Ever heard of this term? It seems to be used quite a bit recently, and even when talking to people about it most have a different idea of what the term means. On Urban Dictionary, the term Skinny Fat is defined as “A person who is not overweight and has a skinny look but may still have a high fat percentage and low muscular mass. Usually these people have a low caloric diet, that’s why they are skinny, but are not involved in any sports activities or trainings and that’s why they don’t have any muscle. Since between the bone and the skin those people only have fat, the skin can be deformed easily because the skin layer is located on an unstable matter (fat).”
I am not sure I buy that description. When I think of the term Skinny Fat I think of people who are thin, and not only appear “in shape” but may very well be “in shape” but eat or behave in such a manner that, metabolism aside, would make an average person overweight. We all know these people. These are the runners who average 8:00 miles and post all over Facebook and Twitter how they scarfed down a pint of Ben & Jerry’s as a “reward” (how undoing all the work you just did is classified as a reward is beyond me). They are the ones that scoff at your No Sugar No Grain effort because, well, it doesn’t affect them in the same way.
What these people don’t realize is that looking in shape and being able to perform at a high level, the way they are inside, fueling themselves with unhealthy food, is affecting them in ways they may not see for decades. The body is a lot like a database … i.e. Garbage In Garbage Out.
Listen folks … according to research stated in several sources (“Wheat Belly”, “Fat Chance”, “Good Calorie Bad Calorie”) only 20% of people can process sugar correctly. That means for every 5 people you know, only one can afford to eat sugar filled food and process them in a way that it will not affect them health wise. 1 in 5. In a triathlon with 3,000 people that is 600. And most of them are the elites at the start of the race. Want proof? Go to a longer distance triathlon (Olympic or a 70.3) and watch the finish line. The elites are coming in under three hours, and they are all
fit, fuel with sugar (not all, but most), and train like animals. Then near the end you see the rest of us. We train hard also, but we struggle through the race, and finish, but we are overweight.
And where did we make our mistake?
By trying to emulate the professional triathletes eating and training habits. Pick up a magazine some time and leaf through it. Most are filled with “Training Plans of the Top Pro’s at Kona” or “Mirinda Carfrae’s Nutrition Plan”. We eagerly scoff this stuff up and fix our plans to match the pro’s.
And it fails 80% of the time.
I was one of these people. Through my first season (2011) I ate like I had been eating to lose the initial weight and dropped from 303 pounds to 236 between May 2010 and September 2011. Then, becausee I was now a “triathlete”, I changed my eating and fueling habits in Season 2 (2012) to match what the elites did. I started using sugar filled crap to refuel (chocolate milk anyone??) and added carbs back to my diet. My races got progressively worse through the season and I went from my low of 236 back to 263.
I learned my lesson.
So what is the take away? I guess it is this…
The people you see running these amazing race times and scarfing the sugar crap may be part of the 20%. And if they are not, it will catch up to them at some point. Some of these people may never be fat or overweight. They may go through life judging their fitness by what they see in the mirror and on the race clock oblivious to the damage they are causing internally. Stick to your guns and stay the course. Don’t be swayed by the ads and the magazines. If these athletes and/or celebrities were honest they would tell you that they don’t really use half the crap they are shilling (have you ever seen a pro triathlete scarfing chocolate milk after a race? Didn’t think so.).
As an ending note, I am not talking about anyone specifically. In these types of posts inevitably someone I know thinks I am talking about them. I am not. I think the point is if you think I am talking about you, then maybe you need to really read what I am saying. 🙂