Weight Loss & Body Type: All About the Rectangle Shape

Article posted in: Diet & Nutrition
Scale with measuring tape

Whether you’ve taken an online quiz or read a blog article about body type before, you may not have taken it all that seriously. Some of the body types even have names that you might deem silly like apple, pear or rectangle. But the truth is, your body shape does reveal some secrets as to how you can be most successful on your journey to better health—so it helps to know what category you fall into.

Let’s take a look at the rectangle body shape and what it means for your journey to weight loss and better health.

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What Does Rectangle Body Shape Mean?

Diagram of apple, pear, triangle, rectangle, hourglass body shape

Those who fall into the rectangle body shape category are typically lightweight with a lack of curves—the most common complaint of this body type. It means the chest, waist and hips are generally equally aligned. If you’ve ever said, “I have no hips!” this is probably your body type. Given the “straightness” of this figure, it’s also been called the ruler or the column shape, says Penn Medicine.

While the lack of definition in the hips might be a gripe, those with rectangle body types generally appreciate the fact that they don’t gain weight easily and are typically thought to have an athletic build. But when they do gain weight, unwanted pounds tend to accumulate from the shoulders to the knees.

What the Health Experts Say

Physician examining patient. rectangle body shape

According to health experts, the biggest risks with the rectangle body shape can come with complacency. Those whose genetics naturally steer them toward a “skinny” build may increase their health risks by assuming they can never gain weight—and therefore not doing anything about improving their health.

These assumptions can be dangerous. In reality, even when people are not heavy, they can still be unhealthy. According to Penn Medicine, “Slender people may increase their health risk by thinking they may never look fat. The truth is your body fat percentage has risen without you noticing. This can give you the same chance of developing health conditions, like diabetes, as any other type of body shape.”

Exercising the Rectangle Shape

Man doing sit-up exercises

The answer to combating this “secret” stored fat (which could be building inside) is to get moving. It’s important to remember that getting fit is about so much more than looks or losing weight: It’s about health.

A well-rounded exercise program that hits all areas of the body is important for all body types. But for the rectangle shape, a lack of muscle definition is often a prime concern. Fitting in strength workouts is important—for definition, but also for better health. According to a review, published in the Annals of Medicine, muscle mass can impact a person’s strength, mobility, balance and overall health.

Since a rectangle body shape is most likely to gain fat in the torso first, also focusing on core exercises is important. While you might automatically read “core” as sit-ups, there are plenty of ab exercises that you can incorporate into your routine.

Dressing Your Rectangle Shape

Neatly folded sweater. Dressing your rectangle body shape.

Knowing how to dress for your body type can also help to instill confidence. If your goal is to create curves and add interest to your straight frame, “you’ll want tops that accentuate your top half and give shape to your waist,” says Nordstrom Trunk Club. They recommend playing around with unique styles, such as puffy or ruched sleeves, different necklines and interesting colors. You can also add details to your waist with a belted dress or a belted top. Vests can also add shape to your upper body, while trench coats are an essential staple.

In terms of pants, while skinny jeans will exaggerate a rectangle frame, slim-straight jeans can be a welcomed alternative. According to Nordstrom Trunk Club, printed, pleated, flared or wide-leg styles also add some welcomed definition.

Eating for Your Rectangle Shape

Healthy well-rounded meal for a rectangle body shape.

High-quality protein should be at the center of your diet. This will help you preserve lean muscle mass as you lose weight. Be mindful of the amount of fat you consume and be sure that you get adequate fiber. Check out the lists below for grocery additions that may work best for you:

Smart choices for women:

  • Lean cuts of beef, chicken breast and peanut butter are healthy protein options for you.
  • Include high fiber, complex carbohydrates in your day, such as black beans, butternut squash and couscous.
  • Add banana to your smoothies if you’d like some fresh fruit.
  • Enjoy delicious produce like beets, kale, mushrooms and spinach for your veggie servings.

Smart choices for men:

  • Be sure to include high-quality proteins like chicken breast, eggs, cheddar cheese and pork tenderloin in your meals.
  • Get your fiber fix from whole grain pasta and sweet potato.
  • Strawberries and bananas would make a delicious smoothie that fits into your meal plan.
  • Fill your salads with spinach, celery, tomatoes and carrots.

Eating a well-rounded and healthy diet is important for all body types—even those who don’t gain weight easily. Similar to forgoing exercise, those with rectangle body shapes sometimes assume they can splurge on junk if it’s not showing up on their waistline.

But it’s that internal fat that can still put you at risk of health concerns. Therefore, make healthy swaps such as replacing your white carbs with whole grain choices. Swap out white rice for brown rice and white bread for multi-grain options. You’ll also want to avoid high-fat fast food. These types of changes will have more than an impact on your body shape—but on your health as a whole. They automatically equate to living a longer and healthier life, which is more important than anything else.

At the end of the day, a happy and healthy life is what we all want. No matter what body type you were born with, Nutrisystem is here to support your needs so that you’ll not only look your best but feel your best, too.

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