How to Tell if You’re “Skinny Fat”

Skinny fat woman smiling for the camera

People come in all shapes and sizes. While some people are naturally thin, others seem to put on weight simply by looking at a cupcake. If you are someone who’s been able to maintain a healthy weight with very little effort, you probably think that you are automatically healthy too. Unfortunately, the reality is that when it comes to your health, the mirror and your scales only tell you part of the story.


There is a new phenomenon that’s causing many seemingly healthy people to make changes to their lifestyle. Known as ‘skinny fat’ or ‘normal-weight obesity’ it’s estimated to affect up to a quarter of people who have a BMI that falls in the ‘healthy’ range, and who have been lulled into a false sense of security about their health.

What is ‘skinny fat’ and what causes it?


‘Skinny fat’ is the term used to describe someone who, on paper, appears healthy, but who actually has high levels of body fat and inflammation that put them at high risk of developing health issues.


Unfortunately, many people who seem to be able to maintain a healthy weight with little effort also have a fairly sedentary lifestyle, since they don’t need to exercise regularly to keep their weight under control. This can lead to a loss of muscle mass but gaining fat instead. While their BMI may be in the healthy range, they can still have a higher percentage of body fat than is considered healthy for their body.  


People who are ‘skinny fat’ are often at risk of developing the same health issues as someone who is overweight or obese – including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. However, since they look healthy, unless they undergo blood tests to check for such conditions, they are unlikely to be diagnosed.


Am I ‘skinny fat’?


You can’t tell if someone is healthy just by looking at them. Even someone who is slim has the potential to be carrying more body fat than is recommended for them. Some of the indicators that you could be ‘skinny fat’ include:

  • Having a high waist circumference measurement. If it’s greater than or equal to 35 inches, you could have excess fat.

  • You don’t get regular exercise.

  • You don’t eat a healthy, balanced diet but you still appear lean or a healthy size.

  • You have been relying on your BMI to tell you you’re healthy.

The best way to tell if you are ‘skinny fat’ is to get a body composition scan from a reputable clinic.

What is a body composition monitor?

A body composition monitor is one of the latest developments in measuring body fat. This non-invasive device provides information about your body fat percentage, visceral fat, body mass index (BMI), skeletal muscle, resting metabolism, body age and body weight, and are invaluable in evaluating and identifying whether someone is ‘skinny fat’. If you then seek treatment such as red light therapy for stubborn fat or weight loss, a body composition can show you the visible progress of your treatment program.


How Red Light Therapy Helps With Weight Loss


Red light therapy helps patients to lose weight by boosting their body’s energy production at a cellular level. This helps to reduce oxidative stress – something which has been shown to be a common denominator in patients who have the inflammation and excess fat that characterizes ‘skinny fat’.


Red light energy is also able to break down fat, liquefying it so that it can pass out of the fat cells and be metabolized by the body. The fat cells subsequently shrink, which then changes the appearance of the body, minimizing the appearance of cellulite and other loose, wobbly areas in a way that is comparable to conventional liposuction. The combination of these two effects can help patients to lose weight, improve their body shape and reduce the risks of health problems associated with ‘skinny fat’.


If you are concerned about being ‘skinny fat’, you can benefit from a complimentary body composition as part of the consultation process at our clinic. To schedule an appointment, call Sarasota Laser Lipo at 941-241-0500 to reach our office in Sarasota, Florida.

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