There are usually two reasons people start dieting. To lose weight and be slimmer, skinny as such, or to be healthy.
But what is the difference between skinny and healthy? There’s a common misconception that they are the same thing but it’s not as black and white as that. You can be both, or one or the other.
Are Overweight People Unhealthy?
While it’s common to believe that all overweight people are unhealthy, there are more factors involved than being overweight.
It’s quite possible for overweight people to eat relatively healthy whole foods, and performing moderate exercise each week but maybe they are just eating an excessive amount, with a combination of genes.
At some point, however, the statistics do correlate obesity with a higher rate of preventable diseases including diabetes, heart disease and more.
Are Skinny People Healthy?
The short answer here is certainly not always. Being skinny is often a factor of genes and food intake. And the amount of food a person eats doesn’t necessarily correlate with the quality of the food.
It’s quite possible to eat a calorie deficit of pure junk food, and remain skinny, however, the possibilities of preventable disease and malnutrition are still very real for a skinny person.
What is Skinny Fat
Skinny fat is the term for a body type which is slim, or skinny but usually has a fat belly. This is often found in aging ectomorph males when the body likes to accumulate fat all in one place.
A common way to imagine this body type is to think of ET, or a muffin top. All of the body fat is bound to the belly, love handles and sometimes pec or “breast” area, while the remaining limbs such as the arms, legs, neck and face resemble that of a skinny person.
So What Should I Strive For?
With all the social pressure to simply aim for looks, you would assume being skinny is the best motivator. And while being slim can be a good motivator, if it doesn’t come with health too, the main benefits are being lost.
So what should you aim for? Simple, whatever makes you comfortable. Body composition wise, you need not be as slim, or as muscly as various forms of media would like us all to believe.
But health should be at the primary motivator for any decisions you make regarding exercise and food choices. This means ensuring you get a variety of nutrients from a vast range of different, whole foods.
While you need not run a marathon, you should aim for 3 to 5 hours of moderate exercise per week. This can be as simple as a moderate walk for half an hour each day.
As with everything in life, the key is a balance of motivations. Remember to focus on both aspects in the correct proportions and receive the greatest rewards.