Body Composition: Can You be 'Skinny Fat'?
Sounds kind of strange, but your weight or appearance are not the only indicators of health. Losing muscle mass and increasing fat mass can occur if you have a poor diet or are being sedentary.
“Skinny Fat” is a term used when we look skinny or of a normal weight and seem healthy, yet still have a high body fat composition with its associated health issues. To be clear, this is when you may have a normal weight and BMI, yet have more fat and not enough muscle optimal for health.
Skinny fat linked to many health issues
“Skinny Fat” is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, lower bone mineral density, lower cognitive function and other health issues. It is also can cause poor functional abilities due to the low muscle mass and strength. This can be anything from tying your shoes, getting up from sitting or lying down, carrying items - basically any physical activities as you go about your day.
Sadly, American culture is largely to blame for the perfect storm to become “skinny fat”: Prolonged sitting, eating an unhealthy diet and getting little or no exercise. Muscle mass also is affected if you don’t exercise correctly. One example: if you severely cut calories and add large amounts of cardiovascular exercise and skimp on strength training, you lose weight at the expense of both fat and muscle loss. In other words, “skinny fat.”
Eat right and strength train for optimal health
To overcome being “skinny fat” and improving your health and body composition it is important to both eat the appropriate types and amounts of protein and to regularly strength train. With increased muscle mass you burn more calories at rest but even more important, you increase your functional abilities thus leading to less fatigue, more activity and more calories burned. This also leads to a more enjoyable and satisfying life!
If you’d like to know your body composition, a trained professional has several methods available to do so. Body composition can be measured via skin calipers, hydrostatic weighing, DEXA and with a bioelectrical impedance analysis device (BIA).
Bryan Bariatric Advantage and LifePointe have staff trained in methods to measure and explain your body composition along with the ability to help you with nutrition and exercise programs to maximize your body composition.