Body-ShapesLadies, wonder why your weight loss or gain looks different on you than others? We are all created equal, but not the same. There are six basic body types for women, and your essential shape makes the ultimate decision about where fat is distributed on your body. While there is no “right” body shape, knowing your type can help greatly with body image as well as deciding what areas to exercise for a balanced musculature. Consult the list below to find your shape, and check back soon for “What’s Your Body Type? Part 2,” men’s edition!

Ready, set . . .

Before you begin your body type analysis, make sure you position yourself properly. Stand in front of a full-length mirror that is either standing straight or against a wall, since an angled mirror can distort your proportions. Observe the relationship between your shoulders, waist and hips as a guide to your true shape.

Go!

1. The triangle (pear): Viewed by ancient religions as a mystical shape, the triangle appears twice in the list of body shapes. Triangle-shaped people have chests that are proportionately narrower than their hips. You may have narrow shoulders and a full lower body, including hips, thighs, and butt. It is worth noting that women who gain weight in this region tend to hold onto it (remember the term, “child-bearing hips”?), so if this is your type, be sure to implement a daily exercise routine to keep extra pounds from creeping – and staying- on.

2. Inverted Triangle: Think regular triangle, but reversed. If you have this shape, your bust may be large and shoulders broad when compared with your narrow hips. Inverted triangle people have slim legs and generally build more muscle (and gain more fat) in their upper body. Focus exercise efforts on strengthening your legs for a balanced appearance and harmonized physical strength.

3. Hourglass: Hello, Marilyn! If you tote an hourglass figure, you have basically equal bust and hip-line measurements and a well-defined waist. When you gain weight, you put it in equal parts on the top and bottom of your body, with the waist gaining last. Rigorous cardio will help you keep this curvaceous body type fit.

4. Oval: Also known as the apple, the fruit of temptation (neither Adam nor Eve could resist it), apple-shaped people have round and generous frames, with wide hips and full thighs. Your stomach may sit low on your body. An oval variation, the Diamond, includes a pronounced stomach. In either case, waist – focused exercises such as side crunches will help define your middle so that your upper and lower body can balance each other.

5. Rectangle: The picture of a streamlined body, rectangle-shaped ladies have equal bust and hip measurements and minimal waist definition, with proportionately slim legs and arms. If you have trouble separating your hips from your waist and upper thigh, this shape could be yours. Because you gain weight equally in all areas, follow the Oval’s lead and crunch your way to a defined waist while enjoying those famously toned arms of yours.

Nothing quite fits? You may be a blended type, which means that your body types includes attributes of two or more of the above. No worries! Take wisdom from each type for a combined vision that works for your unique frame. Your weight may also determine your shape, so assess every ten pounds for the greatest accuracy, especially after undergoing big changes like weight loss surgery or pregnancy.

Lastly, remember the body shape bottom line, which is the key to enjoying your unique frame at any weight: take care and don’t compare.