In a recent attempt to improve my health, I have been munching on more veggies, which has resulted in me looking thinner. Consequently, I have been getting a lot of ‘you’re so skinny!’ ‘compliments.’ I have no objections to looking thin, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with being skinny, but health should come first. Being skinny shouldn’t be a compliment, but being healthy should be.
Because being bigger is such a stigma, people (especially women) tend to associate being skinny with being healthy, but that’s not always the case. There is such a thing as skinny fat. What does that mean? It means that although a person has a normal body mass index (BMI) and may look thin, they have an unhealthy amount of body fat, sometimes that of an obese person. In the end, someone who is overweight but works out frequently and eats healthy may be in better shape than someone who is naturally thin but sits on the couch and eats potato chips.
To avoid skinny fat but more importantly to help you stay strong and flexible for the rest of your life, the key is to exercise and not cut too many calories when dieting. When you do cardio exercises and lift weights, you’re building the muscle mass needed to fight internal fat, build strong bones, keep your heart healthy and your cholesterol down. However, if to lose weight you go on a diet that severely restricts your caloric intake, you could be keeping the fat but losing the muscle. In the end, that will leave you weaker and put you at a higher risk for obesity-related diseases like diabetes, even if you have a low BMI.
So the next time you see a friend who appears to have trimmed down, before you compliment them on their thinner size, just remember it’s what’s on the inside that counts. And what’s on the inside might not be so healthy.