Every woman is different, especially when it comes to where you carry your weight. Are you bottom heavy or pear-shaped? Or do you put on pounds on and above your waist, which is better known as apple-shaped. Or would you say you’re more “boxy?" No matter what you see in the mirror, there’s a solution to enhancing your metabolism based on your body type.
Your body type may have a direct effect on your metabolism. What’s the link?
According to nutrition specialist Dr. Jeffrey Morrison, the way you are shaped is controlled by your hormones. For most, when you’re young, you have the liberty to eat what you want and not gain weight. But no one’s a stranger to the fact that as you age, things change. With every decade you age, your hormones shift and your metabolism slows down.
When the body starts to collect extra fat in certain areas, Dr. Morrison asserts that this is a symptom that there is something wrong with one of your fat-burning hormones, wreaking havoc on your metabolism. Depending on which hormone is weak will determine where the fat will go – and what your body type becomes.
By connecting all the dots and identifying where your fat is stored and the shape of your body, you can determine how you can boost your metabolism.
Apple Body Type
What does an apple look like? Apples have a tendency to put on belly fat, may have round faces, have humps on their upper backs and may have thin legs. According to Dr. Morrison, traditional methods of weight loss like cutting calories and aggressive exercise routines do not work for this body type. Why? A low-calorie diet and too much exercise translate as starvation and stress to this body type, which can increase the production of cortisol, the stress hormone. Increased amounts of cortisol can slow metabolism and is known to contribute to belly fat and an increased waist size. Cortisol also floods the body with sugar. When your body does not use it for energy, it gets stored as fat. Belly fat is especially dangerous because it surrounds so many of your vital organs.
Apples may also suffer a lot of inflammation or pain, particularly in the joints, back or neck. They are also at greater risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and breast cancer.
How Apples Can Turbocharge Their Metabolism
According to Dr. Morrison, apples should eat foods low on the glycemic index. One way to do this is by cutting out carbs. Carbs spike blood sugar – so reducing or eliminating them from your diet would prevent this and keep cortisol controlled. The less cortisol, the less belly fat.
Apples can replace simple carbs with the following foods:
- Lentils, which are packed with protein and require more energy for the body to break down.
- Red pepper hummus, also rich in protein; the spices can also boost metabolism
- Eggplant makes a great carb substitute. When used in certain recipes, for example an eggplant lasagna, it gives you the same density and texture as pasta.
Pear Body Type
Pears are plagued by what many of you may know as “junk in the trunk.” Pears carry most of their weight on their lower hips, thighs and butt, and – perhaps most frustrating of all – a stubborn pooch of tummy fat. While it may take longer to accumulate this kind of fat, it’s also much harder to get rid of. Why? This kind of fat is influenced by estrogen, and estrogen makes fat. When a woman gets pregnant, estrogen spikes (which is why many women keep the weight on long after the baby is born), and when a woman has a heavy period, estrogen spikes, too, making more fat. The good news is that this kind of fat is not as dangerous as belly fat, but it may be more unsightly, as it can become that cheesy, cellulite-type fat that is every woman’s nightmare. And while an apple cannot become a pear, with excessive weight gain, a pear may wind up transforming into an apple.
Pears are at a higher risk for osteoporosis. During menopause, pears make much weaker estrogen, which is not strong enough to keep calcium in the bones. Other health issues for this type are cellulite, varicose veins and joint problems.
How Pears Can Turbocharge Their Metabolism
The secret: high-fiber foods. Fiber binds to the estrogen in your gut and carries it out of your body when you go to the bathroom. Keeping your body’s estrogen in balance in this manner can enhance your weight-loss efforts and improve your silhouette.
Try these high-fiber foods:
- Edamame, rich in phytoestrogens to regulate your estrogen levels
- Whole-wheat pasta – a great swap for regular pasta that will fill you up fast
- Figs are a fruit with one of the highest levels of fiber. If you have a sweet tooth, dried figs are a healthy way to help you get your fix.
“Box” Body Type
If you find yourself possessing the attributes of both an apple and a pear, you are likely a box body type. Unfortunately, as America’s weight problem continues to grow, this body type is also on the rise.
This body type is most concerning because of its wide range of health implications: It affects the thyroid gland, and those carrying excess weight with this body type can run a greater risk of experiencing depression, memory loss, high cholesterol and an enlarged heart.
According to Dr. Morrison, if you are a box and you are lacking enough thyroid hormones, every cell in the body gets fatter due to a slowing of your overall metabolism. Since the thyroid controls the metabolism, all the body processes are slowed, including digestion, mental clarity and even absorption of vitamins.
How Boxes Can Turbocharge Their Metabolism
The box shape is regulated by the thyroid hormone. A healthy thyroid speeds up the metabolism.
The secret for boxes to turbocharge their metabolism: Foods high in selenium and iodine. Iodine is vital for healthy thyroid hormone production, and the essential mineral selenium may help decrease inflammation that can cause an underactive thyroid. Today, many people use kosher salt or sea salt, but these salts do not contain iodine. To help maintain healthy thyroid function, reach for traditional iodized table salt when seasoning food.
You can also try the following foods:
- Seaweed: A great snack packed with both nutrients
- Shrimp: A good source of vitamin D
- Sunflower seeds: Just one-third of a cup makes for a great daily snack
Metabolism Boosters for Every Body Type
These turbocharging foods have the best quality nutrients that every metabolism can recognize. They are rich in essential fatty acids, nutrients and spices that optimize metabolic rate. Bonus: Their effects are almost immediate!
Harissa is a metabolism-boosting spice blend of hot chilies, garlic, cumin and coriander. Spices that “burn” provide an immediate metabolic boost. When foods heat the body, it is an indicator of the metabolic burn. Harissa is available at your supermarket, or you can buy all four ingredients separately and make your own blend; mix with olive oil to make its nutrients more available. All you need is one-eighth of a teaspoon per meal. Sprinkle it on everything from eggs to protein to vegetables.
Grapefruit acts as a digestive assistant that breaks down proteins so that they are ready to be used more quickly. Grapefruit can also accelerate your body’s ability to break down fat. Have one grapefruit a day, and always eat the fruit instead of just drinking the juice as the sugar in grapefruit juice can have a negative effect on your metabolism. Eat grapefruit as you would an orange, toss them over a salad or add it directly to your plate as a side dish!
Jalapenos contain capsaicin, the heat-producing substance that quickly increases metabolism. If you’re feeling brave and can tolerate spice, you can bite right into one for the most potent benefits. For those who are more sensitive, removing the seeds will reduce the heat. Pairing jalapenos with a little bit of dairy will also cut the spice. You can add them to omelets and other dishes as heating them will not affect its metabolic effects.
Fresh or canned, sardines are not only rich in protein but also the essential fatty acids that your body needs to tackle belly fat because these fatty acids work to reduce inflammation – and they are super affordable! Pair them with a whole-grain crust and put them on your pizza. Half a can is one portion size; try to incorporate sardines into 3 to 4 meals a week.
For an extra metabolism boost, consider a short intense anaerobic workout, or quick bursts of intense motions in a very short amount of time. This kind of exercise has lasting effects on your metabolism. Additionally, it helps to build muscle mass. Having extra muscle means you can eat more and gain less because muscle burns more calories than fat.
Try this 5-minute metabolism-boosting workout right at home. You’ll want to use weights to get the most out of it. As little as 2 pounds will work, and you can also use water bottles or cans.