Diet, health and fitness tips for average women. Site created and maintained by Ann Chihak Poff.

Skinny doesn’t mean healthy

This is me in front of the Pope Mobile in Germany in June 2006 just a few months before I went on Weight Watchers.

I used to be considered skinny. I hate that term. To me it has a negative connotation.

According to Merriam-Webster, skinny means lacking sufficient flesh, very thin, emaciated; lacking usual or desirable bulk, quantity, qualities or significance.

But it seems like so many of us strive to be skinny. Why is that? Why do we think this looks better than this?

So here is the skinny on skinny …

A skinny person can have a high metabolism. So they think they can eat anything they want and they won’t gain weight. (That used to be me. I could eat or drink pretty much whatever I wanted and not gain weight.) But that doesn’t mean that skinny person is healthy.

Have you heard the term skinny fat? Skinny fat means a person looks thin but has a high body fat percentage. That can be dangerous.

Someone who ingests a lot of fat and calories and carbohydrates can have health issues. Someone who eats too much fat can be at risk for heart disease. Too many carbs can contribute to conditions such as Type 2 Diabetes, according to Livestrong.

When the wellness program started at work the first thing we did to launch it was to have our numbers checked: blood pressure; active lifestyle heart rate; glucose; cholesterol; Body Mass Index (BMI); and waist to height ratio (WHtR).

My numbers were pretty much in the desirable/healthy range. My blood pressure was a little high. After I got my results I sat down with a nurse to discuss my results. She told me because the rest of my numbers were so great that she wasn’t concerned with the blood pressure, especially since it wasn’t really high–just at the cusp of it. (And because a pin prick was involved and any sort of needle scares me it probably raised my blood pressure a little.)

Here I am showing off the 30+ pounds I lost in the same outfit I wore in front of the Pope Mobile about a year before. I am thinner here, but not skinny.

The reason my numbers are so good is because I eat healthy (the nurse told me she could tell I did with my low cholesterol numbers) and I exercise regularly. (Genes can help as well.)

She also told my body type (pear shape) is the healthiest body type. According to a study done in the UK, having more weight or fat or whatever you want to call it in the butt/hips/thigh area (than the waist) suggests some extra protection against diabetes, heart disease and other health problems associated with obesity. Dr. Robert Kushner, a professor medicine specializing in obesity at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, said belly fat is dangerous because, “it is more metabolically active.”

A healthy lifestyle keeps all foods in moderation. We need fat, we need calories, we need carbohydrates, we need protein … But we need all of these in moderation. Too much or too little of anything can be bad for our bodies.

And we also need exercise.

I like to eat and I like to drink. I am willing to keep the majority of it in moderation. But I still like to splurge and eat out and enjoy my food. But I know my limitations and that I need to exercise.

And I know I want to stay healthy and keep my weight manageable, my cholesterol and blood pressure in check as well as my glucose. Type 2 Diabetes runs on both sides of my family. So staying healthy is important for me.


3 Responses to “Skinny doesn’t mean healthy”

  1. Jen Says:

    I really like this post! It’s so important to keep in mind (especially when losing weight) that the goal is “healthy”, not necessarily “skinny”. Thanks, Ann! 🙂

  2. Jen Says:

    Love this post, Ann! I think it’s important that you sat down with the nurse to talk about your results and understand them. Everyone is different. I eat a healthy diet, exercise, etc… but because of bad genes I have very high cholesterol (and it gets higher if I go vegetarian / vegan). It’s important to look at ALL of the “numbers” as a whole instead of individually, just like you did with your nurse.

  3. Ann Says:

    Thanks for the comments, ladies. I agree, all numbers are important. And each of us are different. And we all just want to be healthy!

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