Have you tried every diet, yet it’s still impossible for you to shed that pooch around your midsection or lose the extra padding on your butt? Dr. Mark Liponis, author of The Hunter/Farmer Diet Solution, has spent decades figuring out how the right diet and exercises tailored for certain body types – namely a big belly or a big butt – can double your body’s ability to lose weight.
Dr. Liponis’ theory is backed by recent cutting-edge research revealed in Stanford University’s A to Z Weight Loss Study. It shows how people who put weight on around their bellies and those who carry their weight on their bottoms differ genetically in how their bodies respond to insulin and certain hormones, as well as how they metabolize carbs and fats.
According to Dr. Liponis, understanding your body type is not as simple as just looking in the mirror. You need to ask yourself two key questions:
1. What did you weigh at birth?
If you weighed less than 7 pounds at birth, you fall into the “hunter” body type. Hunters are more apt to put on belly fat later in life. Hunters keep most of their body fat in their belly and chest while their legs and butt stay thin. This type of body fat distribution is referred to as the android type (apple shape). Fat in the abdomen is associated with a higher risk of serious health problems including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol problems and cancer.
If you weighed 7-10 pounds at birth, you’re body fits into the “farmer” type, which means you’ll be more prone to gain weight in your butt as you age. Farmers have big butts, hips and thighs and a narrow waist. This kind of body fat distribution is known as the gynecoid type (pear shape). While farmers are less prone to serious health issues, they are more likely to experience mechanical issues, such as varicose veins and joint disorders.
2. How do you float?
Where your fat is distributed in your body determines how you float in water. If you have a big belly, the fat in that area is going to cause you to float like a jellyfish with your belly rising up high, and your legs dangling down like tentacles.
If you have fat in your butt and legs, you tend to float like a board with your legs out straight and your feet sticking upward.
Why People Store Their Fat Above or Below The Waist
Stress hormones are the primary cause of belly fat stored above the waist. Referred to as omentum or visceral fat, it pumps out chemicals that not only crush your internal organs but also keep you fat. The hormone estrogen can be blamed for creating a big butt, thighs and hips since it directs fat to be deposited in these areas. Both of these body types require different strategies to lose weight. Here’s how you can melt belly fat and bust butt fat once and for all.
Melt Belly Fat: The Right Diet
High Protein Diet
Big belly types need to eat like their hunter/gatherer ancestry who lived by hunting game, catching fish, picking berries and so forth. These folks couldn’t hunt a loaf of bread nor a bowl of pasta and neither should you. Hunter types need a low-glycemic diet that fuels their metabolism with protein instead of starch. Feast on protein such as a chicken burger for lunch or turkey meatloaf for dinner. Have a side of mashed cauliflower instead of starchy potatoes to lose weight and whittle your middle.
Studies show that people with big bellies who eat breakfast end up consuming more calories throughout the day. In fact, the typical hunter is often not hungry for breakfast and needs more time to build an appetite. They are more likely to feast than graze. To lose your big belly, skip breakfast and eat lunch and dinner only.
Hunters are not alone in that they crave desserts because carbs and sweets make us feel better by raising levels of serotonin, the feel-good hormone. Dr. Liponis recommends eating a little ice cream for dessert since it provides a serotonin boost yet has less sugar and more protein than other options, such as cookies. Look for double-churned ice cream since it usually has less sugar than frozen yogurt and even sherbet.
Drink Pomegranate Juice
Wash down your meals with unsweetened pomegranate juice. This fat-burning beverage is packed with vital antioxidants to counteract the inflammation that leads to belly fat.
Bust Butt Fat: The Right Diet
High Carb Diet
To bust butt fat, you need to eat like a farmer, which means consuming mainly grains and crops. Farmer types need to eat 5 times a day (small meals and snacks) to guard against drops in blood sugar. If you fit this body type, Dr. Liponis advises loading up on healthy carbs such as a whole-wheat pancake for breakfast, flatbread pizza at lunchtime, or pasta for dinner. Include two snacks such as blue corn chips or whole-grain pretzels.
If farmers eat fat, it goes straight to their butt, thighs and hips. Therefore, avoid whole-milk products such as full-fat cheese, milk, yogurt, butter or ice cream.
Drink Soy Milk
To help cut down on fat, drink soy milk which contains the perfect mix of carbs and protein to help maintain blood sugar levels. Soy milk has been shown to help balance hormones and reduce the risk of cancer, including certain types of breast cancer.
Eat a Late-night Snack
Dr. Liponis recommends a late-night snack to help prevent blood sugar from dropping throughout the night. Enjoy a slow-release calorie food such as 2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter on whole grain toast. It’ll also help you sleep better. Popcorn serves as another great snacking choice for this body type.
Secret Weapons for Your Body Type
Losing weight for your body type isn’t just about what you eat. Here are Dr. Liponis’ additional secret weapons to help make the pounds disappear and reshape your body.
Belly Fat Supplement: Chromium
Chromium is an essential trace element that plays an important role in insulin’s regulation of blood glucose. Because people with belly fat are insulin resistant, they can benefit from this supplement because it helps reduce blood sugar levels. If you have the hunter body type, take 200mcg of chromium daily. Available at drugstores for about $9 a bottle.
Bust Butt Fat Supplement: DIM (Diindolymethane)
A natural compound produced during the digestion of cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, DIM helps balance out estrogen and may help reduce the risk of certain cancers, such as breast and prostate cancer. Research shows that estrogen contributes to fat below the waist; DIM helps block fat from accumulating in this area. Take 150mg of DIM in the morning. Available at drugstores for $10.
Exercises to Melt Belly Fat
Walk at Night
People with belly fat are more likely to store sugar as fat. Since these hunters usually eat their biggest meal of the day at night, they need to get moving by taking a walk after dinner to lower blood sugar levels.
Do the Belly Fat Roll
Belly fat puts more pressure on the spine and can cause back pain. Stretching is important to help loosen the lower back. Try the belly roll:
Lie flat with your arms up. Flatten out the small of your back and hold for 10-15 seconds. Put your hands up towards the sky. Now bring the knees up towards the belly and squeeze in the lower back. Hold for 10-15 seconds and repeat.
Exercises to Bust Butt Fat
Walk in the Morning
People who carry weight below the belt have a slower metabolism. A 10-minute walk around the block is all you need to get your heart pumping right away.
Do the Power Pretzel
Extra weight from butt fat can make waking painful since it puts pressure on the hips and throws off your stride. Try the power pretzel:
Sitting on the floor, bend one leg over the other. Twist your upper body, reaching around with the opposite arm and pushing on your knee. Try to look behind you. Hold for 10 seconds, then switch sides.
Unbleached Coffee Filters
People with big bellies often have high cholesterol. When making coffee, use unbleached paper coffee filters to flush out a dangerous compound called cafestol which has been linked to high cholesterol. Even if your coffee filter comes with a mesh filter, use an unbleached paper one as well.
People who carry weight in their lower body can have problems with water retention and are prone to varicose veins. Compression socks help to get rid of extra fluid and improve circulation, which is essential to weight loss. Wear them 2-5 times a week. Available at sporting goods stores for about $8 a pair.