Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
15 Nov

Skinny-Fat

Ladies, I’m concerned about the skinny-fat among us. You know what I’m talking about. Skinny-fat women might look nice in a v-neck, but they’d sooner crawl into a hole than expose an upper arm or leg.

This is what happens when you become “skinny fat” instead of genuinely lean and fit (where the muscle and fat are fairly evenly distributed and you have a lot less cellulite). While you can’t fight your body’s natural shape, you can certainly maximize what you’ve got. What I’m talking about is the difference between curvy and super-fit Gabby Reece or Evangeline Lilly and certain starving-yet-sagging starlets (I won’t name names, mainly because there are too many these days and who can be bothered to keep track).

gabby

Skinny-fatness strikes women a lot more than men. I think this is mainly because men aren’t afraid of lifting weights to lose weight (and, to be fair, men naturally do have so much more muscle and far less fat). We women, on the other hand, evidently prefer inventing bizarre and complicated diet regimens revolving around arcane preparation rituals, subsistence on one food group or arbitrary calorie limits (whoever said women were bad at math has never met a woman 2 weeks before her high school reunion or 2 days before a date).

Simply dieting will eliminate weight, but it won’t tone anything. And because of our unique feminine physiology, the fat cells in our lower body are world-class clingers.

But before you get too depressed about the latest Kate Moss advertisement, consider this: I’m bringing this up because skinny-fatness is about a lot more than physical appearance. In fact, your dress size has nothing on the bigger issue – health. The good news: simply being skinny is not akin to being healthy. In fact, the skinnier you get, the more you’re at risk for things like osteoporosis! (There I go beating that llama again.)

The less muscle you have, the less work your bones have to do, and they begin to shed that incredibly valuable osseous material: your bones, which are, in fact, living tissues directly related to your blood, immune system, strength, longevity – even your mood. You know how coral reefs are actually living organisms that provide all sorts of vital and irreplaceable functions to the fish and plants and water surrounding them? Your bones are your body’s coral reef. You have to feed them, and weight-bearing activity = food for bones. In this country of aerobic fanatics and serial dieters, is it any wonder American women have such high rates of osteoporosis and a perpetual state of skinny-fatness? I watched my own mother live on Tab and jazzercise during the early 80s, and now, faced with bone trouble, she’ll be the first to tell you: lift something! Who wants to look like Nicole Ritchie, now seriously? I’d rather look like Evangeline!

evangeline

There’s only ONE solution to the problems we women face: osteoporosis, beach season, and the belly that won’t budge. The solution is weight-bearing activity. Aerobics will get your heart pumping and burn some calories, but it won’t maximize your shape. Dieting will help you shed excess weight, which is great for increasing your energy and reducing chances of myriad health conditions and diseases. But neither will make you look toned and sleek, and neither will do much to put a dent in your osteoporosis risk.

Are you lifting some weights yet? Get to it!

dumbbells

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Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. And most of you are under 30 and under 130 lbs.doing the skinny.fat psycho thing.stop trying to be like someone else.work with your bodies as they are.you are not going to lose weight if your bodies are already mostly muscle.muscle weighs more than fat.we as women need to get OFF this twisted idea of what we should look like.all of the women of the past 50yrs ago were gorgeous and they weren’t skinny Mae west,Marilyn Monroe,lolobridgida, and lots of others

    KaitteMurry wrote on April 4th, 2012
  2. 80% of your physical results will come from your nutrition.

    20% of your physical results will come from exercise.

    piefrog wrote on April 11th, 2012
  3. Cool article! I guess I have been skinny fat most of my life. 5’6″ 115 pounds. I am now more like 112 pounds, my butt is still not firm haha. But yeah since starting this diet and exercise I have a 6pack for the first time in my life, and I am really getting there when it comes to having a very toned body. I am also hoping my breasts get bigger on this diet. My body seems to slowly be balancing itself out. (I have always been pear shaped.) I know I am a little underweight when it comes to BMI, but I have delicate frame, and I eat a ton and work out and feel healthier than ever! Looking forward to see how my genes respond over a longer period of time. :)

    Cristina wrote on May 24th, 2012
  4. I totally agree w/the skinny fat syndrome. I see it all the time. BUT, even though you mention Jazzercise in the 80′s, please realize it has totally changed. I am a Jazzercise instructor and there is approx 25 min of strength along with some stretching at the end of the cardio section (a class is anywhere from 55-60 min long). It is a lot of fun and I encourage anyone to give it a try as part of their activity.

