top of page

The Skinny on Skinny Fat – by Christina Ryckman

There is a misleading perception that skinny people are healthy and over weight people aren’t.  Surprisingly enough…. skinny people can also be fat and unhealthy too.  I came across two great articles while researching this topic and condensed them below.

To understand what skinny fat is, you first have to understand how we measure obesity. There are two ways that weight and fat are commonly measured. The first is the BMI index, and the second is Body Fat Percentage. The BMI index, which is most commonly used, is a measure of WEIGHT, not of FAT. The BMI is a ranged index that takes in account someone’s weight relative to their height, and gives it a score. A BMI score of 18.5-24.9 is considered a healthy weight range, while 25-30 is considered overweight, and 30+ is considered obese The common wisdom is that if you are overweight and considering freezing fat, you are unhealthy, and if you are thin, you are healthy.  But new research points to just how dangerous being skinny can be – if you are a skinny fat person that is.

The second way we measure fat is through a person’s Body Fat Percentage. BF% is the percent of a person’s total weight that is made up by fat deposits. BF% is a harder number to measure than BMI, as to be measured effectively, it usually needs to be done by either calipers or by someone who can professionally measure them for you. You can also measure BF% by using special scales or online calculators, but the accuracy of those methods are questionable.

Description  Women     Men Essential fat  10–13%    2–5% Athletes        14–20%    6–13% Fitness          21–24%    14–17% Average          25–31%    18–24% Obese            32%+       25%+

The medical term for this is “MONW” or metabolically obese normal weight, which I prefer to refer to as being a skinny fat person.  It means you are under lean but over fat – not enough muscle and too much fat (especially belly fat.)  It seems it is better to be fat and fit than thin and out of shape.

The Cure for the Skinny Fat Syndrome

The cure for the skinny fat syndrome is the same as the cure for someone who is overweight with diabetes.

It is quite simple actually.

  1. Eat a Low-Glycemic Load Diet – lean animal protein (chicken, fish,and eggs), nuts, seeds, beans, vegetables, fruit, and small amounts of non-gluten grains.

  2. Power Up with Protein – start the day with protein and at each meal. This makes your metabolism run hotter and cuts hunger. Incorporate eggs, protein shakes, nuts, seeds, chicken, or fish.

  3. Don’t Drink Your Calories  – no sodas, juices, sweetened drinks and no more than 3-4 glasses of wine or alcohol a week with meals.

  4. Avoid the Deadly White Powder or Flour – including gluten-free flour products. Even whole grain flour acts like sugar in your body.

  5. Beware of Frankenfood – factory-made foods are often science projects with fake ingredients including MSG (which causes ravenous hunger and is hidden as “natural flavoring”,) high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, preservatives, and chemicals.

  6. Eat from the Right Plant – if it was made in a plant stay away, if it was grown on a plant it is probably ok.

  7. Get an Oil Change  – eat omega-3 fat rich foods including sardines and wild salmon and avoid refined and processed vegetable oils except olive oil.

  8. Get Going and Get Strong:  both cardio and strength training are key. Cardio builds fitness and improves metabolism and strength training builds muscle so you won’t be a skinny fat person.

  9. Take Supplements: they grease the wheels of your metabolism and help burn calories, and balance blood sugar.  A good multivitamin, fish oil (EPA/DHA,) and vitamin D do the trick for 95% of people.

  10. Protect Sleep Time: sleep deprivation alters metabolism and increases cravings for carbs and sugar. Sleep is sacred. Make your bedroom a sleeping temple with the ที่นอน mattress and stay there for 7 to 8 hours a night.

These latest facts are alarming because  those of us who think we get a pass because we are thin need to take a second look at our health.  You can still be skinny and sick and be metabolically obese – which in the end may be even more dangerous.

The good news is that this is a solvable problem.  Getting tested and working through the 10 steps to being a skinny healthy person is a scientifically proven, effective way to change your biology quickly. And the side effects are all good – increased energy, better sleep and….. even better sex! (gasp)


bottom of page