Are you “skinny fat”?
Are you thin but out of shape? Do you have flabby arms and little to no muscle tone?
Does a little bit of running get you out of breath?
Would you like to be healthier?
The good news is, you can be healthier, with some positive lifestyle changes.
What Does It mean to Be “Skinny Fat”?
Being “skinny fat” is a common condition in the West – we have strong temptation to diet and focus on calorie loss versus concentrating on getting healthy.
The problem is, you can actually be more at risk of health problems if you are “skinny fat” than if you are a little bit overweight.
One in four thin people have pre-diabetes and are what is called “metabolically obese.” In other words, you can look healthy on the outside and be unhealthy on the inside.
There is now a term for being skinny fat. It is called “Metabolically Obese Normal Weight (MONW).
“Most people don’t realize there can be health complications to being thin,” Sheila Zhou, expert Scientist at USANA, told the UK Daily Mail. “Being ‘Skinny Fat’ puts your body under a huge amount of pressure, including added fat around your organs, high cholesterol, and poor blood circulation,” she added.
Breaking Past Media Messages to Be Thin
First, in order to stop focusing on being skinny fat, you need to break through the media messaging.
The stereotype of the skinny fat person is the young model who manages to survive on bits of carrot and romaine lettuce and basically starves herself to the point of death in order to be skinny.
It is these images of young models that we are bombarded with daily that entice us to be thin at the expense of health.
Despite many years of feminists fighting against sexploitation of women in advertising and the media, things have gotten much worse.
Now, many young women practically strip themselves in public and declare it to be “empowering” to women. Just look at what happened to Miley Cyrus once she graduated from being Hannah Montana.
Her legacy will forever be the image of her in a flesh colored patent leather bikini, sexually groveling to Robin Thicke on television.
Miley Cyrus was as thin as a rail there. This gives a message to women, especially young girls, that you need to be super thin to be desirable.
Pick up any major women’s magazine today, and you will see airbrushed, skinny women on the cover. The exception may be Oprah’s magazine, since she puts herself on the cover.
When Bruce Jenner became Caitlyn, the outing was celebrated with an airbrushed picture of Caitlyn in a Playboy bunny suit on the cover of Vanity Fair.
It seems that all women, no matter what the age or origin, must be sexy to be “real women” these days.
The Business of Skinny Yoga
You would think that a more “enlightened” segment of the population would be immune to this, specifically, the world of holistic health, but that is just as bad.
Yoga Journal has been guilty of showcasing super skinny young women on its covers for years, despite complaints by subscribers. They are half-heartedly making a few adjustments, but not that many, as evidenced by the cover photo they include on their subscription page.
The world of Western yoga has been saturated by young women focused more on Instagram selfies of themselves in bikinis doing yoga poses. Forget about spiritual enlightenment, it’s about developing the perfect “yoga butt.”
In order to learn how to be healthy for your own body type, you must get past these images and messages that bombard you daily.
Then, you have to come up with a realistic plan to improve your health. If this means you gain a few pounds, you need to be okay with that.
It’s Not Just Women Though
Young men are also being put under more and more pressure to be thin. Fashion trends have been promoting this.
Do you think skinny jeans on men are something that goes well with being even slightly overweight? No, they don’t.
If you watch television, you may also be noticing an increasing trend of showing men with perfectly carved bodies taking their shirts off – or, showing off their bums. Now, at least if there is some muscle tone going on there, then maybe that actor is not “skinny fat.”
Still, if it’s encouraging you to crash diet, then it’s a message that is affecting you negatively.
Some Steps to Take to Get Healthy
Here are some things you can do to get healthier.
1. Stop Subscribing to Exploitative Magazines
As we have already mentioned, women’s magazines are a terrible force of women exploitation. These aren’t just the fashion magazines but can include women’s “health” magazines such as Yoga Journal.
Men’s media is not that much better.
Don’t read these magazines, either online or offline, in order to restore some sense of perspective in your brain.
2. Unsubscribe from Skinny Fat YouTube and Instagram Channels
If you (as a female) spend all day pouring over Instagram pictures of skinny women and their perfect thighs that supposedly never touch, then you are making yourself crazy. Stop it.
You are just making yourself feel bad about your own body. Nothing good can come from this.
3. Plan on Incorporating Moderate Exercise
You do not have to go running a marathon or become a championship downhill skier. But even just a light walk every day can help improve your health immeasurably.
If you have poor muscle tone, you may also benefit from light weight lifting. This is not difficult and can be done by people of almost every age and fitness level.
If you have an injury and need modifications to your exercise routine, consult a qualified physical therapist or yoga therapist to help you.
4. Quit the Crash Dieting
Dieting, especially starvation type diets, can really be bad for you if they don’t incorporate the calories and nutrients you really need to survive and thrive.
If you have really bad eating habits, and have screwed up your body with malnutrition, consider consulting with a registered dietician to help improve your diet.
5. Stop Eating Empty Calories
Now, it is likely if you are skinny fat that you don’t eat tons and tons of junk. Still, if your diet consists of a sugary donut in the morning, a few lettuce leaves for lunch, and a protein shake for dinner, you aren’t eating enough solid food.
You may think having iceberg lettuce for a snack is good for you, but it is not. Look for nutrient-dense foods, not just calorie-deficient foods.
6. Don’t Just Look at the Scale
The scale is deceptive in that the basic number it focuses on, weight, is not a good indicator of your health. You can have a low weight, but it may all be in the form of fat. Conversely, you could gain weight and have it be healthier lean muscle.
You can get better scales that do more than just measure weight. These digital scales can tell you what percentage of your weight happens to be body fat. This can help you determine whether you need to focus more on lean muscle building.
7. Step Away from the Computer
If you work at a computer all day, you could be seriously harming your health with your sedentary lifestyle. This is especially true if you are not getting any exercise in otherwise.
Now, think about what it is doing to your body if you sit in front of the computer for work all day and then come home and play video games all night. Do you think your body will thank you twenty years from now?
If you must be in front of the computer for long periods of time, try to schedule periods of standing up and stretching to make it less burdensome on your body.
8. Stop Smoking – All Smoking
While cigarettes may be losing steam as an acceptable pastime, marijuana is now the new cigarette. And guess what? The smoke from a marijuana joint has the many of the same types of toxins, bronchial irritants, and carcinogens as those found in cigarettes.
Smoking makes it harder to breath and that makes exercising more difficult. You are also not getting all the oxygen your body needs. You have a whole cascade of bad things happening to your body when you smoke, no matter what plant you are smoking (tobacco or marijuana).
Don’t Be Skinny Fat!
Sure, you might fit into that evening gown you wanted to wear, but is that worth risking the rest of your health?
The adage is true: It’s not what’s outside, but what’s inside that counts.
Take good care of your body, on the inside as well as the outside. This will give you a longer, healthier, happier life.