Eat Right for Your Body Type
Pears have larger lower bodies and smaller upper bodies -- storing fat on the hips, thighs, and butt. The biggest challenge for this body type? Losing weight. "When we drop pounds, our body burns through the fat around our middle -- the kind linked to heart disease, diabetes, and cancer -- first. Which is great, except that pears don't have a lot of belly flab to begin with. Instead, they've got fat on their lower half, which refuses to budge," Dr. Savard says.
Some researchers believe that stubborn butt and thigh fat (known as passive fat) is so hard to shed because it was meant to stay put, giving women a ready supply of fuel during childbirth and breastfeeding. Another possible explanation: Cellulite, which generally affects hips and thighs, creates a net of fibrous tissue that makes it difficult for the blood supply to reach fat stores. If blood can't get in, Dr. Savard says, the fat can't be broken down and carried out.
When it comes to their health, however, pears luck out. Passive fat may actually help reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes, some scientists say. In fact, fat stored around the hips and butt was recently found to reduce insulin resistance and increase "good" HDL cholesterol. "We still have a lot to learn about why pear-zone fat seems to have a protective effect against chronic disease," Dr. Savard says. "But the research clearly shows it does."The Pear Diet
The best way for pears to lose inches is to watch their fat intake, Cochran says. "It's really easy for your body to store the fat that you've eaten, but it takes a lot more energy to store carbs and protein," she explains. "Because of this, you're more likely to burn those calories off." A diet rich in complex carbohydrates, such as whole-grain cereals, lentils and beans; lean protein, such as chicken or fish; and fruits and veggies will help melt off excess pounds.
Another way to slim hips and thighs: exercise. "Focus on aerobic activities like running and biking that work your lower body and torch calories," Dorfman says. She suggests at least three 30-minute cardio sessions a week mixed with two strength-training workouts to build your upper body, which will balance the appearance of a bottom-heavy figure. (Plus, the more muscle mass you have, the higher your metabolism is.)
1,500 calories: 750 calories from carbohydrates, 375 calories from fat, 375 calories from protein
1 packet instant oatmeal
1 medium banana
1/2 cup orange juice
6 wheat crackers
1 mozzarella cheese stick
Sandwich: 2 slices whole wheat bread with 1 teaspoon light mayonnaise, 2 ounces lean deli roast beef, 1 slice reduced-fat cheese, lettuce and tomato
5 baby carrots
10 celery sticks
1/2 cup grapes
1 cup light yogurt
1 small apple
4 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast, grilled and topped with a salsa made of 1/2 cup black beans and 1/4 cup diced tomatoes
1 cup steamed green beans
1 cup mixed green salad and 2 tablespoons shredded low-fat cheese tossed with 1 tablespoon low-fat dressing
1 whole wheat roll
1 sugar-free chocolate pudding cup
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