Are You Skinny Fat?

(Photo: Getty)


Here’s the skinny on being skinny: it isn’t everything it seems.


You know that annoyingly skinny friend you have whose diet consists solely of breads, pastas, sugars, sodas, and she doesn’t lift a finger for any sort of physical exercise, and she’s STILL obnoxiously skinny? Meanwhile, you catch a mere glimpse of a donut out of the corner of your eye and instantaneously gain three pounds.

As maddening as it is, there are times when you shouldn’t be envious of your skinny friends’ physiques. (Unless you are friends with a Victoria’s Secret model, then yes, you should absolutely be jealous and you are allowed to hate her a little bit.)

As if we needed more ammunition to preach the case for being FIT over being SKINNY (by the way, we love that Lauren Conrad banned that word from her website), more and more research points to the dangers of being “skinny fat.”

First, what it means.

The medical term for it is “MONW,” or metabolically obese normal weight… aka, skinny fat. It basically means you have more fat than muscle, especially belly fat.

What’s worse, being skinny fat carries higher risk for Type 2 diabetes, with studies showing that nearly 1 in 4 skinny people have pre-diabetes and are considered “metabolically obese.”

Crazy, right? Once again, now more than ever it’s apparent that the number on the scale doesn’t mean anything if you are thin and out of shape.

Second, how to diagnose it.

So are you a skinny fat person? You can reference certain criteria like your family history of Type 2 diabetes or early onset of heart disease, as well as have your doctor perform these blood tests:

  • Fasting blood sugar or glucose (normal less than 90 mg/dl)
  • Triglycerides (normal less than 100 mg/dl)
  • HDL (good cholesterol (normal greater than 60 mg/dl)
  • Blood pressure (normal less than 120/80, ideal less than 115/75)

Want more proof? Here are two more special tests you doctor can do to help you identify the issue:

  • An insulin response test
  • NMR Lipid Particle Test

Lastly, the cure.

  1. Eat a low-glycemic diet (lean animal protein, nuts, seeds, beans, veggies, fruits, grains)
  2. Amp up the protein (start your day with protein and at each meal)
  3. Don’t drink your calories
  4. Avoid white flour
  5. Curb consumption of processed foods
  6. Incorporate healthy fats (salmon, olive oil, walnuts, sardines, avocado)
  7. Get moving (a mix of cardio and strength training is essential)
  8. Sleep (7 to 8 hours a night)

Here’s to being FIT and fabulous, Womanistas!