There are plenty of reasons why your weight loss efforts may not be working as well as you expected. They can range from something as preventable as lack of sleep, to something harder to control, such as binge-eating. There are all sorts of rules that you have to work with to gain back a fit figure, but you’re probably forgetting to factor in something very important: your body, or more specifically, your body type.

Back in the 1940s, Dr. William H. Sheldon introduced the concept of body types or “somatotypes.” According to him, every one falls under one or a combination of three general categories: ectomorphs, endomorphs, and mesomorphs. Knowing your classification can be a huge help in getting an idea on what kinds of food you need to eat more of, and what you need to cut back on.

Ectomorphs

Ectomorphs possess figures that are long and lean, with little muscle and little body fat. These are the people who don’t seem to gain weight even if they eat as much as they want to. Runners and models usually have this kind of body type.

What to eat:
If you’re an ectomorph, you’re probably not worrying about your weight as much as your lack of muscle mass. According to Coach, you’ll need “a diet that is high in calories, carbs, protein and fat” if you want to put on a bit of bulk. For carbs, brown rice and sweat potatoes are healthy choices.

Endomorphs

People who can easily pack on pounds are endomorphs. They have a lot of body muscle and body fat. Endomorphs are not necessarily overweight – they could just have larger bone structures and can be quite curvy.

What to eat:
Livestrong notes that endomorphs who wish to lose weight should cut back on carbs, especially those from added sugars and refined-grain products. Instead for going for starchy food choices such as potatoes, go with green and leafy vegetables. Kinds of food that are high in fiber such as whole wheat grains are also a must. Proteins should come from lean meats, and saturated fats should be avoided at all costs.

Mesomorphs

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Mesomorphs have solid and strong builds. They have very athletic physiques, and can easily lose and gain weight.

What to eat:
Mesomorphs have bodies that are technically easy to work with, but that doesn’t mean that this natural predisposition to fitness should be taken for granted. To lose excess fat and gain the right amount of muscle, mesomorphs should eat everything healthy in moderation. “You can eat a moderate amount of carbs, and err on the side of more when it comes to protein,” says trainer Mark Hughes on Coach. Precision Nutrition notes that a mixed diet is often best for mesomorphs, who can thrive on meal plans consisting of 40 carbohydrate, 30 percent protein, and 30 percent fat.

Other body types
Not everybody strictly falls under one category. Some are a combination of two, such as ecto-endomorphs who have lean upper bodies but pudgy hips and thighs, and endo-ectomorphs, who have more fat in their upper bodies than in their thighs and legs. To be sure about what kind of diet and workout suits you, find time to visit a doctor or a certified physical trainer.

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