When it comes to body shape, one size does not fit all. Most people fall into one of four categories for body shape -- pear, apple, ruler or hourglass. Each shape stores fat in different places, so knowing your particular type can help you to determine the most flattering clothing and the best eating and exercise plan.
Look in the mirror to determine if you are pear shaped. If you tend to store fat in your hips, butt and legs rather than your upper body, you most likely have a pear-shaped figure. Be prepared to have trouble burning fat, since your upper body, which tends to be smaller than your lower body, usually gets smaller rather than the parts that need it most. Keep your fat intake low, since your body stores it so easily.
Determine if you are larger around the middle, yet still have slim, svelte legs; this is an apple body type. Observe how you tend to store fat in your stomach area. Typically, an apple body type means the fat around your stomach can put you at greater risk for heart disease and diabetes. Focus on eating more healthy mono and polyunsaturated fats and less starchy carbohydrates.
Measure your hips, waist and shoulders; if the circumference is pretty much the same for all three areas, then you have a ruler, or rectangle, body type. Rulers are also at a greater risk of heart disease since when they do gain weight, it tends to be in the stomach area. Participate in a regular weight-training program to help build definition and shape. Choose a diet with healthy fats and lean proteins.
Notice if your waist is smaller than your bust and hips; this is the hourglass body type. Know that fat tends to drift toward your butt and chest and you are prone to gaining weight all over. Do full body workouts to help keep curves in the right place while also adding tone and definition to your arms and legs. Keep fats to a minimum for curves, similar to pears. Eat healthful whole grain carbs and lean proteins.
Based on the west coast, Beth Rifkin specializes in business, food, cooking, family, lifestyle and health issues. Her work has appeared in numerous on and offline publications. Beth earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Temple University.