More and more research supports the fact that skinny and healthy are not necessarily simultaneous occurrences. The term “skinny-fat” is being used to describe people who are within the healthy range for BMI, but actually have an unhealthy body fat to muscle ratio.
Research shows that you can be at a healthy weight and appear thin, while having enough body fat to actually fall into the category of obese. Normal weight obesity is becoming more and more prevalent, and is fed by diets that promote extreme weight loss without exercise or other positive lifestyle changes.
The risks of normal weight obesity are the same as those of obesity as it is traditionally defined: inflammation throughout the body, increased risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, and more. You may look healthy on the outside, and be unhealthy on the inside. 30 Million Americans are in the normal weight obesity category. To see what skinny fat looks like check out this video: Today Show: Skinny Fat In this video they show two women who look fantastic! However, once is obese based on her body fat percentage, and the other is incredibly healthy.
How can you tell if you are “skinny-fat?” The skin fold test is a more accurate measure than BMI calculations. Most gyms can do this test for you. Also, scales that measure your body fat percentage can be useful. There is some margin of error with these devices (sometimes up to 4%), however, the important thing to note is change in that % over time. You can be aware of both increases and decreases in your body fat over time. This can lead to positive changes in your health.
Underwater weighing is one of the best methods of measuring body fat.
Remember, your weight is not an accurate measure of your health! Take into account your physical fitness, the way your clothes fit, your muscle tone, and the way you look naked. Look into getting a body fat measurement.
The last time I went to the doctor he looked at the weight recorded on my chart, did a double take, and asked if I was sure that was right. I told him that I was sure, the nurse had just weighed me, and he said “You look really tiny to weight that much!” My response was a smile and “I’m really muscular.”