Skinny Fat: Can You Be Skinny and Fat At The Same Time?
Just looking thin or skinny on the outside is not indication of what’s going on inside and is not a guarantee of health.
Skinny fat is basically when a person looks skinny on the outside, but actually has a high percentage of body fat. Skinny fat people will achieve this look by dieting, often times extreme dieting, and failing to exercise, or only engaging in certain forms of cardiovascular exercise that burn large numbers of calories.
The easiest way to determine if a person is skinny fat is to evaluate their body fat percentage. One of the most common ways to do this is using skinfold calipers to measure the underlying subcutaneous fat and estimating their overall body fat. Average body fat percentages for a male is 18-24% and 25-30% for females.
Skinny fat people may be of normal weight, but can have the same risk factors for disease as obese people. These risk factors include high blood pressure, high blood sugar; which is a precursor to diabetes, elevated cholesterol levels and cardiovascular disease. The new term “normal weight obesity,” has even been created to describe this skinny fat condition.
Weight is only one very basic statistic that can be used to evaluate overall health. Body Mass Index (BMI), a commonly used measurement by doctors to determine obesity, is also a poor indicator at best. There are a number of other tests, evaluations and measurements that can more accurately determine a persons overall health. Body composition, which compares body fat to lean muscle mass, and blood lipid profile, which looks at important data such as cholesterol and triglycerids levels as well as high & low density lipoproteins, are much more accurate and important evaluations.
The good news is that being skinny fat is easily reversible. Basic changes in diet and exercise habits can help make the appropriate alterations to body composition. Adding a progressive full-body strength training program along with a good cardiovascular plan can help to increase lean muscle mass. Replacing poor quality calories with nutrient dense calories in your diet can also have a major effect.