People come in all different shapes and sizes. Some are tall or short, some are lean or round and some are somewhere in between. Dr. William H. Sheldon said that though everyone is different, there are three distinct body types: ectomorph, mesomorph and endomorph. Ectomorphs are tall and slim and tend to have a hard time gaining weight, while mesomorphs are muscular and athletic and have no difficulty losing or gaining weight. Endomorphs tend to have more body fat and gain weight easily. As an endomorph, you may struggle with your weight and need specific strategies to help you lose the weight and keep it off. Consult your doctor to design a diet plan that fits your specific needs.
Big-boned, curvy and round are words often used to describe endomorphs, who often carry their weight in their lower bodies. The late actress Marilyn Monroe and many football linemen are examples of this rounder body type. While the endomorph body type tends to have more body fat and have a harder time losing weight than the other two types, endomorphs are not necessarily overweight.
Body Fat and Weight Loss
Endomorphs have a higher percentage of body fat than ectomorphs or mesomorphs, but the fat may be found in any part of the body, whether the abdomen or the hips. Where you carry your fat affects your weight loss and your health. Fat that surrounds your organs deep in the abdomen -- and pushes your stomach out to form a "beer belly" -- is called visceral fat, while the fat under your skin -- the fat you can pinch -- is called subcutaneous fat.
Visceral fat is more damaging to your health than the subcutaneous fat, and it's linked to an increased risk in heart disease and diabetes. This type of fat appears to be more biologically active than subcutaneous fat and may have an impact on insulin, blood lipid levels, hormones and immune function. The result is an increased risk of disease.
When it comes to losing weight, visceral fat tends to be easier to lose than subcutaneous fat, according to Harvard Health Publications. This means that if you're overweight, you'll be able to improve your health relatively quickly with weight loss, but it might take longer to reach your desired physique.
Create a Caloric Deficit to Lose Weight
One pound of body fat contains approximately 3,500 calories. To lose the extra fat you're carrying, you need to create a caloric deficit so your body burns that fat for energy. You can create this caloric deficit by making changes to your diet, being more active or, ideally, doing both. Decreasing your current caloric intake by 250 calories a day and working out to burn an extra 250 calories a day should produce 1 pound of weekly weight loss
Endomporphs should not go on very restrictive diets, according to the University of Houston. When you do not eat enough calories, instead of burning fat your body works hard to conserve energy and hold onto the fat, and endomorphs are especially prone to holding on to this fat. Waldo County General Hospital advises that you should not eat fewer than 1,200 calories a day or you risk a nutrient deficiency and going into "starvation mode."
Food Choices for Endomorphs
Many endomorphs love food, notes Rider University. When you're trying to lose weight, you want to fill your diet with foods that keep hunger away, which may help control cravings for the less-than-healthy foods. Good choices include lean proteins such as fish, poultry, lean red meat, eggs, soy foods and low-fat or nonfat dairy products, as well as foods high in fiber such as fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains. It's also important to include a little healthy fat as well, such as vegetable oils, nuts, seeds and avocados.
Filling your diet with more whole, fresh foods is especially helpful to those struggling with extra fat in the belly area, according to Harvard Health Publications. To help you lose the fat, especially the abdominal fat, you want to avoid highly processed foods such as cakes, cookies, candy, soda, fast food, white bread and snack foods such as chips.
Sample Weight-Loss Meal Plan
To keep your body energized, you want to eat smaller meals more frequently and eat every five hours during the day. Start your day with a boiled egg and a toasted whole-wheat English muffin topped with 1 teaspoon of peanut butter. For your midmorning meal, a container of nonfat yogurt with a small banana makes a healthy and filling choice for your endomorph weight-loss diet.
At lunch, fill up on a cup of vegetable soup with five whole-grain crackers, 1/4 cup of hummus, 1 cup of sliced red and green peppers and 12 almonds. A midafternoon meal might include 1 ounce of low-fat Swiss cheese on a slice of whole-wheat bread with a small apple.
For dinner, consider 3 ounces of grilled tuna with 1 cup of roasted red potatoes and 1 cup of roasted cauliflower. In the evening, snack on 3 cups of air-popped popcorn mixed with 20 peanuts. This sample meal plan has 1,565 calories.
Aerobic Exercise for Endomorphs
In addition to making changes to your diet, include aerobic exercise in your weight-loss plan. While low-impact aerobic exercise can help transform your body, high-intensity intermittent exercise, or HIIE, may be more effective at helping you burn both visceral and subcutaneous fat, according to a 2011 study published in the Journal of Obesity. HIIE involves exercising at a high-intensity for a specified period of time, followed by a period of low-intensity or rest. For example, you might sprint as fast as you can for a minute, then jog or walk for four minutes, and repeat the pattern four to six times.
If you're not quite up to HIIE, any type of movement helps. The University of Houston suggests a walk or jog for 30 minutes five days a week to help endomorphs lose weight. While high-impact aerobics are effective for body fat loss, low-impact aerobic exercise, especially when combined with strength training, is more effective than high-impact aerobics at helping build more muscle, according to a 2015 study published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness.
Strength Training for Endomorphs
To improve your body's calorie-burning abilities and overall physique, you want to include strength-training exercises, since muscle burns more calories than fat. Endomorphs should work all the major muscles groups -- arms, legs, abs and back -- two to three days a week. Use free weights or a resistance band to add muscle to your frame. Situps, pushups, pullups, lunges and squats also count. To get the most benefits for your body type, choose a weight that allows you to do eight to 12 repetitions of an exercise. Once you can complete 12 reps, up the weight to continue to gain strength and see results.
Keeping the Weight Off
As an endomorph, you have to work harder at keeping the weight off once you've lost it than the other two body types. The National Weight Control Registry, which tracks people who have lost weight and kept it off, notes that successful weight losers tend to have similar traits. Most of them eat breakfast, weigh themselves at least once a week, watch less than two hours of television a day and work out for an hour or more most days of the week.
- University of Houston: The 3 Somotypes
- University of Houston: Impossible Goals
- Rider University: Somatotypes
- Harvard Health Publications: Abdominal Fat and What to Do About It
- FamilyDoctor.org: What It Takes to Lose Weight
- Waldo County General Hospital: How to Understand the Risks of Eating Too Few Calories
- University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture: The Exchange List System for Diabetic Meal Planning
- HealthAliciousNess.com: Nutrition Facts Comparison Tool: Hummus Commercial
- Journal of Obesity: High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise and Fat Loss
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?