Today I want to talk about skinny fat and how dangerous it can be for your health. Reason for it is, because I hear very often that people do not want to exercise (they will rather not eat), or they eat too little, or they exercise ineffectively. And they might not even know about the harm they are causing to themselves.
Skinny fat is used to describe someone who has the correct weight for their height but has more body fat than is healthy. The reason for this is because they have very little muscle and live an unhealthy lifestyle (poor nutrition and they do very little exercise). In clothes they look good, but underneath the clothes it is a different story. Skinny fat normally affects women more than men.
The first reason that Skinny Fat can more more dangerous is that people assume that because they are a 'normal' weight they do not need to make lifestyle changes and that they must be healthy. The second reason is that in skinny fat people their fat is stored around their organs (like the heart and liver), instead of on their tummy, bum or legs. This can be more damaging to your health and put a bigger strain on these organs. In fact a recent study has shown that diabetics who are skinny fat have a greater risk of death than obese diabetics.
There are three types of skinny fat people. The first is someone who naturally has a fast metabolism and this means they have never had to worry about a healthy diet or exercise to stay thin. Unfortunately just because they are skinny does not mean they are healthy and they are actually increasing there chances of diseases like insulin resistance and diabetes.
The second type is a person with a poor understanding of proper exercise and diet. This is usually the biggest reason why women suffer from skinny fat. They actually work very hard to stay fit and eat correctly. Unfortunately they end up doing more harm than good. These people will usually do lots of cardio with very little weight training (because they want to burn calories but don't want to put on muscle and become bulky). They will also have a very low calorie diet to help keep their weight low or go on extreme diets to lose weight quickly.
The third type is a person who doesn't do any exercise and is constantly on some sort of diet or detox to stay skinny.
The reason for this is that when you have a low calorie diet you lose muscle as well as fat. If you lose muscle, your bodies energy needs drop and your weight loss slows down. Extreme diets like this (they can be called detoxes or cleanses as well) are also very difficult to maintain and people on them normally have food binges where they will eat lots of sweets, chocolate or snacks because they are constantly hungry. These high calorie foods will quickly be turned into fat and undo any fat loss you have have done
One of the best things for fat loss is strength training. This is because it burns calories and helps build muscle as well. Having muscle is important for lots of health reasons (for men and women) and can help decrease your risk of diabetes, increase fat loss and decrease the risk of injuries. Doing lots of cardio has been shown to prevent muscle growth and also means you won't get have enough energy to build muscle.
The answer is simple and comes in 3 parts:
1) Stop worrying about your weight. Weight can be a useful indicator but it does not tell you what your body composition is (how much muscle and how much fat you have). Instead keep a photo diary and look for changes in your body shape (It's because muscle is heavier than fat, therefore if you exercise regularly and effectively and also eat correctly, it might happen that your weight will go up as it happened to me).
2) Stop doing extreme diets and have a healthy balanced diet. This is the most important thing for your health and is one that contains a good combination of carbohydrates, protein and fat from as unrefined sources as possible and full of vitamins and minerals. If you do need to lose body fat, make sure that your calorie deficit isn't too large or you will lose muscle as well
3) Don't do too much cardio and start doing strength training. You don't have to give up cardio (especially if you enjoy it) but make sure you start including strength training (at least 3 sessions a week) in your workout plan. If you do not have access to a gym or weights there are plenty of bodyweight exercises that will help you build muscle (watch my videos!)