Boost Metabolism and Lose Weight According to Your Hormones and Body Type
What is your Body Type?
There are four body types, but three are of focus in this article: Apple, Banana, and Pear (Hourglass is the fourth; larger upper body and hips than stomach by about 9 inches or more). Each of these three body types have different names they are frequently also called, which will be found in parenthesis. A description of each type is provided to help you figure out with category fits you best.
- Apple (V or triangle downward shaped) - Women with an apple shape tend to have wide shoulders with smaller hips, rear, and legs. Their mid-section including their face, chest, upper back, and stomach appear larger and is the first place an apple body shape will gain weight. this mid-section is also the last place they will tend to lose weight.
- Pear (A, bell, or triangle shaped) - The pear shape woman gains weight in her hips, rear, and thighs. Their stomach gains weight along with these areas, but at a slightly slower rate. they have a smaller chest area. Weight is gained first and lost last in these areas.
- Banana (I, straight, rectangular, or box shaped) - The banana shape is a combination of the apple and the pear. these women have fatty areas in the face, abdomen, chest, rear, and thighs. these areas are the first place they gain weight and the last place they lose. Their waist measurement is less than 9 inches of their hip and chest measurement.
What body type are you?
Health Risks Associate with Apple, Pear, and Banana Body Types
There are health risks associated with your body type, but this list is not all inclusive as there are many unknowns and co-morbidities not yet thoroughly researched.
- Apple: Gaining weight in the middle section of he body can be dangerous. Weight gain in this area suffocates organs and increases stress on the body, which furthers weight gain. Additionally, weight gain in the mid-section elevates the risk of developing a fatty liver, fatty organs, inflammation, diabetes, and breast cancer. According to the MayoClinic, belly fat also is linked to cardiovascular disease and colorectal cancer, as well as premature death.
- Pear: Gaining weight in the lower section of the body (hips, rear, and thighs) for women is highly evolutionary in nature for women, as they tend to store fat in these areas for menstrual cycles and to support pregnancy. However, those that gain weight in the lower region are at higher risk of developing osteoporosis, cellulite, and varicose veins.
- Banana: The banana shape (weight gain in both the middle of the body and the lower part of the body) carries the highest health risk. This type of body shape not only shares the same potential health problems as the apple and pear body types, but also is related to depression, memory loss, and heart problems. The organ functions in the body are slowed. There is a potential for high cholesterol. Also, these individuals often struggle with dry hair and skin.
Besides Genetics, What May Cause My Body Shape?
Genetics plays a large role in the shape of your body, but there are other issues that contribute as well:
- Apple: Typically, individuals with an apple shape have a high amount of cortisol, which will be explained along with the other causes of particular weight gain in the next section. Additionally, for women 40 and above, especially post-menopausal women, may be gaining weight in the middle because of lower estrogen levels.
- Pear: If you have a pear shaped body, your estrogen levels may be too high (see next section for explanation).
- Banana: People with a banana shape tend to be deficient in the thyroid hormone (see next section).
Explanation of the Hormones that Effect Your Body Shape
- Cortisol: Cortisol is a hormone that is commonly referred to as the "stress hormone." When you become stressed, cortisol is produced by the adrenal gland. It's evolutionary purpose is to produce glucose during high stress situations so that the brain has plenty of glucose to function properly. When an individual is frequently stressed, a surplus of glucose in the body causes weight gain in the stomach area.
- Estrogen: Lower amounts of produced estrogen have been linked to eating more and decreased physical activity. Additionally, it may cause the metabolism to slow. Higher amounts of estrogen were found to increase fat storage. This typically occurs in the stomach, rear, and thighs.
- Thyroid: The thyroid hormones are known to regulate the metabolism. When there is a decrease in the thyroid hormone, the metabolism slows. When the metabolism decreases, it is harder to lose weight and easy to gain weight.
How do I Lose Weight in My Problem Areas?
There is no miracle cure and you are not going to become you "ideal you" overnight (although any "you" should always be loved!). BUT there are some strategies specific to each hormone/shape to be considered that can assist each of these hormones to work properly. These strategies will be revealed following this advice: First, make sure your doctor says it is safe to take on an exercise routine. Second, Exercise at least 3-5 days a week for 30-60 minutes and eat better. Exercise can include walking, running, other forms of cardio, and/or weight training. Cardio burns fat, but weight training burns fat/calories quicker, as muscle mass is built from weight training and muscle burns fat quicker. Don't just do it for a few days, a few weeks, or a few months. Make it a lifestyle. If you do it just for those "few" periods of time, you may lose weight, but as soon as you stop and go back to how you are now (assuming it is different), you will begin your journey back to where you started...where you were unhappy with yourself. Why go back?
Now let's talk about those foods that will improve your shape-specific hormones.
- Apple (Cortisol excess): To control cortisol, an individual needs to consume foods that will not cause the blood sugar to spike (low glycemic foods) and lower carbohydrates, which cause your body to stress internally. These foods include lentils, spices, peppers, eggplant, whole grains, (moderate) proteins, vegetables (especially leafy green ones), and healthy snacks. Do not skip meals or healthy snacks, as it will decrease your metabolism. Foods that help to raise estrogen levels post-menopause are sesame seeds, apples, peas, flaxseed, olives, olive oil, potatoes, fennel, plums, carrots, celery, beans, tomatoes, yams, papaya, oats, dates, wheat, pomegranates, chickpeas, rice, alfalfa, cucumber, cherries, baker's yeast, and beets.
- Pear (Estrogen): For the pear, high fiber foods are essential, as it evens out your estrogen levels an reduces them when the levels are high. Soybean, edamame, figs, and whole wheat pasta are perfect for maintaining appropriate estrogen levels.
- Banana; As Banana is a combination of the apple and pear body shape and problems; thus, both cortisol excess and estrogen, foods that will improve your shape-specific hormones include both those from the apple and pear shapes. So you have it a little harder, but also easier because you have a wider range of foods that will help improve your weight and shape.
Other Foods to Consider for Improved Metabolism and Weight Loss
The following foods have immediate effects:
- Sardines: contains B12 and CoQ10, which support energy production
- Grapefruit: simulates digestive system and accelerates the body's ability to burn fat.
- Harissa: a spice made from hot chilis, garlic, cumin, and coriander (mix with olive oil for spread or dip)
- Jalapenos: heats up the body and makes your cells work harder
*Spicy foods are metabolism helpers!