Know Your Body Type

All bodies fall into three basic types. The ectomorph is the guy who is long and lanky. The mesomorph is more rectangular or pear-shaped with sturdy arms and legs. The curvy endomorph is more rounded, tending towards the plump.

These type categories are now universally accepted. We all fit into one or another of them with some over­lapping. However, as long as you believe that losing weight is going to reshape your basic structure, you are headed for nothing but frustration.

To give you a different analogy, it would never occur to you to try to become two inches taller than you are. You accept your height because you know you can’t change it, even if you’d prefer being taller or shorter. However, with your figure it’s somewhat different.

It is true that when you reduce you eventually reduce everywhere. But I came to peace with myself long ago over the fact that no matter how thin I get, I’ll always have thighs that are a little bit bigger proportionately than the rest of me. This is a fact of life it’s best to learn to live with. It’ll help you be happier about accepting yourself when you get to your goal.

If your goal is to lose one hundred pounds in two months you are not going to be able to do it. No way. But if you tell yourself that in one month you want to be. eight pounds lighter, your chances are very good that you will succeed.

If you think eight pounds is hot satisfactory for one month, you are getting impatient. And impatience is nonproductive. If you have a lot of weight to lose, de­velop the attitude that you are going to reduce in stages. No one can lose one hundred pounds all at once. But if you figure out how much weight you will lose in one year if you reduce eight pounds each month, you’ll discover that adds up to ninety-six pounds. (Pretty close, you’ll have to admit.)

If you set your goal hi that fashion you can succeed. How about a loss of as little as one pound a week? Nothing? It’s a reasonable, manageable goal to accom­plish. Losing four pounds a month is a snap. It’s so easy you’ll wonder why you struggled and agonized all these years. One pound a week? Of course you can do it!

Not fast enough, my fat friend? You want to raise your goal to eight or twelve pounds a month? Take heed. Have you been able to maintain any of the weight lost on crash programs? And if you had begun to lose a pound a week one year ago, today you would be fifty-two pounds lighter.

An acquaintance of mine who had been skinny most of her life suddenly was thirty pounds overweight when she discovered she had hypoglycemia. The condition caused intense sugar cravings, which she indulged. Never having had to diet before, my friend went to her physician. He put her on a program which had her reducing very slowly. As a matter of fact, if she lost more than the one and one-half pounds a week, as pre­scribed, he adjusted her menu by adding food.

While you are setting this “easy” goal, remember too that there will be times when you will not lose weight. You are human, not a machine. You can’t actually “walk off” a piece of apple pie by figuring out how many calories you “burn” by walking. Your body is too complicated a mechanism. But if your goal is one pound a week and you stumble one week, you’ll catch up in

the next stretch. It’s reachable and healthy. Don’t allow one brief failure to balloon into giving up and binging.

Very important.

What with premenstrual, menstrual and post-menstrual periods, women sometimes find themselves hav­ing more difficulty losing weight at different times of the month. Moreover, women can be extremely dis­couraged to discover a temporary weight gain from water retention at these times, even though they know they haven’t been overeating.

. It’s important to plan for these times when you seem not to be losing. If you know they are going to occur, you won’t look at diet as setbacks because they will be part of your plan.

For instance, if I were setting my goal and it was four pounds a month, I’d go one step further. I would remind myself, perhaps by writing it on a calendar, that when my period was due I would not lose weight and might even show a gain.

The menstrual cycle is not a constant either. There’s no guarantee that each month you will retain fluids around that time. Sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn’t. However, if you plan not to lose during that time, you can only feel delighted if you do drop weight.

It’s all part of the little game we learn to play with ourselves. You must never ever kid yourself, but you can learn to pretend or just not pay attention and then be pleased with a positive result. To go even further, during the time just prior to and during my menstruation, I would determine not to get on the scale. This is difficult. There is a thin line sepa­rating positive and negative motivation and only you know when you’ve stepped across it.

There are times when I know my weight is up and then I decide to weigh myself. When I make the deci­sion its because I know that seeing the number will startle me into getting the weight off. However, there are other times when I know my weight is up and I will not go near the scale. I know that those are times when weighing myself will not be productive but might make me depressed enough to eat. So, I avoid the scale.


  1. BMI Calculator says:

    Great advice! Having a solid starting point and knowing your body type really lends to your long term success. Great article!

  2. 1freesole says:

    Wish this cartoon could be more than just “cute”. People will watch this and say “How awful, this is BS” and get mad for about 2 days. Then it's back to McDonalds and ice cream. Americans forget instantly.  Sitting on couches like me complaining, thats what we're best at. Unfortunately