I’m Skinny, and I’m Unhealthy

Don’t envy my scrawny outlook

Many envied me for being skinny and they wished they were as slim as me. I wished they would stop commenting and envy how skinny I am no matter how much I eat. For the record, I’m unhealthy despite having a slim body.

My wife and I had to explain many times that I’m actually unhealthy and I have skinny fats hidden inside that small body frame of mine. Nobody in our circle of friends knew what skinny fats are or even heard of the term. To be honest, I didn’t know about it too. I got to know of it when I came across an article about it on Channel News Asia’s Facebook page.

Skinny Fats and Why It’s Deadly

How to Reduce Visceral Fat [And What NOT to Do to Shrink Your Belly]
side-by-side comparison shows how tightly packed the abdominal cavity can become with visceral fat Image from makeyourbodywork.com

The medical term for skinny fats is metabolically obese. Yes, I’m obese on the inside where unhealthy fats are surrounding my organs. I may look normal on the outside, but actually, I might have a slew of healthy issues beneath me.

I have a low muscle mass and my fat percentage is quite high, which I’m aware of after visiting ActiveSG Lab. They have this machine to measure your weight, height, muscle mass, fat percentage etc. I think it’s good for those who wish to know more about their body and what they could do to improve their health.

Health issues that people like me may face if we continue our unhealthy lifestyle are diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke or even Alzheimer and cancer. We may have vitamin deficiencies too which can lead to fatigue or low concentrations levels.

Are you skinny fat?

As I was researching about skinny fats and what I should do to get back to being healthy, I came across this list on shape.com website:

  • Haven’t been lifting weights since years ago.
  • Experience constant “sugar crash” or “brain fog”, such as fatigue, low energy, or difficulty in focusing, memory or concentration.
  • Pass on protein-packed food.
  • Belly is bigger than the rest of the body.
  • Diet consists of excess carbohydrates, artificial sweeteners, sugar or processed food.
  • Feel light-headed after mild exercise.

I identify with most of what’s listed above and I can say it’s not something I’m proud of. I didn’t know I was this unhealthy and am glad that I came across an article about this topic a few years ago. It’s like a wake-up call to me that I need to get back and be healthy.

How am I affected? And what I did to get healthy?

Every time when I looked in the mirror or look down at my belly, I feel fat. Yes, skinny people like me do feel fat but I’ve my reason. I have a bulging tummy which nobody knows because it’s hidden beneath my clothes. That bulging tummy is a sign of skinny fats.

Before I started to get healthy, I’m always feeling tired. I’ve no mood for anything and basically, I need my afternoon naps. The words, food coma, that my friends have been using, I experienced that too. Being born weak with health issues when I was younger, my unhealthy lifestyle during adulthood isn’t helping much. After graduating from secondary school, I haven’t been exercising. Eating whatever I feel like having was also part of the contributing factor to me being skinny fat.

I’ve experienced pains to my knees. I thought taking glucosamine would help. It did but not much. Occasionally, my arms would be in pain too whenever I lifted them up. I live with these for years and thought it was normal and part of ageing. The biggest wake up call that I needed to do something was when I experienced sharp pain on my back. Thinking it could be due to work. And I didn’t want to end up like my sister who is now suffering from back pain and had to visit specialist to sought help.

I decided to get rid of my unhealthy lifestyle in year 2019. I’ve changed my diet, eliminating carbohydrates such as rice and noodle. My meals mainly consist of proteins, fruits and vegetables. I’ve also cut down on desserts and sugary drinks. Now I’m taking my coffee and tea without sugar which most of my friends thinks I’m crazy.

Year 2019 was also the year I started bullet journaling. And I decided to do a exercise challenge on a monthly basis with different exercise planned for each day of the month. I started small, example a 10 sit up for the start. It’s because I haven’t been exercising and I didn’t want to strain and push myself till I got myself injured. Each day I try to complete the challenge. I did increase the number of sets I had to do as I get the momentum of exercising.

Changes I noticed in myself

I’ve lost some weight but was told I looked healthier. I’m no longer taking afternoon naps. I no longer feel lethargic instead I’m much more alert. Concentration level while driving and at work got better too. Realized my bulging tummy got smaller too which was what I’m aiming for. This means my body fat percentage is gradually heading towards the healthy range.

The pain and aches that I’ve been feeling previously were gone. I can’t remember when was the last time I felt the sharp pain in my back or that my knees giving me the aches. I am no longer taking glucosamine to help with my joint issues.

I’ve found out that I’m lactose and gluten intolerant after my change of diet. Despite me being lactose intolerant, I do enjoy ice cream at a controlled amount. Not too much to avoid tummyache and many visits to the toilet.

My advice to everyone, always listen to your body. Some signs are an indicator to certain problems or illnesses that you need to address. Don’t ignore them like how I ignored my skinny fats issue. Health is important, don’t neglect some self love.