Are You ‘Skinny Fat’?

By Ted

Not only do people have to deal with the issue of being labeled as ‘fat’ or as ‘skinny’, but now it seems there is a new label becoming popular in the world of diet & fitness.

The Healthy Boy Blog recently wrote a great article outlining what the new term ‘skinny fat’ means.He states that this term is rather confusing because it can have several different meanings, but here are the most common ones according to The Healthy Boy.

  1. Skinny Fat is when someone falls under a healthy weight range, however their body composition is flabby rather than toned
  2. Someone who appears thin and has a good BMI, but has a high percentage of body fat
  3. When someone looks lean in clothes, but if flabby underneath.
  4. When a person is thin, but does not eat healthy and eats junk food
  5. Someone who is thin, but has localized fatty areas, like a muffin top or love handles (hips) or butt and thighs.

From those descriptions it looks like many could be called ‘skinny fat’, but do we really need yet another label that can perpetuate further self-hatred?


  1. Melanie

    I would be called that, except that my BMI is considered overweight and I eat very healthy. I do not eat junk food.

  2. Susan

    There’s so many ways to NOT be perfect out there, and I’m not sure how many of them are completely under our control. Just eat healthy most of the time and get regular exercise, and don’t worry about whether you’re “skinny fat!”

  3. Amy

    I’m sitting here looking at an advertisement for restaurant savings and a picture of 3 juicy looking burgers! Is torture what they are going for? LOL

  4. Caroline

    I clicked option one, but that’s because I have an eating disorder and my thinking is irrational. People actually describe me as “skeletal”.

  5. b

    I think you’re raising a lot of good points. I don’t think we need one more label for people, but I think that a lot of people don’t think about their eating habits and how to make them healthier until there’s an actual problem. I’ve known a lot of men, for example, who eat like crazy through their teens and early 20s, never worry about healthy vs not or portion sizes, and when their metabolism hits that slow-down in the late 20s/early 30s they suddenly gain a ton of weight while eating like they always have. It would be a lot easier for them to learn to pay attention to these things earlier and avoid gaining the weight than to have to try to lose it years later.

  6. blob

    why not label another group. divide and conquer. these people really annoy me though…they eat like pigs and yet don’t gain a pound, or very little. They don’t seem to get the wrath that fat people do…nor the flat out hatred. oh but they have such efficient metabolisms and we should envy them because they aren’t overweight. give me a coronary, please god, right now.

  7. Auden

    I would fall into category 1, but honestly I give up. I voted for the third option.

    After years of struggling with my weight, I am finally in the “healthy” weight range (22.3 BMI). I eat a very healthy diet (to the point that coworkers and new acquaintances often comment on this), although I do love my chocolate. I exercise every day, various combinations of aerobics, strength training, and pilates/yoga. And yet I can still grab a handful of fat on my stomach, and retain a “flabby” appearance. I think part of this is excess skin from my bigger days, but part of it has to be body composition. I suppose I could completely cut out alcohol, or reduce the carbs in my diet, but I honestly think I would have to get down to an 18.5 BMI and survive canned tuna and egg whites to ever get a truly “toned” look.

  8. Spectra

    I’m the opposite of “skinny fat”. I’m not underweight but I’m still technically “underfat”. I’m 5’3″ and 105-106 lbs and my BF% is 15-16%, which is on the low end for a female. When I was distance running, it was at 12%. I have a body type where even when I was slightly overweight, I still had a normal amount of body fat. I’m very muscular. My husband is skinny-fat, though. He looks OK in clothes, but underneath he is very flabby. He also eats a LOT of junk food.

  9. Tess

    “Skinny fat” sounds like another label to terrorize us with. Look, as it is I avoid anything that tastes good and live on things like tuna and hard boiled eggs to keep my weight in check. Now I’m supposed to kill myself in the gym for two hours a day? I do what I can for exercise but in the real world where people work for a living and don’t have hours/money to devote to personal trainers many of us will be stuck being “skinny fat”. Personally, as long as my clothes fit that’s all I am going to worry about!

  10. Wet Wolf

    Most people in the general public are skinny fat.

    Imagine how skinny they would really be if they actually got really lean?

  11. musajen

    What’s that adage… ‘what goes around, comes around.’

    Once you start labeling one group, it’s going to perpetuate. Labels everywhere for everything.

  12. O.

    LOL this used to be called “out of shape” back in pre historic times (sigh!).

    I am an advocate of moderate eating as opposed to making a food bad or forbidden, but I will admit that as someone who grew to adulthood always thin/normal weight in a normal weight family that maybe healthy eating and portion control aren’t discussed enough among normal weight people.

    At one point in elementary school my mom came to school to eat lunch with me because I wasn’t eating. Doesn’t sound like someone who would later fall into emotional eating does it?

    But I never heard portion control type language growing up because it didn’t apply to me. My mom watched my sugar and soda intake for the sake of my TEETH ( which are perfect yeah!), but that was about it.

    Even when I became addicted to emotional eating I hovered between a size 12 and 14 for 10 years before I finally needed plus size clothing.

    So yes, maybe we should be having the same dialogue with fat and normal weight people. Maybe it will save someone down the road.

  13. tasz

    I think its important for people to realise that just because they are slim doesn’t necessary mean they are healthy. Body fat percentage is an important health indicator.

  14. Melanie | Dietriffic

    I don’t think we need another label. I mean, will it help someone to lose weight or get fit just because we’ve labelled them “skinny fat”? I don’t think so. People need to make that decision for themselves… that’s the difficult part!

  15. Jim F.

    Just checked with another user – and they are getting ads about “Positive attitude” etc etc….

  16. Jim F.

    Also… google serves ads based not just on the content of the page, but on other factors as well that are tailored towards the user.

  17. ooooi

    Unless youre in high-school, why is it necessary to attach labels to everyone. Who cares.

  18. Jim F.

    Good question. Google looks at the page and attempts to match an appropriate advertising category. Any suggestions for a better advertising match?

  19. Hannah

    Why are the ads on this page (“ads by google”) about eating disorders?!