    Debbie wrote on May 31st, 2012
  5. I’m already muscular as I am an athlete. I’m not skinny fat at all. However, I would like to decrease my overall weight a bit. I want to be a better endurance runner and my weight with fat and muscle weighs me down. (5’3 135lbs) I’m afraid if I get too thin, I will lose my great 36D breasts. Did any of you ladies lose cup sizes from getting too fit?? Years ago when I was 113lbs I had a C cup but I was a teenager and maybe not fully developed yet. I DO NOT want to go back down to that.

    Lilly wrote on June 5th, 2012
  6. Mark, the last time I checked, men don’t like women with A cup breasts and the form of a 12 year old boy. I’m thin but not disgustingly so. My gender is obvious to all.

    Lilly wrote on June 15th, 2012
  7. Lilly you don’t sound thin or athletic, in fact with a 36 bra band on a 5’3 body, you are probably big boned. Also, with a large breast size like that, yes you are at the very least skinny fst, if not fat fat. Boobs ARE fat, and giant boobs make women look even fatter. A C cup is the perfect size, maybe a small 32 or 34 D at most.

    shut up wrote on July 13th, 2012
  8. Oh for Gods sake, will you people please go and get a personality… instead of worrying if you are (WTF) skinny and fat at the same time.
    Stop believing the BS.

    RobertJH wrote on December 7th, 2012
  9. Epitome of skinny fat guys! At 5″2′, I’m 118lbs but I can get smaller, I know! Flabby arms, lower belly fat, thighs and butt too large for my petite frame…
    I’m dieting, but what sorta workouts should I do? I have no access to gyms either. Am I doomed?

    Nina wrote on April 23rd, 2013
  10. Eight weeks ago I went to Canyon Ranch and had a Dexa scan. The results – I’m skinny fat. Here’s how I recovered from the shock and got to work!

    http://jennyonthepage.blogspot.com/2013/07/on-being-skinny-fat.html

    Jenny Block wrote on July 29th, 2013
  11. I was once “skinny fat.” I gained weight in my middle that no amount of Crossfit, paleo eating or cardio would touch. At 5’6: tall, I weighed 128 pounds which you would think is normal but I had 38% body fat and a 31.5 ” waist. I had my body fat tested once at a local gym in a Bodpod (very accurate to my dismay) and then again at the University of Virginia’s Exercise and Physiology Lab in a Bodpod again. Basically obese!
    I was told over and over again I was going through menopause and there was nothing I could do about my large waist. I sought out a homeopathic doctor for help. I found one and she said I was SO toxic that for all my healthy eating I was basically putting nutrition on top of garbage.
    She explained to me the toxins were the reason I couldn’t lose weight in my middle. My fat was protecting my organs from the toxins. The homeopathic doctor told me to stop taking all the supplements I had been taking and begin a nutritional cleansing program she recommended and see her in 30 days.
    After 30 days of following the nutritional cleansing program, I went back to see the doctor, I’d lost a few pounds but 3 1/2 inches off my waist!! My waist is where I had been holding me weight for along time and I was very excited!! Plus went down to a more normal 28% body fat. She said my cells were cleaner and ready for the mercury chelators.
    My boyfriend did the nutritional cleansing program with me to support me. He lost 44 pounds in two months. He tells me he feels 20 years younger! Losing weight is not what nutritional cleansing is for but it is a side effect if you are toxic and holding on to visceral fat. For me, I wanted inches gone more than weight loss. I wanted muscle and not fat around my organs.
    I am really excited about sharing my knowledge with others in hopes that I can help people who had excessive visceral fat in their middle like me. margaretmsn@gmail.com

    Maurie wrote on January 18th, 2014
  12. Women should never go below 15% body fat. They can lose their ability to have children and stop having periods and other hormonal problems. Women were designed to carry more fat. I dont mean its okay to have a big belly or anything. But a woman should never be as lean as man could be. They should never have 6 pack abdominal look. That is not normal or natural for the female form. It looks manly. That is very dangerous health wise. Drew Barrymore is ideal weight and is considered “fat” but she is the right weight and looks healthy. Its really sickening.

    Meade wrote on January 26th, 2014
  13. How is it good news that being skinny equates to not being necessarily healthy ???????? !!!#!#

    anurag wrote on April 28th, 2014
  14. 4ft, 10in. 85lbs. I’m anorexic and still flabby. I still have a pot-bellied look mainly because I sit around a lot. Weight loss for me was mainly diet (eliminated fatty foods, eliminated a lot of protein) and walking. Lots of walking and walking. Being skinny without fat

    Sarah wrote on May 28th, 2014

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