I love that I found this before and after image to demonstrate the difference between skinny and healthy. The girl is clearly not someone you would see on the street and think “wow that girl needs to get to a gym”. But she is a girl who many overweight women idolize.
There is so much crap out there that the diet industry shoves in your face. There is no quick fix program for anyone. That girl in the above picture ate well and worked out. End of story. I see a lot of women (and men) who lose massive amounts of weight only to look like a skinny-fat person. So what does it mean to be a skinny-fat person?
This term has been used in medical journals and health professionals over the last few years and it identifies an individual who visibly looks thin but has a high body fat percentage. Mark Hyman, MD, discusses this in his article “Are You a Skinny Fat Person? Ten Steps to Cure the Skinny Fat Syndrome”. The scientific term for this is “metabolically obese normal weight” or “MONW”. And it is just as dangerous as being obese. In fact 1 in 4 skinny people are skinny fat.
What is even more startling is that if you are diagnosed with diabetes as a skinny fat person, you have TWICE the risk of death than an overweight obese person. Hyman hypothesizes that this may be due to the fact that obese individuals have more muscle to carry around all that fat. However the New York Times did an article in 2012 that discussed one researcher who showed that being fat and fit is better than being skinny and not fit because normal aerobic exercise helps clear the liver of fat build-up, where it may do the most damage.
This is all very disturbing but why is this happening? I would venture a guess that the reason is twofold.
1.Most people are getting the wrong information and are not eating. With all those dieting products out there, more people are being fed CRAP and fewer people are eating FOOD. See the image to the left. It is also difficult for people to shop correctly with advertising on packages selling you on foods they claim will help you lose weight. With titles like “Special K” and “South Beach Diet” trying to sell you their laboratory created, GMO-ridden foods that are lower in calories than the Big Mac you really want. And these systems have not been around long enough to demonstrate the long-term health effects. And those that have been around probably already have lawsuits against them for false advertising (if you know me you know I have done enough research to know the products that are still on the market and have had cases ruled against their companies for being fraudulent). Most Americans also don’t drink enough water, or eat enough fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. And if your diet was filled with mostly fresh organic fruits, veggies nuts and seeds, you would see that there is little room for the all the CRAP and that fat would fall off your body quicker.
2. Most people are generally lazy. Because they eat poorly and work long hours, most people do not HAVE the energy they would have if they ate well to exercise and work off the calories necessary to maintain a healthy metabolic weight. And people who are already skinny do not feel the need to workout and have those nice genetics that allow them to maintain a low weight on the scale. However, as they age, they will increase their risk for illness to a higher degree than obese individuals.
Another problem is when you lose too much weight too quickly (ie. more than 5 pounds a week), by using one of those fad diets or exercising too much. Unless you are literally 400 pounds, it is physically impossible for your body to let go of that much fat that quickly unless you are literally running all day and night and eating very little. But even then you are burning through muscle too. Keep in mind that an obese individual burns a lot more calories by walking a block than a skinny person does. The reason? It takes more effort to move a large object than a small object. Basic physics for you.
Solution? Read my blog on real shopping for food. Do your own research when you see a company selling something promising to make you lose weight. Understand that companies do not care about the consumer, only the bottom line and there are LOTS of companies out there like this. That local, organic spinach farmer on the other hand, DOES actually care about you. That yoga instructor teaching you how to move your body correctly DOES care about you. That blogger putting up all her paleo recipes online for you to use DOES care about you. And I care too.
So let us try to eliminate skinny fat from the modern world and work toward healthy bodies full of muscle with organs that work properly. Keep a realistic ideal image of how you want to look in your mind and try to attain it by eating well, being active and keeping stress to a minimum. Remember you have to be comfortable in your own body too. And That skinny fat girl you may envy who eats whatever she wants will likely get diabetes and be no more. 🙂