Whether you’re an apple, pear or tall thin and lanky- what I call “banana” shape, not every eating system fits you.
When you lose weight, do your arms and legs trim down right away while your mid-section stays fairly meaty? Well, then you’re probably an apple bodytype like me! While all body shapes are beautiful in their own way, the apple-types have a tougher time getting rid of stubborn belly fat since they tend to store more fat there compared to any other part of the body.
So here are some hard-won secrets I learned from years of testing out and tweaking my own eating habits.
Fiber, Fiber, Fiber Is Your New Mantra
While getting a daily dose of fiber is good advice for anyone, it’s especially important for apple shapes since they are at higher risk for heart disease. They also tend to have wicked hunger pangs, especially if they skip or delay meal time.
Fiber is a safe and healthy fix for both issues. Aim for 30 to 35 grams of fiber daily. Here’s how a day’s worth of fiber stacks up with foods that are great for apple types and filled with nutrients: 1 apple (3g fiber), 1 cup raspberries (8g), 2 cups broccoli (7g), 23 almonds (3g), 1 cup cooked oats (4g), 1 cup cooked artichoke heart (9g) and you can have it all for only 635 calories. You can certainly try fiber supplements, but their gritty taste is no comparison to real food and they can’t fill you up.
To Booze or Not to Booze: Drink to Your Health
Alcohol can be particularly tough on apple body shapes, consider it your “double whammy” food. Not only does it contain empty calories, it can also trigger unnecessary release of cortisol (the stress hormone) which causes your body to store fat around the mid-section because it throws your blood sugar out of whack. So if you’re an apple body and are having trouble losing weight, try ditching the booze for a week and see what happens. Alcohol also makes your blood sugar take a dive, which means it can increase hunger overall and bring on hunger attacks that apple types are already prone too. This means more snacking that pack on more calories (plus the calories from alcohol) while decreasing your ability to burn calories as efficiently. Contrary to popular belief, alcohol does not turn to sugar in your body but it certainly packs on the extra empty calories. While you’re enjoying your alcoholic beverages in moderation be sure that you’re getting plenty of the #1 drink for your health, good old plain water! Water is a crucial part of any healthy eating plan. Not only does water help keep your skin healthy and glowing, but it has so many functions in the body, including transporting water to the cells, moving toxic waste out, and is necessary for healthy kidney function. It’s also great for waste elimination that can help to flatten out belly bulges.
Ironically, apples are the perfect snack for apple body types! They are high in fiber, very filling, and are very portable. Sports bars and granola bars are a no-no — since their high-carb load can send your blood sugar soaring, then crashing later. Include a wide variety of apples to avoid boredom, my current favorite is ruby frost, a brand new varietal. Top your apple with a pinch of cinnamon or 1 tablespoon of your favorite nut butter. Zero in on high-fiber foods that you can turn into fast snacks, like mashed avocado with cilantro and a pinch of cumin, dark chocolate covered coconut, or a handful of high-fiber nuts like almonds for example. Other great snacks include celery sticks with hummus or nut butter, 1 piece of fresh citrus like orange, clementine, or grapefruit.
Cheddar Jalapeño Bites
Apple body shapes usually crave salty and spicy so cheddar mixed with hot jalapeños fits the bill! Hot chilies that are naturally low in calories, also help to burn more calories up to one hour after you eat them.
1 Ruby Frost apple, cored, diced
4 jalapeños, cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed
4 tablespoons grated cheddar
Preheat oven to 400°F. Cover a small baking sheet with cooking spray. Place the jalapeños on the baking sheet cut side up, and fill with the diced apples. Sprinkle with the grated cheese and bake 10 to 15 minutes until the cheese is melted and the peppers are soft. Serve immediately.
Lessons from Ancient Ayurveda
Ayurveda, the ancient “life science” and healing system from India has quite a bit of good sound advice for eating for different body shapes. The apple shape in Ayurveda is called the “Fire Type” or “Pitta”. Pittas have a passionate nature, sharp hunger, and tend to like spicy foods. While spicy foods can be great for weight loss, they can also aggravate stomach ailments that most pittas suffer from like GERD or IBS. Soothing, fire-quenching foods for Pittas (when they are off-balance) include sweet fruits, such as grapes, cherries, melons, avocados, coconuts, pomegranates, mangos, and sweet, fully-ripened oranges, pineapples and plums. Favor asparagus, cucumbers, green leafy vegetables, pumpkins, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, lettuce, green beans and zucchini.
Cooling dill, cilantro and fennel make great teas and can be used to sprinkle on foods for extra flavor. If you’re Pitta like me, and need to rebalance or shed a few pounds, temporarily reduce foods that aggravate your fiery nature like hot peppers, tomatoes, carrots, beets, onions, garlic, radishes and heat-building spices like cayenne, ginger, black pepper just until you feel like your old self!