Since bodies come in all shapes and sizes, we here at Nutrisystem understand that there is not exactly a one-size-fits-all approach to healthy living. One of the things that often comes into play during the weight loss journey is one’s body shape. Where you tend to gain weight—and where it’s most difficult to lose—are definitely related to your body shape and cannot be ignored. Of the recognized shapes, most people seem to fall into the “apple body” or the “pear body” category.
Let’s take a look at the apple body shape and what it means for your weight loss journey.
What Does Apple-Shaped Mean?
Those who fall into the “apple shape” category have shoulders that are broader than their hips. This body type is also typically associated with being “top heavy” (bigger on top and smaller on bottom). Oftentimes apple-bodied people have thin limbs, larger waists and tend to carry weight around their abdomens. When apple bodies gain weight, it’s usually around their midsection.
The apple shape is more likely to develop—or worsen—as one ages. Men who are apple shaped are commonly described as looking as though they have a “beer belly.”
The Body You’re Born With
Of course, our body shape is impacted by more than just our lifestyle. Body shape has also been shown to be strongly affected by genetics. In a study, published in Nature Genetics, researchers found that the shape of a person’s body—more specifically, how they carry weight around their abdomen—is determined by one’s genes. In fact, researchers found 24 genetic variations which helped separate apple-shaped people from pear-shaped people, says Medical Xpress.
Still, researchers also conceded that lifestyle habits can have an important impact and that genes are not our final destiny. That means that healthy habits, like a well-rounded diet and regular exercise, can help prevent fat accumulation regardless of body type.
Exercising Your Apple Shape
Overall, we believe in a well-rounded exercise program that hits all areas of the body—no matter what body shape you have. However, those with apple shape might be interested in exercises that address their trouble zones.
For apple shapes, that’s usually the belly and the waistline, so core-focused exercises combined with plenty of cardio may help. Of course, even though your arms and legs might not be “trouble spots,” we still think strength training and full body work-outs have value. Keeping muscles strong as we age is so important for all of us. Always speak to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.
Dressing for Your Apple Body Shape
Even with weight loss, to some degree, you will always maintain an overall appearance in line with your body shape. In other words, you can lose fat, become leaner and most importantly, get healthy—but you can’t completely alter the body shape you were born with.
For that reason, knowing and understanding how to dress for your body type can be valuable information that helps you feel your best.
Since the legs are often one of the best assets of apple-shaped bodies, show them off! Choose clothes that play up those thin limbs. And if you’re someone who usually gains weight around the middle, opt for clothing that does not fit overly tight in that area. Clothing that is ruched or loose-fitting around the belly might make you most comfortable.
Eating for Your Apple Body Shape
The biggest health concern with the apple-shaped body type is the fact that the risk of diabetes and heart disease can accompany that extra visceral fat that may be accumulating around your midsection. For that reason, the ideal apple-body shape diet is focused on reducing refined carbs and unhealthy fats which can contribute to this type of weight gain.
Protein is the foundation of your diet. Be smart about the types of carbohydrates you choose, focusing on vegetables and good-quality, complex carbs that are high in fiber. Limit added sugars and simple carbs. Check out the lists below for grocery additions that may work best for you:
Smart choices for women:
Lean proteins, such as chicken breast, turkey breast and tuna should be the cornerstone of your meal plan.
Get your carbohydrates from legumes, such as lentils or chickpeas and whole grains like quinoa.
If you’d like to indulge in fruit, choose lower sugar options like raspberries.
Fulfill your veggie servings with spinach, zucchini, cauliflower and artichokes.
Smart choices for men:
Choose salmon, crab and lean beef as the protein portion of your meals. When you want to go meatless, edamame is another great protein choice for you.
White beans and quinoa are high in fiber, making them perfect carbs for your plan.
When you want to enjoy fruit, blueberries and apples (with the skin on) are the way to go.
Load up on fiber with vegetables like mushrooms, tomatoes, artichoke hearts and spinach.
Of course, getting rid of fast food and other unhealthy treats is going to help anyone, regardless of body type. It’s a healthy lifestyle change that can not only help you to lose weight but also live longer.
And at the end of the day, that’s really what we care about most—helping people make lifestyle changes that will improve their quality and longevity of life. No matter what body type you were born with, we believe that’s what you deserve.