get my book The Belly Burn Plan today.