We all have that one friend whom we’re secretly envious of.
You know the one.
They can eat whatever they want, whenever they want and still have a seemingly lean and healthy physique.
However, something many people don’t recognize is that skinny does not mean healthy.
“As long as I look good on the outside, then that’s all that matters!” Not so fast.
It is a common misconception that if your weight or body mass index (BMI) is in the normal range, you are fit and have nothing to worry about.
But just looking the part doesn’t necessarily mean you fit it.
The concept of being “skinny fat,” is one that is taking over our society and proving to have many dangerous health problems.
What is Skinny Fat?
Backing up just a little bit, let’s talk anatomy for a second.
There are two different types of fat – subcutaneous fat and visceral fat.
Subcutaneous fat is the kind that gets stored under the skin and is the kind that people can visibly see.
Visceral fat, however, develops in the abdominal cavity, wraps around intestines and liver and gets stored around the organs.
Visceral fat is worse of the two fats because it’s sneaky and hard to see.
Now, a certain amount of body fat is needed for organ insulation, hormone production and thermoregulation, but too much of this fat is detrimental. 
The medical term for those who are considered skinny fat is “metabolically obese normal weight” or “MONW”.
This is classified when an individual is over their fat range but under in lean muscle, meaning there is not enough muscle to fat ratio.
On the outside, they look thin and healthy, but internally, their body composition is unbalanced.
Your weight alone cannot determine whether or not you are considered healthy.
Instead, getting your body composition analyzed is a much better indicator of overall health and balance.
How Does One Become Skinny Fat?
It’s true that your genetics play a part in the amount of visceral fat you carry, but your diet and exercise levels are huge factors as well.
Here’s the timeline that leads to this type of body:
Poor nutrition/Exercise => Loss of muscle mass => Decrease of metabolic rate => Gain of fat due to eating more calories than your body burns
The body is very responsive when it comes to the prevention of dangerous fat buildup.
There is a chemical feedback response that occurs, called the brain and body connection, that helps maintain our weight and prevents (or makes us more susceptible) to visceral fat storage.
Insulin, an important body hormone, balances blood sugar levels and controls weight, appetite and mood.
It also corresponds to fat storage.
When we eat refined foods, bad carbs or processed and sugary ingredients, glucose enters our bloodstream at an alarming rate.
This trigger the pancreas to release a large amount of insulin which results in weight gain and fat storage.
When one’s diet is high in fat, carbs and sugar and low on essential vitamins and minerals, it’s a guaranteed way to gain fat and lose muscle.
Especially, if there is no physical fitness being involved.
Since muscle mass decreases when they are not being worked, without proper exercise skeletal muscle decreases and fat mass increases as your mobility becomes more and more limited.
This is a trend that is found mostly in women than men, due to the commonly misleading diet and excises advice given to females.
Some factors leading to skinny fat include:
- Excessive cardio
- Unnecessary restriction of calories
- Minimal to no weight training with stress on high-repetition style of training
The Dangers of Being Skinny Fat
People who are skinny fat, although may have an average weight or might even be underweight, tend to suffer from some health problems.
This is because a majority of the fat held in these individuals is visceral fat and is located around and within organs.
In fact, it’s argued that being “thin on the outside, fat on the inside” or “TOFI” is more dangerous than being obese.
Those who are TOFI have the metabolic makeup of a pre-diabetic obese individual and tend to suffer from some health complications such as :
- Heart Disease
- High Blood Sugar
- Sexual Dysfunction
- Low Muscle Mass
Danish researchers have found that women who have visceral fat and abdominal fat have a higher risk of atherosclerosis.
Compared to those who store fat primarily in their hips, buttocks and thighs.
This is because the proximity of visceral far to your liver increases the LDL cholesterol levels in the body which forms in the arteries and develops into plaque.
This causes inflammation of the arteries and restricts blood flow; this increases blood pressure that strains the heart and damages capillaries.
This further enhances the risk of blood clots and stroke. 
Visceral fat is toxic to the body’s inflammation response.
Fat tissues act as their own organ by secreting hormones and various inflammatory substances, but having an excess bold up around organs results in a higher production of chemicals that lead to high inflammation.
It also interferes with hormones that regulate mood, weight, brain function, energy expenditure and appetite.
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO TO Get Rid of Skinny Fat
If you want to overcome and/or avoid becoming skinny fat, you must improve your overall body composition.
You do this by doing the following:
1. Start Doing Resistance Training
Especially training that includes compound exercises and heavy resistance helps build lean body mass and skeletal muscle.
By increasing the amount of lean muscle mass, you are also increasing your resting metabolic rate, or Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR).
The higher BMR, the more calories you burn without exercising. This helps you stay lean while still blasting away that unwanted visceral fat.
The trick is to find the right balance between resistance training and cardio.
This => plan shows how you can do it effectively for maximum results.
2. Ditch the Endurance Training
Spending hours and hours slaving away on the treadmill won’t help you too much on the journey to developing muscle.
In fact, it could counteract the muscle building effects of your weight lifting.
3. Make Sure You’re Eating Enough Protein
Protein is the building block of muscle and is crucial to tissue repair.
It helps the body stay energized and fit because it takes a much longer time to digest than other nutrients, so it keeps you fuller longer and helps fight cravings.
4. Eat Your Calories, Don’t Drink Them
Put down the soda, alcohol, and sugar-filled lattes. These are a waste of carbs and calories that you could be consuming through nutrient-filled options.
5. Cut out the Packaging
Try and reduce the amount of packaged foods you consume and aim to eat a clean diet.
Processed foods are jam-packed with chemicals and ingredients that can’t even be pronounced.
If you need a chemistry degree to read a label, you probably shouldn’t put it into your body.
6. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Aim for at least 2 liters of water per day.
This helps flush toxins, keep cells hydrated and keep your digestive tract running properly!
Also, a lot of times thirst is misconstrued as hunger, by drinking more water you discourage the tendency to snack and therefore cut down overall calorie and fat consumption.
Understand the facts and remember, health is always the most attractive quality.
Don’t aim to be skinny, aim to be healthy! 🙂