3.02.2010

Apple vs. Pear Shaped?

Apples are Good for you.... but when you start looking like one it may not be such a good thing.  

When fat accumulates in the abdomen and waist area it doesn’t just build up under the skin, it builds up inside the entire upper torso and accumulates around the heart, liver, kidneys, and intestine and can even begin to grow inside these organs restricting blood flow and interfering with function. This study is just one of many that has shown that apple-shaped individuals have an increased risk of cardiovascular and other diseases compared to pear-shaped individuals.
 
So are you APPLE or PEAR shaped? 
 
Image taken from here. 
If your waist is bigger around than your hips then you have an apple shape, if your hips are bigger around than your waist, then you have a pear shape.  It isn't always very obvious... so here are some steps to see exactly what you are looking like these days.  
  1. Using a measuring tape, measure your waist at the level of your navel and at your hips at their widest point.  Make sure you place the tape measure directly on your skin, do not measure over your clothes.  Make the tape snug on your skin, but don't pinch the skin together.
    * if you don't have a measuring tape, use a string or ribbon, mark where the top of the string meets around your midsection, and then measure the string with a ruler or yard stick.
  1. To insure accuracy, measure your waist and your hips a few times and take the average. 
  1. To determine your waist-to-hip ratio, divide the average waist measurement by the average hip measurement. (average waist measurement ÷ average hip measurement = (?)

    RESULTS:  
*FOR GUYS: If the ratio is less than 1, a hip and leg fat storage pattern (pear shape) is indicated.  If the ratio is 1 or greater, an abdominal storage pattern (apple shape) is indicated. 
*FOR GALS: If the ratio is 0.8 or less, a hip and leg pattern (pear shape) is indicated.  If the ratio is greater than 0.8, an abdominal storage pattern (apple shape) is indicated.  
  
Apple shaped Dangers:
Has large amounts of deep fat stored in the waist/abdomen called visceral fat.  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 you more vulnerable for heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
 This is the most dangerous fat. An easy way to look at it is that it is fat stored INSIDE the belly, between & around organs. (see below picture)
Simply put this is not GOOD.
 
There are differences in men & women:
  Us women are a bit more lucky because we are more prone to have pear-shapes thanks to Estrogen! Men are more likely to store fat in the bellies....  We aren't cleared completely though... a woman's body generally shifts during menopause to cause more fat storage in the belly area.  So all of us, both man and woman need to be concerned about our fat placement. 
 

So what can you do to start getting rid of that mid-section? 
-Many individuals will tell you that crunches are the answer. Ya they might strengthen the abdominal muscles, but they aren't going to make the fat disappear. Instead you have to have total body weight loss from both a combination of aerobic exercise and a healthy balanced diet.

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