Even if standard charts say your weight is correct for your height, you could still be considered obese. Excess body fat affects your health much like extra pounds. Find out more about normal weight obesity and how you can overcome it.
Facts about Normal Weight Obesity
1. Follow the history. A study by the Mayo Clinic in 2008 coined the term “normal weight obesity” to describe people with high body fat, but normal weight. Researchers confirmed what some experts had suspected for years. These individuals can experience the same health issues as those who are overweight.
2. Know the prevalence. The study also showed how widespread the condition is. Almost 30 million Americans are believed to be skinny fat.
3. Measure your body fat. There is some debate about the exact guidelines. Most doctors advise keeping body fat under 20% of your weight for men and 30% for women. If you want to be fit, the American College of Sports Medicine suggests that women aim for 21% to 24% and men aim for 14% to 17%.
4. Understand the impact. Those with normal weight obesity can have the same health issues as individuals with regular obesity. There is a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and issues with cholesterol.
Protecting Yourself from Normal Weight Obesity
1. Eat a balanced diet. Even though you need additional strategies to overcome normal weight obesity, avoiding excess calories is very important. Eat a variety of nutritious foods, including fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins.
2. Focus on healthy fats. You still need some fat in your diet since it’s an essential nutrient. Select healthy fats like olive oil, nuts, and fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel. Get about 30% of your calories from these sources.
3. Train for strength. Building up your muscle mass is the best defense for normal weight obesity. A lean body burns more calories, even when you’re at rest. Schedule a few strength training sessions each week. Work out with weights or participate in any kind of resistance training.
4. Do aerobics. Cardiovascular exercise is part of the approach. You’ll be strengthening your heart and burning calories at the same time. Walk each day or go for a run. Play tennis or sign up for a dance class.
5. Trim your waistline. Belly fat is the most visible sign of normal weight obesity. You can use Pilates and other movements to tone your abdomen while you lose weight.
6. Get adequate sleep. Adequate amounts of good quality sleep boost your metabolism. That makes it easier to prevent obesity and the chronic inflammation that comes along with it.
7. Consider your age. As we age, it’s natural for our bodies to lose muscle. Our bones thin and body fat increases. You can slow down the effects of the aging process by staying active and eating less.
8. Visit a health club. Normal weight obesity is a relatively new concept, so fitness centers and personal trainers may be ahead of some doctors in this area. Many gyms will take your body fat measurements during orientation, and then design a custom fitness program just for you.
9. See your doctor. Your doctor can help you come up with a program to manage your weight and reduce your body fat. If you’re sedentary and have significant belly fat, ask about doing more precise tests like bioelectric impedance or BOD POD air displacement. They are both quick and painless.
Pay attention to the composition of your body along with your weight. Watching your body fat is just as important as watching the scale. Staying fit will help you enjoy a longer, fuller, happier, and healthier life.