Tall and thin, with long legs for days. You’ve never had to worry much about what you eat or clocking in extra hours at the gym. You’re blessed with a slim figure and fast metabolism.
We live in a culture where thin is always in. People figure if their jeans fit they are in good health. But this isn’t always the case.
Meet skinny fat. The secret health concern that’s lurking inside your otherwise trim physique. It puts you at risk of metabolic syndrome, which affects about 35% of Americans.
But wait…what is skinny fat? Here’s everything you need to know and what to do to get your lifestyle back on track.
What is Skinny Fat?
You sure look good in those jeans…thanks to your genes and super-charged metabolism.
But with the skinny fat syndrome, your percentage of body fat is higher in relation to your lean muscle. This means that while you may look healthy and thin, the ratio of fat is higher than it should be.
This can create an illusion that a person is healthy, leaving them to make poor lifestyle choices. Skinny-fat people often get little to no exercise.
They also make bad eating choices. Their diets consist of saturated fats, sugar, and processed foods. They skip out on whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
So, what does skinny fat look like? The scary thing is you can’t always notice it. It may only be a small pouch of fat located around your mid-section.
This explains the phenomenon behind skinny-looking people who eat McDonald’s weekly and claim to never gain weight. Their metabolism makes it look like they never ate all those burgers and fries. But the weight is being packed on in other different and dangerous ways.
People that suffer from being skinny and fat may also have symptoms of fatigue. This can cause issues focusing and finding the strength to complete a workout. You may also feel dizzy or light-headed from mild exercise.
Isn’t All Fat the Same?
The answer is no. Although you may not have excess fat cells, the deposits you have could be deadly. It’s the not quantity of fat, but the type of fat your body is storing that can cause health problems.
People who are skinny and fat have a higher percentage of visceral fat storage. You can find this accumulated around the belly. This is the deadliest kind of fat.
Abdominal fat interferes with our bodies ability to metabolize glucose. It also produces inflammatory chemicals which can be harmful to our bodies.
Being skinny fat can put you at risk of:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Metabolic syndrome
- Low bone density
- Irregular insulin levels
These health problems increase your chances of developing deadly diseases. Such as heart disease, diabetes, and even a stroke. You’re subject to anemia, digestive issues, and dementia.
The bad news is that it gets worse with age. Muscle mass starts to deplete around your late 30’s.
Without working out, your muscle mass can deteriorate by up to 5%. It can continue to do so every decade. When this happens, it increases your fat to muscle ratio.
What is skinny fat going to do if it goes untreated? It can result in disease, death, and deterioration as you age. Your loved ones may need to turn to premature home health care due to dementia or extreme metabolic syndrome.
Lay Those “Fat” Stereotypes to Rest
This makes people think twice about the stereotypes of all overweight people being unhealthy.
Overweight people have a more equal distribution of fat. It doesn’t only show up around their stomachs. But appears in their legs, hips, and other body areas.
You may be wondering, how can you be obese and skinny?
While BMI is used to determine if a person is obese, it’s not always an indicator of good health. An obese person can have excellent blood pressure and cholesterol levels. While a skinny fat person can have the opposite, due to a high percentage of visceral fat storage.
Studies show that some obese people live an average of 3 years longer than non-overweight people. This is because they are healthy from a metabolic perspective.
How Do You Win the Battle of the Bulge?
Good health is more about the lifestyle you lead than your pants size.
So, how to fight back when skinny fat?
Step 1: Focus on being fit, rather than only worrying about fat. This means you should be aiming for at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day.
Toning your muscles will also help you look less skinny but flabby. Combine cardio with strength training for best results. Strength training will also battle muscle loss with age.
Step 2: Maintain a proper diet of whole foods. Fill up on fiber and protein. Get your fill of leafy greens and whole grains.
Here are more diet tips for sneaking protein into your meals.
Step 3: Visit your doctor. Many people who get classified as skinny fat don’t even know it. Have an annual exam so you can keep an eye on cholesterol, blood pressure, and insulin levels.
Step 4: Change unhealthy habits. Other factors such as stress and smoking can increase dangerous fat cells.
You’ll also want to limit alcohol intake. The added sugar goes straight to your waistline.
The main idea is to take better care of yourself. Drink plenty of water, and get enough sleep. Meditate or practice yoga to relieve stress. Get enough vitamins and nutrients, taking supplements if needed.
Saying Goodbye to Fat for Good
Whether skinny fat or overweight, it’s best to take action and move towards a healthier lifestyle.
To recap, physique is not the only indicator of good health. It’s more about your body’s level of fitness.
Question: What is skinny fat and what to do about it?
Answer: The quickest and healthiest way to do this is through burning more calories than you consume.
To say goodbye to fat for good, you’ll want to increase your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE).
Pat attention to the factors that influence your calorie intake and how much you’re burning off. Calculate your TDEE and make needed changes today.
Health and wellbeing is only a lifestyle change away.