You’ve heard of fat-shaming. Have you heard of skinny-shaming? As ridiculous as it seems, this backlash against the body-obsessed media is just as bad as the ideals it criticizes. Especially because it’s focuses more on a person’s clothing size rather than their physical health. Newsflash: it’s 100% possible for a “fat” person to be perfectly healthy, and a “skinny” person to be dangerously unhealthy. How?
What’s a Healthy Weight?
The Body Mass Index (BMI) measures weight and height to estimate the percent of body fat a person has. BMI can be a useful measurement, but it doesn’t account for muscle mass or tone, so it can actually be very inaccurate as a baseline measurement of an individual’s health (ShapeScale). For example, a person can show a high BMI, even register as obese, because they have a lot of muscle that adds to their body weight. On the other hand, a perceived “skinny” person may have an optimal BMI, but actually has more fat under their skin than healthy muscle.
Say Hello to “Skinny-Fat”
It’s important never to judge a book by its cover, especially when it comes to fitness. A person’s appearance does not always indicate their cardiovascular health, strength, or endurance. A thin person can actually have a relatively high percentage of body fat that can negatively impact their health. This phenomenon can be worse for a person’s health because they appear healthy and therefore might not have as many food or fitness goals as someone who is heavier.
People who are skinny-fat are often malnourished from not eating a balanced diet. Missing muscle tone often indicates missing nutrients in the diet. This often the case for individuals who eat too many empty-calorie carbs and processed foods without quality protein (Blender Bottle). Attempting to restrict calories in an effort to correct the problem often only makes it worse.
The natural process of aging, a changing hormonal balance, and slowing metabolism is also a significant contributor to the skinny-fat body type.
Skinny-Fat and Obesity Have the Same Risks
Due to similarities in lifestyle and muscle-to-fat ratios, skinny-fat people are often at risk for the same diseases that are associated with obesity: heart disease, diabetes, stroke, etc. So stop envying your friend who looks thin despite a sedentary lifestyle and eating whatever they want — there’s a good chance that you are healthier than they are.
Looks Aren’t Everything
The most important thing to remember is that you are beautiful! When you feel beautiful you are more likely to maintain a healthier lifestyle. Don’t be fooled by whatever you may see in the mirror, or even a normal BMI; know yourself from the inside out and strive toward a healthy you physically and mentally — no matter what the scale says.