Are You Skinny Fat?

are you skinny fat

Does the bathroom scale tell the full story?

Not at all.

The "perfect" number doesn’t guarantee perfect health. All too often, we look at the number in between our toes, and we use it to make conclusions about our health. While many people feel the need to lose weight because they believe their numbers are too high and possibly unhealthy, there are those who know they’re terribly unhealthy despite being the ideal weight.

Being “thin” does not always tell the full story. “Thin” individuals can be as dangerously out of shape and unhealthy as an overweight individual can be. In fact, it’s sometimes worse for the former because there is no external motivation to make healthy changes. Many people think that they don’t need to eat healthy or exercise regularly when they’re already thin.

Dr. Mark Hyman from the Institute for Functional Medicine says that 23 percent of healthy-weight adults and 37 percent of healthy-weight children are “metabolically obese but normal weight” (MONW), which he calls “skinny fat”. Those who are skinny fat are at risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, some cancers and every other disease that overweight individuals are at risk for due to their poor eating habits, lack of physical activity and sedentary lifestyle.

Medical doctors will not often dig deep into risk factors if one's weight is normal. They look healthy and are considered healthy in the absence of symptoms.

Are you “skinny fat?” Ask yourself whether or not you make healthy eating choices most of the time and exercise regularly. Do you have excess fat in your abdominal region, sugar cravings, high blood pressure, or a family history of cardiovascular disease? If so, discuss the term “skinny fat” with your doctor and dig a little deeper.

Making changes in your diet by focusing on whole foods, increasing fruit and vegetable intake, and lowering saturated fat and processed food intake will help boost your health in the right directions. And don’t forget to get out and exercise! Even moderate exercise, such as brisk walking or hiking, and a moderate strength training plan, which can include push-ups, squats, lunges, and planks, will set you in the right direction.

Whether you’re skinny fat or overweight, healthy lifestyle habits can have a positive impact on your overall health.

Registered Dietitian, Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, Triathlon Coach


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