Maintaining our ideal weight not only keeps us looking our best, but it is critical to excellent health. Whether you are motivated to fit into some smaller jeans, or you want to go from a one piece swimsuit to a two piece, being motivated to lose weight is the first step in having success. Weight loss is a hot topic across all generations and due to the rise in health issues related to weight, the medical community is having the conversation as well.
A big question that not every health professional and enthusiast addresses is “what is the ideal weight for each person?” Medical charts lump people into one system for ideal weight based on height, gender and age. But those categories do not sufficiently grasp the individuality contained within our our genes and our cells. Some people have really small bones and others have very large bones. Though they are the same height, two people’s ideal weight can be significantly different. When we use the term “excess weight” in this piece, keep in mind we are referring to weight that is influencing your health in a negative way and therefore can benefit from being reduced.
Not all bodies are built the same
What is the one thing that is keeping you from losing those stubborn pounds? It has to do with how your body is built. For example, Oprah Winfrey and Calista Flockhart will never have the same sized body. It would be completely impossible for one to look like the other in size and shape. Biologically slim people have a body style that makes being slim easier though it is not essential for everyone to maintain a slim figure. For some bodies it is actually very natural and very healthy to carry more weight.
For those of us who are not naturally slim, many weight loss solutions have been presented to us, and attempted by us, over the years. The Raw Food Diet, The South Beach Diet, Paleo, Weight Watchers, Vegetarian, Vegan and Atkins have and continue to be popular weight loss trends. Yet excess weight is on the rise and remains an epidemic with 68% of Americans overweight. Why are these diets not working?
Because, the 1 thing that is keeping you from shedding those stubborn pounds is trying lots of “solutions” that aren’t specifically right for you.
What’s best for the way your body is built?
Before you begin a new eating plan, make sure that those stubborn pounds aren’t just stubborn because they are meant to be there. Be realistic about the weight that is right for your body. If you have medium to thick bones, then skinny is not healthy. What you might think of as fat could be healthy and actually not “excess” for your unique body. Maybe toning your body is more valuable than losing pounds.
Next, choose the right eating plan for your body type. That’s right, Oprah and Calista should not eat the same diet. Let’s look at five popular diets and see who will benefit the most from each one. Notice the three general body types (aka biotypes) depicted here and think about where your body (and therefore your dietary needs) might fall among them.
1. The Raw Food Diet: The Raw Food diet asks people to eat all food in its raw form. It recommends soaking all nuts and seeds to break down the phytates to make them easier to digest. Meat is not recommended in this mostly raw plant-based diet. Who is it good for? It is definitely not the best option for every body type. For people with small bones, what we refer to as the ectomorph body type, raw food is more difficult to digest, and cooked food actually provides more nutrients. People with large bones, called endomorphs, will benefit the most from a raw food diet. They break down raw food the best and need the least animal protein out of the three biotypes.
2. The South Beach Diet: The South Beach diet focuses on maintaining steady insulin levels through avoiding simple carbohydrates and eating quality fats. There are aspects of this diet that are beneficial for most people in that all biotypes benefit from consuming healthy fats. However, not all biotypes benefit from grains. The mesomorphs (medium boned) and the endomorphs (large boned) feel better when they limit their grains. The ectomorph might benefit the most from this diet, although they are the least likely to need to lose weight altogether.
3. Paleo: The Paleo dietary plan is focused on only eating food that one could hunt or gather naturally from the earth without farming. The diet is high in animal protein and vegetables and lower in fruit. This is a great diet for the mesomorph, especially if they focus on eating white meat protein. They have strong digestion when healthy and can break down animal proteins well. Endomorphs will be well on the Paleo Diet as long as they eat more vegetables than meats. Ectomorphs generally do well with some grains and dairy in their diet, so Paleo tends not to be the best option for them.
4. Weight Watchers: The Weight Watchers system focuses on losing weight through diet, exercise, and a support network. One might think that Weight Watchers is therefore best for everyone, and there are certainly components in the program that suit everyone. However, endomorphs will enjoy Weight Watchers the most because doing things together with others is helpful to them and they love having support for seemingly difficult undertakings. Mesomorphs and Ectomorphs are more independent and may use the system if it helps them stay organized, but they don’t want or need as much support as they do the information about healthy eating.
5. Vegan: The Vegan diet is all about eating plants instead of animals. Someone who is vegan doesn’t eat any animal products at all. They are allowed processed foods as long as they are animal free. This diet is usually not ideal for any type since all body types benefit from amino acids found in animal protein and from vitamin B12 which is only found in animal products. Nevertheless, the biotype that is best able to handle this diet is the endomorph. Endomorphs don’t need as much animal protein as others and they do well with plant-based proteins. Vitamin B12 is only found in animals, so eating vegan is not recommended.
As you can see, different body styles have different digestive systems and so they break down nutrients differently. It’s not that these diets don’t work. It’s just that some work for some people. Some work for other people.
Hopefully you’ve gathered through reading this article that the 1 thing that’s keeping you from shedding those pounds is just that you may not be doing what’s right for you to achieve your ideal health and weight. The 1 thing that can get you to shed those stubborn pounds and achieve your optimal health is to find out what’s right for you.
To help you navigate your weight and your health, there is a new online health program called Personal Health 360 (ph360) that incorporates the ancient and modern sciences of Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine, Geomedicine, Epigenetics, and Phenotypology, including vast knowledge of biotypes described here, to let each person know what is best for them. It customizes a diet, exercise and lifestyle program specific to your needs so that you can achieve your ideal weight by following a food prescription specific to your body. You can see testimonials and some amazing results here: ph360.me/results
Once you find out the diet that is right for your body, watch your body respond so much better to what you’re doing. And though the focus of this article is on nutrition, which is fundamental to optimal health and weight, it is not the only factor of influence on your weight. There are many more, and exercise is a main one. To find out how knowing the right type, amount, and intensity of exercise for you can make all the difference in your health and weight, check out the article “Getting Personal: Working Out the Way Your DNA Intended”