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Body shape focus: The pear

In a previous post, I discussed the different body shapes us ladies possess, focusing specifically on Trinny and Susannah’s 12. Rocking a particular fruit variety myself, and knowing others who do too – it is, after all, the most common figure for women – I’ve chosen to dedicate this post to the pear body shape, specifically discussing food and diet, as well as the outfits and accessories that best suit this luscious figure (let’s not discriminate ladies, we’ve all been created bearing wonderfully unique shapes, an indicator of the beautiful diversity with which the world was made).

To remind readers, the pear shaped figure is bottom heavy. You’ll carry more weight on the hips, thighs, bottom area, and you’ll probably have narrower shoulders than hips and a clearly defined waist. You will also have a smaller top half and small bust.

Finding the right look

So this means the clothes most complimentary to your figure will be those that make your shoulders and upper half look broader and your lower half appear smaller, thus de-emphasizing your lower half while drawing the eye to your upper body. We can do this by employing a variety of tricks, using our clothes, shoes and accessories.

One trick is to draw attention to your upper body. There are different ways you can do this. One such way is by wearing tops in bright colours and big, bold patterns, which make your shoulders and chest seem broader than they really are. You can also add layers to give an illusion of size. making your top and lower halves appear more balanced, and you can wear a belt around your waist if the layers are hiding it. Not only are bright, bold and patterned tops a good idea, but tops with added texture or decoration are too, for example, those with bows and collars or other such additions. If the embellishment is near the neck, this will elongate the shoulder and neckline. Another way of doing this is wearing a scarf. When you wear tight clothing, wear it in the right places. Tight shirts should be tight around the waist, and if they’re loose, they should be worn long in order to cover the hips. Again, the aim is to highlight your waist and shoulders, so bear this in mind when deciding between tighter and looser clothing. Another thing to think about is length. Tops that extend just below your hipbone will mask the widest part of your hips. If they’re too long, i.e. if they reach down to your thighs, it will make the widest part of your legs look even wider, and if they’re too short, i.e. crop tops, they will not only draw attention to your midsection but also to your hip area, and therefore should be avoided. When it comes to sleeves, wider is better. Wear tops with bell and kimono sleeves, if you come across them, as these kind of sleeves add volume, or look for rolled or scrunched sleeves as these too add volume to your arms. You can also make use of the neckline. Wide necklines, such as boat-necks and scoop-necks, and sweetheart necklines will do the trick, as will strapless tops and dresses. For jackets and coats, choose those that are belted to accentuate your waist, and make sure they finish above or below the widest point of your hips and rear, for example, longer coats that fall between your thighs and knees will look good.

Another way you can use clothing to your advantage is to make your hips appear slimmer. To do this, wear dark colours, such as black, brown, gray, navy and olive green, and wear denim in dark washes, grey or black. As jeans go, opt for wide, flared leg or bootcuts, and make sure they’re not too tight. Avoid those that are very skinny or cigarette style as they are least flattering. For skirts, choose the right length, i.e. those starting near your waist and ending at the knee or ankle, drawing the eye to those points rather than on wider parts of your body. Avoid skirts that are above the knee or tight, and go for extra decoration, such as ruffles or beading at the hem. Keep the embellishment lower down and not at the hips or rear, and that goes for trousers or jeans too, which can often have extra detail on pockets and around the top or hips. As dresses go, again, draw attention to the waistline, and not to the hips or mid-section. Dresses that are A-line or have a tulip skirt are great for the pear shape, as are those that have a banded waistline and cover the shoulders.

Accessories can also be used to your advantage. Big, bold necklaces, either falling closer to your neck or hanging low, focus the eye on your upper half. If your statement jewellery are your earrings, rather than a necklace, also go bold and opt for the dangly kind. When it comes to shoes, those with a pointed toe will elongate your legs and give more proportion to your hips. High heels are flattering too, as are shoes that are colourful and noticeable, as they direct attention away from unflattering areas. Lastly, don’t underestimate the power of hair. Hairstyles that have more volume are great. Have fun playing around with curls or waves.

Also avoid bags that sit on your hips, mini skirts, dropped waistlines and narrow shoulder lines. For shoes, avoid kitten heels and other delicate footwear, including ankle straps or ankle boots with straps around the calf area.

Food and exercise

When it comes to food and dieting, the pear shape’s extra weight around the thighs and bottom area can often be very difficult to lose. On the other hand, fat stored around this area has been found to have a protective effect against chronic disease, which is obviously a positive thing.

If you’re looking to lose extra eight around the hips, thighs and bottom area, your diet or exercise plan will need to focus on decreasing the fat in your diet. A pear’s diet should include a good amount of complex carbohydrates, such as lean protein (chicken or fish, for example), fruits, vegetables, whole-grain cereals, lentils and beans. A good meal plan will provide about 1,500 calories a day, with carbohydrates dominating your diet (750 calories), as well as 375 calories from fat and 375 calories from protein. An example meal plan can be instant oatmeal, a piece of fruit, e.g. a banana, and half a cup of orange juice for breakfast, crackers and a cheese stick for a snack, a sandwich on whole wheat bread with a slice of roast beef, reduced fat cheese, some lettuce and tomato, as well as some veggies and fruit, e.g. a few baby carrots, celery sticks and grapes, for lunch, a cup of light yoghurt and small apple for another snack, and then dinner consisting of chicken breast, grilled with a salsa of black beans and diced tomatoes, on a green salad with light dressing, as well as a whole wheat roll. Treat yourself to a sugar free chocolate pudding cup for dessert.

And, of course, exercise will help too. Running, biking and other aerobic exercise are good for your body shape as they work your lower body while burning calories. Try thirty minutes of cardio, twice a week, as well as strength training workouts twice a week in order to add balance to your figure and increase your metabolism. When strength training, lift heavier weights and do fewer repetitions, focusing on your chest, back and shoulders. You’ll still want to improve lower body endurance and sculpt your lower body, but use lighter weights and do more reps when you work this area. Do different exercises one after the other, focusing on your upper body, then lower body, and then your upper body and core. Don’t break between reps and exercises, but take half a minute to rest between each groups. So for example, start with bent-over dumbbell row, lateral-to-front dumbbell raise and dumbbell flye on ball for your upper body first, doing between eight and twelve reps. Repeat three times and then take a half minute’s break. Follow this with your lower body exercises, for example, lunges with biceps curl, squat and calf raise, and rear leg lift, doing 15 to 20 reps each. Repeat four times and then take a 30 second break. Finally, work your upper body and core with a long-arm ball crunch, overhead triceps extension and oblique ball crunch, again doing 8 to 12 reps of each. Repeat three times. Don’t forget to use heavier weights for the first and third cycle.


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