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What Is My Body Type?

How to Identify Your Body Type, and Why Doing So Is About Way More Than Looks

Identifying your body type can actually be helpful in unlocking your weight-loss potential. According to Carolyn Mein at YourTango, understanding how you're built can be instrumental in achieving your fitness and weight-loss goals.

Give your body what it needs.

If you've unsuccessfully tried to shed pounds and keep looking for the best way to lose weight, you've probably tried all sorts of diets and exercise routines in the past that haven't worked. But by discovering whether you're an ectomorph, mesomorph, or endomorph body type, you can learn the best way to lose weight for yourbody so you can start seeing results faster.

The truth is, a healthy diet and exercise are just parts of your optimal health and wellness plan, not the whole thing. Your body type, whether it's ectomorph, mesomorph, or endomorph, plays a critical role.

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So if you're ignoring what your specific body type needs, you're likely to have a harder time losing weight and reaching your weight-loss goals.

"Each body type gains weight and stores fat differently, which is why knowing yours can help you improve your health or even lose weight," says Dr. Carolyn Mein, a body type expert.

According to somatotype theory, the three main body types are ectomorphs, mesomorphs, or endomorphs. These "types" suggest how fat gets stored on your body and if you tend toward being lean versus being bigger or having more muscle tissue.

"Your body type is something you're born with," says Dr. Mein, "and it's determined by your dominant gland, organ, or system."

Your body type also controls your ability to gain or lose weight, in addition to affecting which diet and exercise regimens will work best.

For example, some people have no problem eating a protein-packed meal of steak and eggs every morning for breakfast, whereas others can't stomach anything more than a cup of coffee and a piece of toast.

Your food likes, dislikes, and cravings all stem from the same place: your body type.

Here's how to figure out if you're an ectomorph, mesomorph, or endomorph body type:

1. Ectomorphs

Ectomorphs are usually long and lean. These people can be incredibly lithe by nature, and often have difficulty building muscle.

If you're an ectomorph, you might even struggle with gaining weight, versus other types, since your body is great at processing carbohydrates and burning fat off quickly.

2. Mesomorphs

If you're a mesomorph, then you likely don't have an issue storing body fat, and most of your muscle is well-defined and super easy to pack on, despite the fact that you might take your naturally athletic build for granted and never step foot in a gym.

If your build puts muscle on easily and melts fat off, you're likely one of these lucky types.

3. Endomorphs

Endomorphs have quite a different problem than their ectomorphic counterparts. Endomorphs excel at storing fat in their lower body — specifically around the belly — and have trouble losing it once it's been put on.

From an evolutionary standpoint, this body type is amazing: This was the type of body that was perfect for storing fat during long periods of scarcity, which guaranteed your ability to survive droughts, harsh winters, or poor food seasons.

In the modern age, however, this type can also gain weight the quickest, which is not beneficial to man's increasingly sedentary lifestyle.

Dr. Mein has created a system of twenty-five body types — including their over or underweight counterparts — but there are significant differences between the three primary groups. Of these body types, it should be easy to figure out which one correlates to you.

Most people are actually a combination of the types, rather than just one on its own, but this can still help you figure out the method that your body needs to be at its best, whether that comes from eating better, exercising differently, or knowing which types of food you're really craving.

Because once you better understand your body's unique set of needs, you can learn to work with your body to reach your weight loss goals and improve your health.

Dr. Carolyn L. Mein is a chiropractic physician with an active practice in Rancho Santa Fe, CA, who developed the 25-body type system as a way to help her patients attain and maintain their ideal weight and energy levels by eating the foods that best support their bodies. She is also the author of Different Bodies, Different Diets. To learn more about the 25-body type system and determine your body type, visit her website.

Check out more great stories from YourTango:

Image Source: Unsplash / Bruce Mars
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