In most cultures the ideal is for women to have a hourglass figure, with a narrow waist and wide hips. This signals youthfulness, good health and fertility. Studies show that even blind men are most attracted to women with a narrow waist and wide hips.
As we age it gets harder to keep this body shape. Fat will start to gather more around our organs and upper arms, as our bodies no longer produce the surge of hormones they did when we were younger. Due to our modern low quality diet, some people already fall victim to this problem at a young age.
Why does it matter whether I have a hourglass figure or not?
To answer this question, we first have to establish that it’s possible for both curvy and skinny women to have a hourglass figure. A skinny woman might not have a lot of fat around her hips, but her waist could be very narrow as well. Similarly, a full-figured women could have quite a bit of fat stored in her middle, but even more around her hips.
A fuller-figured woman can still be quite healthy, as long as her body fat is stored around her hips, rather than her waist. One study actually found that your waist to hip ratio can be a better predictor of your risk of heart attacks than your weight. It’s possible to be overweight according to your BMI, but relatively healthy because the fat is all stored around your hips, rather than your waist. So, if you care about living long, the advice here applies to you as well!
Why is it so hard for me to maintain my hourglass figure?
A healthy young feminine body will naturally deposit fat around the hips, rather than around the waist where we want to avoid it. This become more challenging when we reach the menopause. This is thought to be mostly related to the decline in estrogen production by our body. Estrogen has the effect of protecting fat around the hips from being burned during exercises to produce energy.
Other hormones can make us store fat at places where we don’t want it. One of these hormones is cortisol. Some people naturally produce large amounts of cortisol and as a result, their body gathers a lot of fat around their abdomen. We also produce more cortisol when we live very stressful lives.
It’s thought that storing fat around our waist may be a response of our body to problems with insulin signaling. The body chooses to store fat, because the alternative is for the body to develop insulin resistance, which leads to type 2 diabetes. To the body, obesity is a healthier alternative over type 2 diabetes.
If you understand what I explained above, then you also understand that the main problem your body is dealing with is the way it is exposed to calories. Your body is naturally poor at dealing with blood sugar peaks in your blood.
What causes blood sugar peaks? A lot of things cause blood sugar peaks, but what it comes down to is as following: The modern over-processed Western diet is so attractive to us, because it signals to our brain that it’s full of energy. Today they’re still attractive to most of us, even though they’re very unhealthy as we receive far too many of them.
How do I change my diet to get my hourglass figure back?
The importance of slow calories
It’s normal for our food to have calories, carbohydrates, sugars and most others things we see as unhealthy. The bigger problem is that calories normally occur in nature together with substances that help our body absorb them gradually, thereby avoiding the blood sugar peaks that make your belly fat and turn your hourglass figure into an apple figure.
Important is dietary fiber. When your food contains dietary fiber, your body must work harder to absorb calories from the food. For more dietary fiber in your diet, start eating more vegetables. Another great way is to replace all cereals based on white flour in your diet, with cereals based on whole grains. Whole grains still contains the seed hull, which is full of fibers.
Also important is to eat sour foods. When our body is exposed to cheap and easy calories, like those found in cake, chocolate and candy, our blood sugar spikes up. This sugar rapidly floods into your blood, your body unfortunately has no effective way to stop that from happening. Those calories in your blood are then rapidly deposited around your belly as fat.
Scientists figured out a while ago, that when sour substances like vinegar are added to food, the sugar in the food takes much longer to be absorbed. This is one of the reasons fruit is very healthy for you, as it’s not just sweet, it’s also naturally sour. Similarly, an excellent way to make bread healthier, is to switch from regular bread, to sourdough bread. The sourdough bread contains acids produced by bacteria, that have the effect of delaying the uptake of sugar into your blood.
The benefit of healthy fats
There are other aspects to this subject I have not addressed yet. You’re often taught that a calorie is just a calorie and that it’s impossible to engage in “spot reduction” of fat. These are very misleading ideas, as I already showed you. Calories that your body absorbs gradually, are healthier for you than calories that are rapidly dumped into your bloodstream. By eating healthy food and avoiding the modern over-processed Western diet, you can do a lot to maintain a healthy hourglass figure.
Just as not all calories are created equal, not all fats are created equal. Some fats are very healthy, some fats are very damaging to your health. Your body does not benefit from high amounts of saturated fat in your diet. Because animals are kept in small cages in the modern food industry, the animals usually grow very overweight. This translates into large amounts of saturated fat in your hamburger or steak. This might be tasty, but it’s definitely not healthy!
What kind of fats are healthy for you? The answer is omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to encourage the body to get rid of its abdominal fat and to store fat around our hips instead. One way to get healthier fats is to switch to grass-fed beef. An even better way however, is to switch from eating land animals, to eating fish and shellfish. Healthy fats are also found in most nuts and legumes. If you are veg(etari)an or don’t like eating fish, you can buy Omega 3 supplements made of algae.
Keeping your ovaries healthy
It always helps to keep your ovaries healthy and active, to delay the undesirable effects of menopause. You may already know that menopause occurs earlier in women who smoke. You might not know however, that a class of substances called aromatase inhibitors can help keep your ovaries healthy. Aromatase inhibitors have the effect of making your ovaries more sensitive to FSH, a substance that tells your ovaries to stay active.
Scientists have come up with all sorts of synthetic aromatase inhibitors, but they are naturally found in many different forms of food. One great source of aromatase inhibitors is found in white button mushrooms. When you eat white button mushrooms, the inhibition of aromatase in your body ensures that your ovaries stay more receptive to the signal sent by your brain. Eating these mushrooms raw daily also has the effect of drastically reducing your breast cancer risk by an estimated 64%.
A hourglass figure thought exercise
To see if you remember what I explained, look at some of the following types of food and consider whether they help or hurt your hourglass figure. Hold your mouse over the image, to see the answer!
If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comment section below!