Many of us have plugged in our numbers, after spending a solid 10 minutes hoping to magically locate our hips and wrap a measuring tape around our busts, and waited anxiously for another (most likely unreliable) website to name us after pieces of fruit, odd shapes, and strange household items. The pear. The upside-down-triangle. The banana. An Hourglass. A Ruler, an apple, the right-side-up-triangle, a strawberry, the variations are endless.
For those of you who may not be familiar with this topic, body type quizzes rely on measurements to categorize individuals into their body shape (the more common ones would be pear, hourglass, and ruler.)
Here are the two main issues with attempting to find out which body type fits each person best: 1) many people don’t stop to look past the physical appearance of every shape in order to understand their biological importance, 2) there are other body type categorizations that result in much less self-objectifying.
Your body shape is determined by genetics and remains the same despite weight gain or loss because it’s based on how your body stores fat and muscle. For example, individuals who get grouped in the pear category tend to store fat and gain muscle in their lower half while those who fit into the ruler category have a more even fat and muscle distribution.
And here’s where everyone, including me, gets caught up. The facts about which body type is more at risk for heart disease or which shape can rock peplums better than peasant tops (all the important information) gets thrown out the window and self-judgement takes their places. And sometimes that leads to people going through extreme measures in order to achieve their idea of an ideal body shape: dieting, over-exercising, and even surgery or corseting. But body types cannot be altered through those first two options which can lead to even more frustration.
So, here’s where our wonderful somatotypes come in. The three somatotypes are the ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph. An ectomorph tends to be extremely lean in terms of fat and muscle. Mesomorphs tend to have a more narrow waist, lots of muscle, and can easily gain fat or muscle. And finally, the most prevalent type among females, the endomorph, is more rounded and soft, gain fat and muscle easily.
The great thing about these body types is that they’re loose categories and can create combination body types, meaning that you won’t get overwhelmed by endless names or strict “guidelines” for each group. (Find out which ones fit your experience with your body best at this You Beauty article titled “Somatotypes and Body Type Guide” which may be directed towards females but can be applied to males as well.)
Also, picking which category best fits you will require you to be more in tune with your body’s processes – where it gains fat and muscle, how easily, the overall shape – rather than plugging in numbers and hitting enter.
Understanding which somatotypes match up with your characteristics can help you to feel more in tune with your body, which, I think, is pretty swanky. Moving past the idea that your body should fit into a specific category of fruit and/or uncommon household object and attempting to understand how your body type functions as well as how to take care of it is much more beneficial.