Body Types - Which one are you?

Body Types - Which one are you?
For most of us girls we love to read about weight and how to lose it. And often that's all we do - just read about it, and not do anything about it. So here's an easy and familiar task- reading.

I'm hoping this article will educate you about why for some people, it is so difficult to lose weight (when we actually try to, rather than just fantasizing over it). What I'm going to discuss is Somatotypes, otherwise known as body types. This is basically the body frame you were born with. Some people were born with a "small petite frame," others were born with a heavy "big boned frame," and so on. Much of this depends on genetics, although diet, and exercise can change this to some degree.

There are three basic body types:

· Ectomorphs
· Endomorphs
· Mesomorphs

Ectomorphs: For the years of the 1990's, I guess you could say if you were an ectomorph, you were "trendy." Ectomorphs are those skinny girls and guys who appear to eat as much as they like and still stay "rake thin." Ectomorphs are those whom appear lean, long and lanky, and have a small bone structure with narrow hips and a small waist. Their legs tend to be longer than their bodies. These are the women you will often find strutting the catwalk. Yes this is the model type body. A lot of you may be green with envy at these women, however some of these women actually find it difficult to put on weight. Therefore being an ectomorph for some can be a health issue, as they are too skinny. And they do exist (I've actually met one!). I must add, the true ectomorph is not suffering from anorexia nervosa.

Mesomorphs: They tend to be athletic looking with broad shoulders, narrow waists, and broad hips. Mesomorphs appear to be more muscular and the distribution of their weight may be more evenly presented. They sound perfect, don't they? However, they do tend to gather weight around their hips and thighs. Many women get upset about carrying weight on these areas, but what they don't know is that it is much healthier to carry fat on the hips and thighs, unlike the endomorph; who is more likely to carry fat around their abdomen. Fat around the hips and thighs are located on the outer layers of the body, unlike abdominal (stomach) fat; which lies much deeper in the body's tissue.

Endomorphs: Unfortunately if you are in this category, you are going to have a much more difficult time in maintaining a healthy weight. Endomorphs are predisposed to gaining weight, and tend to be on the overweight side. They are typically more heavily boned, and carry more fat than muscle. Generally their legs are shorter than their bodies. Fat stores will accumulate around their stomachs, and their breasts may be larger than "the norm". As mentioned before, fat around the abdomen is much deeper than fat on the hips or thighs, this directly affects the amount of fat stored around the body's organs such as the heart, which can increase the incidence of heart disease and high blood pressure. That's not all, there's more bad news. Unfortunately if you lean toward this body type, you are going to find it harder to lose weight than the ectomorph and even the mesomorph. Being an endomorph does not mean it's the end of the world, maintaining a healthy weight is what you need to aim for, this helps to reduce the amount of fat around your heart and other important organs.

So what does this all mean?

For most of us we have two body types, e.g. mesomorph and endomorph (which is possibly the most common). But for some, their bodies are distinctly one type, although these people are not the majority. Pure ectomorphs, mesomorphs, and endomorphs are the minority in body types. Most people may lean towards one of these body types but are still a mixture of two. Identifying the kind of body type(s) you are, can help you understand why even with diet and exercise you cannot change what you were born with - just as you can't grow any taller once you are an adult. What the emphasis should be place on is not what shape you are but are you physically healthy?

So how does this help with weight problems anyway?

It doesn't. But it should help you understand that weight issues are not about the perfect body, but health and fitness. Unfortunately the 1990's set an unhealthy standard for body types - the ectomorph. Some women who appear to be an ectomorph have only achieved this through starvation and over-exercise. This is not healthy!!! You must remember, only a small percentage of the population are pure ectomorphs.

Things are changing slowly. Mesomorphs are becoming more popular, but again pure mesomorphs are only a small percentage of the population. A positive outcome of this new millennium is that modelling agencies are using larger women, those leaning towards the endomorphs, promoting the larger, more "normal" women (say a size 12-14). This is what the clothing industry and the media need to focus on - what is normal and realistic.

We need to promote the fact that we are all different shapes and sizes, and focus on "healthy," not "skinny" (remember skinny does not mean healthy either). You can be an endomorph and be gorgeous and healthy, and this requires healthy eating and exercise. Basically, although we are born with a specific body type, we must remember we are all different and beautiful, there are no right and wrongs in body shape. The important thing is that your body is in optimal condition, and most of the time a healthy diet, along with regular exercise will help you get to that level.

And remember there is no such thing as the perfect figure!

- Louise Ganey