All body types are unique and we know for sure that one size does not fit all when it comes to healthy weight loss.
But have you ever wondered why people tend to store fat in different parts of their body? It may surprise you to know that there is a relationship between different body types, hormones and, ultimately, weight.
Hormonal imbalances will distort fat storage in different locations around the body. Basically, an imbalance on the inside will show up on the outside.
Knowing your shape and how it functions in relation to your hormones is an important first step in understanding your weight loss challenges. In this instalment of our body-type series, clinical nutritionist, speaker and wellness expert, Desi Horsman explains how those with a pear shape should eat and train.
Don’t despair if you’re a pear
Pears have larger lower bodies and smaller upper bodies because they store fat on the hips, thighs, and bottom.
They have a higher level of female hormone oestrogen which makes the weight in those areas harder to budge. They generally lose weight around the middle first, which is a good thing because many diseases are linked to belly fat.
Excess oestrogen causes more fat production or storage, which gives women a ready supply of fuel during childbirth and breastfeeding – that’s why the fat there is more stubborn.
This hormone also increases the tendency for more cellulite to develop in this area too, which makes it difficult for blood supply to reach fat stores and thus the fat can’t be broken down and eliminated.
The pear diet: What to eat and avoid
- Water retention can be common in this body type, so it is important to avoid high-salt foods.
- Consume high quality meat that is pasture fed and not pumped with growth hormones. Beef and dairy naturally have high hormone levels, so they should be kept to a minimum.
- Fruits help to remove toxins from your body that slow down metabolism. However, pesticides are oestrogenic so opt for organic fruits and vegetables whenever possible, or washed them with vinegar or in an ozone machine to remove these substances.
- Green tea is very helpful for this body type.
- Chillies can light a metabolic fire.
- Avoid soy products.
- Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and kale remove excess oestrogen from the body. A focus on other high-fibre foods is also vital to reduce excess oestrogen.
What exercises work best for pears
Since their bottom half is generally heavier for those with a pear shape, cardio can help to reduce overall body fat, but toning and building muscle in the upper body needs a different exercise regimen.
Don’t get caught up in only trying to minimise your lower body fat stores. You cannot change your basic shape, but what you can do is make your body more proportional. To reduce fat in the problem area below the waist you can do any type of aerobic exercise.
The best lower body exercises to tone and firm up the hips, glutes and thighs include squats, lunges, single leg and glute kickbacks, hamstring curls and jumping jacks. For your upper body, perform push-ups, tricep kickbacks, bench-presses, crunches and side planks.
Author: Pedro van Gaalen
When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.