How to Lose the “Skinny Fat” Look

How to Lose the “Skinny Fat” Look

As a parent, so often you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders…and you don’t get enough credit for it.

In between the constant juggle of being hands-on with your kids, sometimes it’s hard to squeeze in a workout or maintain a healthy diet for yourself.

Many people, especially parents, deal with the frustration of how to lose that skinny fat appearance. Not only because it’s difficult to get rid of but also because even if they’re doing their best to get their cardio reps in, it just doesn't seem to make a difference.

Transitioning from skinny fat to muscular may have a few complexities that you haven’t considered. So this should help you take the first step towards finally losing that extra pudge.

This article is your comprehensive and step-by-step guide to proper nutrition, choice of exercise, and lifestyle overhaul to get rid of those flabs and feel your best.

What is “Skinny Fat”?

“Skinny fat” is a non-medical term widely used to describe a body type of a person who appears to be thin but has a high body fat percentage.

People who are skinny fat only seem to carry fat in areas like the arms and around the belly.

Unlike other body types, a skinny fat type can give the impression that you’re in shape. But in reality, it can be an indicator of a sedentary lifestyle.

Being skinny fat means you have excess visceral fat around the organs in the abdominal cavity which poses health risks such as high blood pressure and insulin resistance.

Looking into one’s body fat percentage might be more important than having a normal BMI and a lean body structure considering the prevalence of the skinny fat body type.

Why Does the “Skinny Fat” Body Type Happen?

There are a lot of reasons why you might appear skinny fat. Below are few of the most common ones:

Genetic Factors

Genes are one of the most obvious factors in determining your body type. And while it’s inherited, it doesn’t mean there’s no way to work around it.

Lifestyle and Diet

It’s one thing to prepare healthy meals for yourself. It’s another to do the same for an entire family.

As a busy parent, having time is a luxury–time to create the ideal lifestyle and time to come up with a diet plan.

And just when you think you’ve got time in your hands, a good diet and proper exercise becomes even more elusive due to inconsistency and lack of motivation.

Metabolic Reasons

The accumulation of fat in the body is also caused by multiple physiological and hormonal imbalances.

Factors such as insulin sensitivity lead to a skinny fat appearance. This is due to the body’s ineffective response to insulin causing it to store more glucose as fat.

Hormones are also crucial in metabolism regulation and body composition. Once an imbalance happens, fat storage is affected.

One of the most imbalanced hormones is Cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. It is known to contribute to the increase of fat among individuals with a skinny fat body type.

How to Fix “Skinny Fat” Look and Get Fit

Here’s a comprehensive guide to transforming your body composition, focusing on three key areas.

Step 1. Eat Right

Quality Over Quantity

Food is the body’s fuel. While counting calories helps, it is important for you to be mindful about the quality of the food you eat instead of how much food you’re eating.

Balanced Diet for Muscle Gain

Just because you put yourself on a healthy diet doesn’t mean you need to cut carbs and fats. You just need to eat well daily by including all the necessary macros in your diet such as healthy fats, carbs, and most importantly, protein.

Your body needs a certain amount of protein in order to build muscle. So your goal should be to prioritize protein, but keep balance.

Meal Timing and Frequency

As they say, timing is everything. When it comes to the timing and frequency of your meals, it’s best to consume meals on a regular schedule.

According to research, a person’s ability to efficiently regulate their appetite is linked to a biological pattern called circadian rhythms.

The more you align your meal times with your circadian rhythm, the more your body is at optimum performance.

Step 2. Consistent & Intentional Exercise

Strength Training

To effectively get rid of a skinny fat body type, experts advise not to do just any exercise. In losing skinny fat, strength training is a must.

If you do it right, strength training is the way for you to preserve muscle mass and prevent the accumulation of fat mass.

Some practical workout examples are squats, deadlifts, lunges, bench presses, and pull-ups.

Utilizing resistance bands and weights alongside doing body weight exercises like planks are ideal too.

Cardiovascular Exercise

Cardio exercises such as cycling, swimming, and running aid in reducing overall body fat percentage.

A common type of cardio that is incorporated in most workout routines is HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training. This training allows you to progress with fat loss while preserving lean muscle mass.

Consistency and Progression

Best paired with proper diet, consistency in doing strength training and HIIT exercises speeds up the loss of skinny fat.

As you go along with a personal trainer, it will be easier for you to follow through a workout plan that suggests gradual intensity progression.

This way, you have the time to get accustomed to the workout routine without stressing yourself on getting your reps in.

Workout plans can be different for anyone. What works for you may not work on others due to multiple factors which is why seeking guidance and advice from fitness trainers is recommended.

Step 3. Lifestyle Adjustments

Sleep and Recovery

Research says not getting enough sleep leads to weight gain and an increase in BMI.

Having a good night’s rest and sleep is the most underrated pre-workout advice. It’s practically just as important as eating and training right.

Why? Well, not only does it help you regulate Cortisol—it also helps regulate the production of testosterone, a muscle-building hormone.

It all boils down to aligning with your circadian rhythm and getting a cadence of your routine.

Stress Management

If you don’t manage your stress, your cortisol production will eventually lead to an imbalance of one’s stress hormones.

If you’re one to de-stress by indulging in food, this could be a pattern that contributes to weight gain further leading to changes in your body composition.

To effectively manage stress, incorporating regular exercise or simply going out for a walk should be a good start.

Hydration and its Role

Your water intake and frequency makes or breaks your overall wellness if you’re trying to lose your skinny fat appearance.

Drinking too little water affects your metabolism and energy production. From there, I’m sure you can imagine the effects this has on your motivation to exercise and maintain a proper diet.

When you are well hydrated, your body supports efficient metabolism making it easier for it to convert food into energy.

How to Keep The Skinny Fat Appearance Away (Long-Term Management)

Setting Realistic Goals

Small actionable goals are better than big unrealistic ones. More than anything, it’s important that you take action and start right the first time.
If you find it time consuming to plan your meals and figure out a workout routine that works for you, it’s best to involve a nutritionist and a personal trainer to help you.

The key is to start small somewhere may it be in getting enough sleep, adding more protein to your diet, or starting a quick strength training routine.

This should help you power through the next steps until you establish a routine that works for you.

Monitoring Progress

Tracking progress is one way for you to determine what’s working and what’s not. When you know how much progress you’ve made, it’s also easier to determine the next steps from there.

Progress can be tracked by measuring how much body fat you’ve lost and taking note of the progression of the weights that you can work on.

Monitoring progress can also be conveniently done with a personal trainer.

Adapting as You Evolve

As you discover more about the routines that work for you, it is important to adjust as needed.

Results for each person may vary depending on the consistency and intensity of their workouts alongside important factors like nutrition, stress management, and more.

Regardless, with or without a personal trainer and nutritionist, you will see differences in your body that can help you decide what knobs to work on in your diet, exercise, and daily routine.


Many people know how hard and frustrating it is to get rid of that skinny fat body type. Fortunately, there are effective and science-backed strategies to deal with it like proper nutrition and guided strength training.

Getting rid of the skinny fat look entails a change in lifestyle particularly in dealing with stress, eating nutrient-dense meals, and muscle development.

Taking a step towards these major changes should get you a healthier mind and body allowing you to be more productive as a parent.

While you may not see results overnight, taking action will get you further as long as you’re in for the long game.

Most importantly, the results of your consistency and patience will manifest in how good you feel about yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally.