Do you know if your body is apple-shaped or pear-shaped? In her new book "Apples & Pears: The Body Shape Solution for Weight Loss and Wellness," Dr. Marie Savard explains how body shape can forecast health destiny.
"Every woman is defined by the tape measure," Dr. Savard tells The Early Show co-anchor Hannah Storm.
A woman's body shape depends on the type of fat she carries most - and all fat is not created equal, she says. So with a tape measure you can determine what shape you are.
Just measure your waist circumference and your hip circumference, then calculate your waist to hip ratio. If you are .80 or above you are an apple. Below .80 you are a pear, Dr. Savard explains.
Apple-Shaped women who gain weight around their middle are more likely to develop disorders like heart disease, diabetes, or breast cancer. They're also more likely to have anxiety, depression, menstrual irregularities and fertility problems.
Pear-Women who add pounds around their hips, butt and thighs - are more susceptible to problems like osteoporosis, varicose veins, cellulite, and eating disorders. They're also more prone to lower self-esteem due to a poor body image and likely to have a rough transition through menopause.
The good news is that this medical crystal ball only tells what is likely to happen. In her new book, "Apples & Pears," Dr. Savard also explains what women can do to improve their health while feeling better about their bodies now.
Read an excerpt from the Introduction and Chapter One.
- Eat Fiber-Filled Foods. They slow digestion of sugars, lower insulin and cholesterol levels and lower risk of heart disease and diabetes.
- Do Aerobic Exercise. Thirty minutes daily is the easiest way to lose l fat.
- Test Blood Sugar & Blood Fats. If these tests are abnormal or even borderline, apples should be concerned and look into ways to remedy a possible problem.
- Eat low-fat foods. Pear-zone fat cells are FAT magnets and will continue to store fat the more you consume, making your problem areas even worse, which can lead to poor body image or even eating disorders
- Do resistance training. This type of exercise is great for pears to strengthen their bones
- Get bone density scan test,particularly as you approach menopause to know your risks for osteoporosis.
An apple-shaped woman has large amounts of deep fat stored in the waist/abdomen called visceral fat, which is a glandular powerhouse. This fat is inside your abdomen surrounding your organs. It contributes to inflammation and an increase in blood sugar. It produces chemicals and hormones that make a woman more vulnerable for heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
That is why Dr. Savard suggests making a goal of losing inches off your waist. She says it can do wonders. You will reduce your chances by 50 percent or more of getting these diseases just by losing two inches. She also notes, an apple can never become a pear. An overweight apple can become a healthy apple by reducing the fat around the stomach. (A banana - straight up and down shape falls into the apple category).
Pear-shaped women are biggest on their lower body where they store the majority of their fat. They tend to have a lower self esteem and are prone to get more eating disorders. Their fat is called subcutaneous fat. Subcutaneous/pear-zone fat is a passive storage department. It stores fat as energy for release only in childbearing/breastfeeding. It acts as fat magnet. Any fat we eat that we don't immediately need for energy is stored immediately "on the hips."
Pear-shaped women have heavier thighs/hips/butts putting weight on and compressing veins , leading to varicose veins - research has shown this to be true. Pear-shaped women also have less androgen (male hormone effect that strengthens bones in apples), and at menopause, their pear-fat makes much weaker estrogen, which is not strong enough to keep calcium in the bones. At menopause when women lose estrogen they lose bone. An apple fat continues to produce estrogen, keeping the bones stronger during menopause. A pear can turn into an apple over time because of weight gain, but there is hope: You can lose that weight and return to your pear shape. (Hourglass figures fall into this category).