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The problem with skinny fat

There’s a popular term, “skinny fat,” that is used to describe thin women with very little muscle tone.  If you think that sounds like an oxymoron, you would be correct.  People like to use this term to describe a woman who is thin, but probably unhealthy on the inside.

Let’s be real here though, it’s just another term used to shame women for not looking like a supermodel and it needs to stop.

I agree that someone can be thin and unhealthy. They might smoke, have high blood pressure or any number of health problems. It’s also true that an overweight person can be in perfect health. There’s no way of knowing and, honestly, who cares?  Everyone deserves to be able to walk out of their house without fear of being judged by their looks or fat-shamed.

At what point are we allowed to love our bodies? If you’re overweight, you’re called fat and told that you need to lose weight. If you’re thin, but don’t have sculpted legs or a six-pack, you’re also called fat and told to tone up. But don’t gain too much muscle because then you’ll be bulky and look like a dude! There’s no in between and we can’t win.

An argument I’ve heard many times in favor of the term is that people who are “skinny fat” need to be made aware of it so they can improve their health. Okay, sure, but the only person who should be talking to them about their health is their doctor or a loved one (if there is a serious health concern). Judging and commenting on other people’s bodies isn’t helpful and usually does more harm than good.

My main issue with calling someone “skinny fat” is that people are implying that fat = unhealthy, which is, of course, not always true. It’s not really insulting the “skinny fat” person, it’s just another layer of insults put on overweight people in a society where “skinny” is the desired body-type.

Fat, skinny-fat, whatever  you want to call it, all it’s doing is labeling someone and using faux-concern to make them feel bad about themselves. People come in all shapes and sizes with different amounts of muscle tone. And you know what else? Some people don’t care. They have more important things to care about than their muscle to fat ratio and so should you.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think people shouldn’t care about their health, I just think we need to stop trying to shame people into it.

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Lauren Stewart
By: Lauren Stewart

Lauren Stewart is a freelancer writer from Michigan. She enjoys writing about beauty, health and fitness! She is passionate about learning new ways to take control of her health and wellness and is a makeup and skincare junkie! You can contact her by emailing