What Is Your Body Type

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 08/31/2023

What is my body type, and why is it important? If you struggle with getting healthy and losing weight, chances are, you don't know your body type. Making dietary changes based on how your body functions on the inside will greatly affect how you look and feel.

If you have problems with brain fog, grogginess, lethargy, pain, losing weight, chronic stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, joint pain, or chronic disease, you're in the right place. Knowing your specific body type and how to and how to handle your body type could be the difference between staying sick, overweight, and unhealthy, and becoming happy, healthy, and full of vitality.

In this article, I will cover:

Obese woman holding a scale with a pink background | What is Your Body Type?


What Are Body Types?

Many go through life trying to improve their health but fail again and again. The problem is that not all bodies are the same. Working with countless patients over the years, I've learned that if you treat all bodies as the same, you won't see results. That's because everyone's body is driven by a different set of dominant hormones. In other words, the hormones that you have the most of will dictate where you gain weight and what your diet should be to counteract health issues.

Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, my hormone-driven body types approach better explains what is really going on with your body. Once you've figured out which of these body types you are, you can customize a diet plan to give you the most benefits.

There are four primary body types: thyroid, liver, ovary, and adrenal. Let's say you're the most common body type: the adrenal body type. What this means is that your adrenal gland hormones have the largest influence on your body—often due to poor overactive or poor adrenal function. We'll talk more about this specific body type later on. But for now, it's important to understand that having a body type such as the adrenal body type can completely change which lifestyle choices, such as diet, sleep rhythm, and exercise routine, will be best for you.

If your doctor has run tests in the past and told you that you are healthy, but you still have problems with poor sleep, exhaustion, blood sugar levels, and cravings, this could be a body type problem. Doctors often try to address these issues as if they are all separate. However, there's a huge issue you run into when you look at everything separately instead of looking at the entire body: you start treating symptoms instead of the underlying problem. In turn, you never get the results you want and need.

You might hear, "Well, all you need to do is lose a little weight, and those other problems will go away." That is absolutely not true. You have to get your health back before you can lose weight. You've probably heard me say it a million times: don't lose weight to get healthy, get healthy to lose weight. Getting healthy is the only way to truly lose weight and keep it off, and addressing your hormones is a major factor in getting healthy.

It's possible to have a mixed body type—meaning that you have traits from more than one of the body types I mentioned. In this case, it's best to start with addressing the adrenal body type.

Let's take a look at the four body types.

The adrenal glands located above the kidneys - adrenal body type | What is Your Body Type?


The Four Body Types

The four body types are adrenal, thyroid, liver, and ovary. Here's a breakdown of each.


Adrenal Body Type

Your adrenals are glands located on top of your kidneys. They are a huge part of the body's response to stress. When too much stress starts to build up, your fight-or-flight response kicks in. This triggers the hormone cortisol to build up fat around your most vital organs—which are located in your midsection. Cortisol also eats up the protein in the legs and butt, putting it in the stomach as fat.

Chronic stress causes poor sleep patterns, excessive thinking, worry, poor memory, brain fog, and weight gain. Most growth hormone (GH) is released at night. Growth hormone regulates the fat burning process, so if you are not getting enough sleep at night, you can expect a lot of weight gain.

With the adrenal body type, going on a weight loss program is often the worst thing you can do. This is because overtraining with exhaustive workouts further stresses your body, causing adrenal fatigue. This is why thousands of sit-ups every day will never give someone with the adrenal body type that flat stomach they desire. People with adrenal body type should not be doing strenuous exercise while they are in stress mode.

Over time, adrenal fatigue causes your tolerance to stress to drop down lower and lower—leading to irritability and impatience. Adrenal types tend to get irritated with others very easily.

Adrenal types will crave chocolate, salt, and crunchy, cheesy things. They often have sinuses problems and allergies, and they can't absorb calcium—which causes tight calves and tight shoulders. Where does that calcium go? The calcium goes on top of the knees as arthritis or fibromyalgia, which is pain all over. They have old injuries that are stiff. Their flexibility also goes down, and they develop a poor posture.

With the adrenal body type, you should focus on:

  • High protein

  • High fat

  • Non-cruciferous vegetables

  • Avoiding stress

Thyroid Body Type

Your thyroid is a gland that is about two and a half inches wide in the front of your lower neck. It produces hormones that control the metabolism in all your cells. Thyroid body types tend to gain weight all over their body, not in just one place. Many thyroid body type problems are a result of the hormone estrogen. When estrogen becomes dominant, your thyroid slows down and, over time, can become sluggish. The stubborn baby weight that doesn't go away after giving birth is often due to thyroid malfunction caused by a spike in estrogen.

Aside from difficulty losing weight, those with the thyroid body type tend to have saggy skin under the arms, ridged nails, hair loss, and thin eyebrows. Thyroid types often reach for simple carbs, such as bread, for quick energy to rev up their sluggish metabolism. They crave alcohol, pancakes, pasta, cereal, waffles, crackers, and other carb-rich snack foods. They tend to feel sluggish, have cold feet, and are tired no matter how much sleep they get. They may also feel a little apathetic or depressed.

