There are skinny fat people and fat skinny people. So, what's a perfect body?
We are conditioned to judge our bodies, and somehow, someone else's pre-conceived notion of perfection is engraved on our heads. The image of an ideal body is sometimes passed down through generations making some of our young men and women feel inadequate. The internet is filled with before and after pictures (mostly fake) and celebrities seem to set the tone for what we should aspire to look like.
We tend to focus on visible layers of fat and whether or not we fit in a certain size. But, is it that simple? Should we all aspire to simply squeeze into a smaller size, or there is so much more to our bodies than meets the eyes.
SKINNY, YET FAT
This happens when the body composition shifts from having more fat than muscle mass. A skinny fat person may still look marvelous dressed, but don't have the strength to get up from a chair without taking a swing for impulse or holding on to something. It's very common among the senior population since we lose 3% muscle mass yearly as we age. It also happens to people with inappropriate nutrition and exercise.
FAT, YET SKINNY
Fat skinny people may not be happy wearing a plus size, but their organs are. They carry a little extra layer, hence their curvy appearance, but are totally fit and have an adequate amount of lean muscle mass. They eat a balanced diet and may even run marathons!
Since we don't have a mirror to clearly view our body composition, we need to rely on some calculations. The BMI, or Body Mass Index, is one of the many ways to determine your body composition. It's calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in meters square.
For example, a person that weighs 65kg and is 1.62m tall would have a BMI of 24.8. (65kg / (1.62 x 1.62) = 24.8)
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) categorizes BMI as follows:
Underweight = <18.5
Normal weight = 18.5 - 24.9
Overweight = 25-29.9
Obesity = BMI is >= 30
This calculation works for most people, but bodybuilders can have skewed results since muscles weigh more than fat. It also does not determine the risk factor for contracting metabolic syndrome, which can be estimated based on extra fat around the midsection.
Metabolic syndrome is a conglomeration of diseases which include Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, stroke, among others. These diseases have been historically attributed to old age, but they are starting to occur at younger ages.
The Waist-Hip ratio is a better way of determining if you are at risk of contracting metabolic syndrome. We need fat to cushion our organs, but excessive fat can be dangerous.
Waist-Hip ratio is obtained by dividing waist circumference by hip circumference in either inches or centimeters. According to The World Health Organization, a waist-hip ratio above .85 for women and above .90 for men indicates the presence of extra visceral fat (fat around the organs), and hence an increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome.
People who look skinny, but are fat inside, may have more difficulty determining their risk factor using these calculations.
THE PERFECT BODY
A perfect body has less fat cushioning the organs, a healthy amount of lean muscle mass, strength, and energy. A PERFECT BODY is a HEALTHY BODY.
Some basic lifestyle changes will help you get closer to your perfect body.
Start taking baby steps towards your perfect body and remember, it's never too late. Your older self will appreciate it.
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