Diets for a Pear-Shaped Body

According to Marie Savard, M.D., author of the weight loss book “Apples & Pears: The Body Shape Solution for Weight Loss and Wellness,” body shape is the most powerful predictor of human health. Women with pear-shaped bodies gain weight on the hips and thighs, while their upper bodies remain slim. This is good news, in a way. Both men and women with apple-shaped bodies, who gain significant weight around the belly, are at greater risk for developing heart disease, diabetes and cancer, according to diet experts.

Determining Your Shape

If you are not sure whether you are apple-shaped or pear-shaped, there is a quick way to tell. Take a tape measure and place it around your waist. Record the figure. Then measure your hips. Divide the waist measurement number by the hip measurement number. If the total is 0.8 or lower, you have a pear-shaped body, meaning that you carry more fat around your hips and thighs. If you are pear-shaped, you’ll use a different strategy to lose weight than an apple-shaped person.

What Fat Deposits Mean

It’s important to note that people with pear-shaped bodies, who carry fat around their hips and thighs, store fat more shallowly than the deeper, visceral abdominal fat that accumulates around the organs of apple-shaped people. This means that the fat is doing less harm on your body and you will have fewer health risks. People with pear shapes simply have a different physical chemistry, hormone production and metabolism than apple-shaped folks, which means that they are at less risk for obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart disease and certain cancers. In fact, Dr. Savard believes that pear-zone fat is passive and actually protects against heart disease. However, pear-shaped women are prone to osteoporosis, varicose veins and cellulite and tend to have more difficulty losing weight in general.

Healthy Diet for a Pear-Shaped Body

Butter’s a no-no for pear-shaped dieters, who tend to crave salty foods.

On her website, Dr. Savard recommends that pear-shaped dieters should stick with complex carbohydrates like green vegetables and whole grains. Eat low fat; aim to get about 20 percent of your diet from healthy fats like salmon, almonds and flax seed, and use olive and canola oils. Moderate protein intake is recommended, such as chicken and lamb. Vegetarians can get their protein from brown rice, spinach, oats, lentils and black beans. The worst foods for this body type, according to Dr. Savard, are cheese, butter and salty foods. She recommends taking a calcium supplement, since osteoporosis is a risk later in life.

Body Image Issues for Pear Shapes

According to Savard, resistance training with free weights three times per week to stave off bone loss is recommended. This will also increase your metabolic rate and burn that pesky fat off over time. Approach dieting and exercise with a little less anxiety, as your excess weight is less likely to be harming you. However, post-menopausal pear-shaped women can start to experience some of the same health problems as apple-shaped women. And pear-shaped women of all ages feel self-conscious about their large buttocks and thighs, so they suffer from more eating disorders than apple-shaped women do.

How to Lose Your Belly, Butt & Thighs

It’s common to want to trim a few pounds off a specific area of the body — or two, or three. But finding a method to blast that fat off for good isn’t easy. Your body’s metabolism is stubborn, as it wants to maintain status quo and keep that layer of fat right where it is on your belly, butt or thighs. Combat the body’s tendency for stasis by making lifestyle changes and committing to a lifelong healthy eating and exercise strategy to lose the fat and keep it off.

Instructions

  1. Start and maintain a healthy eating strategy that will help you lose weight and reduce fat. Read nutrition labels and avoid foods that contain saturated fats and refined carbohydrates. Don’t eliminate fat from your diet altogether, as some fat is necessary for the body to function, but consume healthy polyunsaturated fats such as those found in nuts, seeds, olives and fish. Swap white, refined carbohydrates for hearty whole grains that will fill you up in less time. Follow serving sizes to consume sensible portions, and reduce your calorie intake, but you don’t need to do anything drastic. Consuming 100 fewer calories a day is all that’s necessary to reduce belly fat.
  2. Tone the abs. Strength training can’t reduce fat in a specific area, but can tone the muscles underneath the body fat to flatten the stomach. Lie on an exercise mat and do crunches, first with your knees bent and then with your legs straight for an additional challenge. Perform pelvic tilts and leg lifts, which also work the butt and thighs. Do crunches or sit-ups for the abs. Perform pelvic tilts and lifts for the lower abs, butt, and thighs. Firm and tone the thighs and core with squats, using a set of dumbbells.
  3. Tone the butt and thighs to help make it look sculpted and lean. Most exercises will work the butt and thighs together. With a set of dumbbells and an exercise mat, do sets of squats and lunges. Do sets of variations on leg lifts while on all fours on an exercise mat. Work one leg at a time. Do three sets on each leg of lifting it straight out at a 45-degree angle, bending at the knee and lifting out to the side, and kicking up and back with the knee bent.
  4. Incorporate cardio or aerobic exercise into your daily routine to lose weight and body fat. You won’t be able to dictate where the pounds come off, but consistency and dedication will result in losing fat in the belly, butt and thighs as well as other parts of the body. Daily, moderate exercise is the best way to lose body fat. Take brisk walks of at least 30 minutes, or do a dance routine or go for a run or jog. Anything that elevates your heart rate for at least 30 minutes, every day, will help you lose weight and burn fat.
  5. Measure your progress. Use a measuring tape to keep track of the circumference of your waistline, hips and thighs. Gradually, you should see the numbers go down as you lose fat from these areas and tone the muscles underneath.