What does it means to be skinny fat? How dangerous is it for you? How can you learn to protect yourself?

I found this topic really interesting because, as a health coach I encounter women in midlife who are so proud of the fact that they’ve never had a weight problem their whole lives. “I am already at my ideal weight,” they love to tell me.

I know that we live in a culture that bombards us with diet plans designed to help us lose weight and finally live the magical lives waiting on the other side. Because we have been brainwashed to think that the skinnier we are, the healthier we are- and that is simply not true.

While so many women between the ages of 40-59 look absolutely fabulous in their clothes, they could still have a high percentage of body fat compared to lean muscle, which can lead to osteoporosis the weakening of the bones, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes

The medical term for being skinny fat is metabolically obese normal weight or MONW or normal weight obesity, it occurs when women who are normal weight or underweight, are inactive, have an imbalanced fat to muscle ratio, or who partake of a diet high in fat and sugar.

These women could have a higher percentage of visceral fat, which is extremely dangerous, it can settle around organs and the abdominal cavity. 

Dr. Mark Hyman, the author of The Blood Sugar Solution 10 Day Detox Diet, defines the phenomenon this way, “Skinny-fat means just what it sounds like: You look thin but inside you are fat. You’ve got organ fat (the more dangerous type of fat) coating your liver, kidneys, and other organs. You are under-lean but over-fat, meaning not enough muscle and too much fat (especially belly fat).”

How can you tell if you are skinny fat ?  Ask yourself the following question:

  • Is weight training part of your exercise routine?
  • Are you getting 150 minutes of heart-pumping cardio each week?
  • Is your daily food consumption high in processed foods, sugar, carbs, and low in protein-rich foods?
  • Do you suffer from fatigue, the inability to focused, or concentrate for long periods?
  • Do you suffer from inflammation?
  • Do you have excess fat around your middle?

If you answered yes, to one or all of these questions, you could be suffering from MONW.  The only way to know for sure is to see your doctor.  Make sure that in addition to checking your glucose level and cholesterol that he/she checks your percentage of body fat to ensure that your body fat percentage is within the acceptable range.

As I mentioned before, some of the dangers of being skinny fat are osteoporosis, or weakening of the bones, heart disease, and diabetes.  Some other risks include muscle deterioration; if you are not strength training a minimum of three times per week, ladies you should be weight training.  Remember building lean muscle will help us to burn more calories and get us to our wellness goals.  If you are not sure where to start, shoot me an email at wtylwellness@gmail.com.  I would happy to help you get started.

The other thing I want you to watch out for is not visible to the naked eye; it is the decline of your mental health.  While being skinny does not automatically mean you are in good health, it also does not automatically mean that you are happy.  If you are not physically active, you’re subjecting yourself to a poor diet, and combating health issues, in time this could affect your mental health.  Depression and anxiety are just two of the diagnoses that I’ve seen in the past ten years as a mental health practitioner, health coach, and women’s health advocate.

So, what can you do to turn MONW around?  First, schedule an appointment to see your doctor today.  A little tip, because we know that doctors do not have a lot of time to sit with us to discuss our concerns be prepared.  Write down what you would like to discuss, mention it to the nurse when she takes your vitals so that she can put it in your medical chart.  The other four tips I have for you are:

  • Exercise regularly- according to the Centers for Disease Control, you should be getting 150 minutes of heart-pumping exercise each week.  That’s just 30 minutes five times per week.  Lace-up your trainers that’s what they call sneakers in the UK, can you tell I have been watching a lot of Britbox.  Put on your favorite podcast, which is this one of course, and go for a walk around your neighborhood, on your lunch break, or at the gym on the treadmill.
  • Include weight training:  your exercise routine should include three days of weight training.  Make sure that you are lifting weights that are heavy enough to break down the muscle tissue.  If you can do three sets of ten with ease, its time to lift heavier weights.
  • Plan your meals:  I’m not talking about dieting but planning what you will eat each day.  Making sure that your menu includes servings of fruit and fresh vegetables, lean proteins such as salmon, chicken, for you vegans/vegetarians, your protein choices can consist of beans, lentils, and whole grains, just to name a few.
  • Manage your stress:  high levels of stress are not suitable for your mental or physical health.  Physically it produces chemicals that force your body to hang on to visceral fat, remember that is the bad fat that clings to your organs and deposits itself into your belly. Exercise is a great way to reduce stress and boost your mental health, as is meditation or prayer which can be done anytime throughout the day.  And if at all possible, simply avoid stressful situations.  You do not have to provide the answer to everyone’s problem.

The good news is that just by making simple lifestyle changes, you can change your life and live the life you deserve.  You have control!

The first step to getting healthy is merely acknowledging that there is a need. Too many of us are walking around with undiagnosed ailments, and that has to stop if we want to meet/exceed our wellness goals.

Share this post with someone you love, and don’t forget to check out our free Facebook group, The Courageous Women’s Network, to get the love and support you need to maintain the faith and keep you moving forward. 

I will talk to you guys soon; remember you are stronger than you give yourself credit and more blessed than you know. 

Join the group: https://buff.ly/2AKoTIB

If you are looking for a group of women who understand what it’s like to struggle through hot flashes, hormonal surges, and hard to lose belly fat.  Join the Courageous Women’s Network our free Facebook group, in this group, you will receive love, support, and a little kick in the pants when you needed.  Plus, you’ll get outstanding training from me that will help you cut out the guesswork and get to your wellness goals.


Save the Date! November 24th, I will be opening the doors to join the Courageous Women’s Network Academy.  You can work with me and learn how to exponentially increase your self-love and self-care because losing weight is only half the battle. 

Talk soon,


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