The adrenal body type can't absorb vitamins easily. They will take supplements without really seeing any results in their overall health. They have very little nutrition and will crave carbs. Keep in mind that nutrients fix the cravings—not consuming more carbs. Though you can get tested for thyroid disorders, problems may not show up on blood tests until you're already in an advanced state. This is why it's important to look at the symptoms rather than tests.

If you're the thyroid body type, here's what you should focus on:

  • Low protein

  • Moderate fat

  • Plenty of non-cruciferous vegetables

Man in white shirt pinching beer belly - liver body type


Liver Body Type

The liver is a three-pound organ under the right rib cage. It filters toxins and is a key part of digestion. Liver body types typically have thin legs and a protruding belly. They often have a condition called ascites, which is essentially when the liver is leaking a plasma-like fluid into the sac that sits just above the intestines. The liver type has a belly pooch, also known as a pot belly or beer belly. People often assume they have a fat stomach, but in reality, they actually have low body fat. Even if the person is 300 pounds, a lot of weight in the stomach area is often fluid.

In healthy individuals, blood sugar levels naturally rise in the morning because of hormonal changes. When fasting overnight, liver types tend to wake up with low blood sugar about an hour before the alarm goes off—often in a very irritable mood. They cannot feel refreshed, even with extra sleep.

Liver body types also have digestive problems, including gas, heartburn, and indigestion after they eat. This is because of their sluggish digestive fluids. Food is not broken down thoroughly when digestive fluids—like bile—aren’t released. The liver type will feel unsatisfied and crave quick carb energy. They often experience right shoulder pain and have skin issues, like itchy or dry skin. Sometimes they experience stiffness in their backs and have a yellowish color in the corners of their eyes. They frequently have issues with bad breath.

People with liver body types crave fried foods of any kind. They should not be on a high-protein diet. For this type, you should focus on:

  • Low protein

  • Moderate to low fat

  • Cruciferous vegetables 

Ovary Body Type

Over-productive ovaries isn't always a bad thing—particularly for women in their childbearing years who are trying to conceive. However, for many, the ovary body type can cause saddlebags and lower stomach pooch. Too much estrogen triggers the ovary body type shape. Many ovary body types turn into thyroid types after pregnancy due to the spike in estrogen, especially if the woman develops a thyroid problem during or shortly after having the baby.

Ovary types often suffer heavy periods, develop facial hair, and experience acne breakouts—especially during that time of the month. Anything that is cyclic—such as headaches, PMS, bloating, and depression—frequently occurs with the ovary type, oftentimes during ovulation or about one week before menstruation. Hot flashes are also common.

People with the overy body type will crave creamy things—ice cream, cream cheese, and yogurt—because their body needs calcium. If you're the ovary body type, you should focus on:

  • High protein

  • High fat

  • Cruciferous vegetables

  • No soy products

  • Calcium-rich foods

Woman in workout clothes pinching stomach fat | What is Your Body Type?


Metabolic Body Types vs. Adrenal Body Types

Metabolic body types, also known as somatotypes, refer to the categorization of individuals based on their inherent metabolic characteristics and physical traits.

There are three primary metabolic body types: ectomorphs, mesomorphs, and endomorphs. Ectomorphs tend to have a fast metabolism and lean body structure, making it challenging for them to gain muscle or body fat.

Mesomorphs possess a naturally athletic build with a moderate metabolism, making it relatively easier for them to build muscle and maintain a healthy weight.

Endomorphs have a slower metabolism and a tendency to store excess body fat, making it more difficult for them to achieve and maintain a lean physique.

On the other hand, adrenal body types focus on the role of adrenal gland function and stress response in shaping body composition. Adrenal body types, such as the "adrenal type" and the "thyroid type," are determined by the impact of stress hormones, like cortisol, on an individual's body shape and metabolism.

Adrenal body types are primarily concerned with the effects of stress and hormonal imbalances on weight gain, particularly in the abdominal region.

In contrast, metabolic body types are more comprehensive and encompass a wider range of factors such as genetics, metabolism, and natural body composition tendencies.

In summary, metabolic body types categorize individuals based on their inherent metabolic characteristics and physical traits, including ectomorphs, mesomorphs, and endomorphs. These classifications focus on factors like metabolism and body composition tendencies.

Adrenal body types, on the other hand, revolve around the effects of stress and hormonal imbalances on body shape, particularly in relation to the adrenal glands.

While both concepts consider individual differences in body composition, they differ in their underlying factors and focus.

Final Thoughts

My body type principles help explain why your body is the way it is. The one-size-fits-all method of health used today just isn't effective. By knowing what your body type is, and which hormones are behind it, you have a much better starting point on how you can improve your health. Unlike the traditional method of treating symptoms, the body type method uses symptoms as a guide to finding the underlying problems behind them.

There are four hormone-driven body types: adrenal, thyroid, liver, and ovary. You can also be a mixture of two or more body types. The most common type is adrenal—which is related to stress. Figuring out your body type is the key to getting healthy and losing weight.

Thanks for reading. I hope this information helped you figure out what your body type is. If you want more diet tips based on your body type, check out this article. You can also check out the What is My Body Type Quiz here. Let me know in the comments below, what is your body type?

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Disclaimer: Our educational content is not meant or intended for medical advice or treatment.

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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