How to Change an Apple Shape to an Hourglass Figure

People with an apple-shaped body tend to carry extra weight in their chest and belly. Slimming down these areas helps you create an hourglass figure, which defines your hips and waist. Carrying extra weight around your middle increases your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Losing the weight improves your health and may improve your self-esteem. The best way to lose weight is to eat a well-balanced diet and increase exercise. Talk to your doctor before beginning a new eating or workout routine.

Eat low-glycemic foods. A 2012 Harvard study suggests that these foods maintain metabolism, which aids in weight loss. In general, whole grains, fruits and vegetables are low on the glycemic index. Research conducted in 2007 at the Optimal Weight for Life Program at Children's Hospital Boston concluded that a low-glycemic diet is beneficial for apple shapes. Berries, plums, pears, apricots, peaches, beans, barley, bran, oatmeal, rice, whole grain pasta, yogurt and milk are good choices.

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Fill up on fiber. This nutrient satisfies hunger and keeps you full longer, controlling appetite and contributing to weight loss. Many foods high in fiber are also low on the glycemic index. Whole grains, such as brown rice and oatmeal, fruits and vegetables are high in fiber.

Cut your calorie intake. Regardless of the foods on your plate, if you eat more calories than you consume, you'll have difficulty losing weight. Include a variety of foods from all the food groups and limit fast food, fried food, candy, soda, cookies and frozen dinners. This helps control your calorie intake while covering your nutrient needs.

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Do at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise each week. This type of exercise burns calories and aids in fat loss around your middle. Choose aerobic activities that focus on your lower body, which helps balance your top half with your bottom half. Walking, running and stair climbing are good options.

Include core exercises in your strength-training routine. Aim for two 20- to 30-minute sessions each week. These moves whittle your middle, helping get rid of an apple shape and creating an hourglass silhouette. Side planks, the seated fly, pelvic scoops and ball crunches are recommended by "Fitness" magazine.

Strength-train your arms and legs. This helps create a balanced look, lending itself to an hourglass shape rather than an apple shape. Dumbbell rows, bicep curls, squats, calf raises and tricep extensions are good options.