People who are skinny fat look skinny and weigh less, yet still have a high level of body fat. When you look at them, you can think they are decent in clothing. However, if there are no clothes on, they usually look flabby. You might think, “oh, that sounds all right”.
However, it’s not merely about being flabby. Again, being skinny fat means one’s body fat percentage is very high compared to his/her lean muscle mass. So even if someone has a normal BMI, the fact that he/she has too much body fat puts this person’s health at risk.
That’s why medical professionals refer to skinny fat as a metabolically obese normal weight. In other words, skinny fat people look healthy and fit only on the surface. They tend to have a slew of health issues due to poor diet, lack of exercise and unhealthy lifestyles in general.
Skinny Fat—a Symptom of Having Serious Problems
It’s necessary to emphasize (again) that when you’re skinny fat, you’ll have a higher amount of excess body fat, specifically abdominal fat. Abdominal fats produce harmful inflammatory chemicals that negatively influence one’s whole body.
More importantly, abdominal fat would also disrupt one’s ability to metabolize glucose appropriately. This phenomenon would lead to insulin resistance, causing a risk of type 2 diabetes. What’s more, being diabetic is frequently associated with other health issues like having high cholesterol, stroke, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and cancer.
Additionally, research shows that a person of normal weight yet has higher levels of abdominal fat (or belly fat) has the worst assumption to live for a longer time. Hence, if you’re expecting a long-term survival, change your lifestyle, and turn from skinny fat to fit now!
Leading Causes: Unhealthy Diet and Lack of Exercise
If a person has a diet full of processed foods and empty calories while having a sedentary lifestyle, expect that you’ll have more excess body fat. Food with refined carbohydrates and too much sugar would trigger your body to store more body fat than other nutrient-dense food.
Not only that, but unhealthy food would also provoke insulin production, redepositing fat stores from other parts of one’s body to his/her belly. Once it would reach the abdomen, things will get more dangerous. For males, another cause of having a big belly and being skinny fat is due to low testosterone level.
Having a sedentary lifestyle is another problem that makes things worse. If a person doesn’t exercise, he/she isn’t going to get a level of muscle mass, which is essential to one’s health. Having a greater muscle mass protects a person against the loss of functional status caused by chronic diseases or aging while having low muscle mass has a higher risk of death.
You’re skinny fat if you’ve been experiencing and doing one of the following:
- Constantly experiencing the so-called sugar crashes or brain fog such as low energy, fatigue, and having difficulty in maintaining concentration, focus, and memory
- Having a bigger belly than the rest of your body, like an apple shape
- Feeling light-headed after a mild workout
- Having a regular diet that consists of processed foods that have excess carbohydrates and artificial sweeteners, rather than protein-packed foods
If a few or all are true to you, consult a doctor right away and get all necessary blood tests.
How to Transform From Skinny Fat to Fit?
You need to have a balanced diet when you want to get rid of your skinny fat body. The key is to grab more superfoods. Make sure to consume the four essential major food groups, namely good fat, protein, non-starchy vegetables, and carbohydrates.
Avoid human-made carbs such as chips, bread, and pasta. Instead, eat more protein-packed foods like eggs, fish, chicken, or nuts. If you prefer liquids than solid food, protein shakes or powders is the best meal replacement. Having adequate protein makes you feel fuller, supports muscle health, and promotes metabolism.
You need to exercise. For starters, you can do a “2-day split” workout plan. For instance:
- Sunday – Off
- Monday – Chest, Shoulders, Triceps, Abs
- Tuesdays – Back, Biceps, Legs, Calves
- Wednesday – Off
- Thursday – Chest, Shoulders, Triceps, Abs
- Friday – Back, Biceps, Legs, Calves
- Saturday – Off
It’s hard, but pumping your heart rate for 30 minutes every day can help, according to studies. Also, research suggests that pairing up foods rich in protein with strength training can lead to muscle mass optimization.
Meditate, read, and rest to lower down your stress levels. Stress can cause your blood pressure to skyrocket. Also, make six to eight hours sleep your goal. Taking naps is good too, but don’t sleep for more than nine hours as it would increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and death.
A long-time entrepreneur, fitness enthusiast, and Columbia Business School Alum, Kenny has built his career around creating high-quality, reader-focused digital brands.