Apparently Skinny Fat Is A Thing, And It's Not Good
Health |  Source:

Apparently Skinny Fat Is A Thing, And It's Not Good

Skinny fat isn't just about flabiness.

The other day I heard the term "skinny fat" while scrolling my day away on Facebook. I had heard it in passing every now and again, so I decided to find out what it meant on my own, instead of asking someone and potentially looking stupid. After doing some online research for about ten minutes, here is what I found out:

The first website I looked into made it sound like it was at least okay since they recognized that every has different body shapes and compositions. For those who don't know, skinny fat is a term used for people who have more "mass" (AKA, fat) versus muscle.

According to another site I looked at, it means that you are fat unless you have the muscled bod of a goddess. According to the Urban Dictionary, skinny fat is, "when someone is thin and looks great in clothes, but is all flabby underneath." On Wikipedia, skinny fat is "thin on the outside, fat on the inside."

Firstly, there are so many definitions, which one are we supposed to pay attention to? I couldn't find out where the term originated, but I know it couldn't have magically appeared out of nowhere.

Either way, there were a lot of articles about how to change a skinny fat body, and even one that claimed being skinny fat is worse than obesity because when you are obese, there is an outward consequence of your health habits. If you are skinny fat, there isn't too much of a way to tell that you aren't eating right or exercising enough since there isn't too much of a consequence for it.

At first, I was terribly offended by the skinny fat idea. I thought it was some ploy by athletic beings that wanted to get more people on the exercise 24/7 bandwagon. But then I thought about it for a second... it IS bad to be skinny fat.

If you are able to pound down an entire pizza and still be relatively thin, this still isn't a good thing for your body long-term. Skinny fat people usually don't realize that they have high cholesterol or high blood pressure until they take a blood test (which isn't usually in your typical annual checkup). There isn't a bigger stomach involved when skinny fat individuals eat biscuits and gravy, so why are they going to stop? There's no point to them: they won't.

Most people make the effort to eat healthy and exercise because they want to look better on the outside, but skinny fat people look decent anywhere, so that motivation isn't there. Skinny fat people need to make the healthy choice because *shiver*, it's the right thing to do for your health.

Skinny fat people's body composition will change, but it will not be as drastic as those who have to lose weight to see results. Being skinny fat (though I think a different term might be better to use) is not good for you. Sure, you may be able to eat burgers all day, but you may not be able to when it catches up to you and you end up having to watch what you eat even more strictly because your doctor told you to.

Skinny fat people have it tough because they have to eat right and won't get too much out of it, but it is still a good thing to be healthy, and why not start being healthy now? You don't have to quit your favorite greasy foods cold turkey, you can take baby steps. For example, you could pack a lunch from home every once in a while, eat one sandwich instead of two, or forgo your venti coffee for a tall instead.

Skinny fat people need to make the choice now rather than later to eat healthy. I promise, there is food that is good for you that tastes good too. You just have to go looking for it.

Image Alt
Health |  Source:

Let's Talk About Cellulite

It's N-A-T-U-R-A-L.

Turn around, stick it out, baby got backkk... and cellulite. Just the thought of it makes many women groan, shudder, and panic, but let's get this straight. If anyone has criticized or made you feel any less worthy because of your cellulite, you can respond with a royal "eff you," or educate them with the facts. Or both, because personally I don't think you can go wrong with either option.

Even when hot summer days demand minimal coverage, it can be daunting to put on a bathing suit, especially if you're worried about what others are thinking about your backside. True, sometimes you can reduce the appearance of cellulite, but honestly- it's N-A-T-U-R-A-L. Overly photoshopped magazine covers make it seem like we're flawed if we have it, but the reality is that anywhere from 80-98% of the female population have cellulite. So why are we fretting over it?

A lot of times, the fear is that men will be turned off if we don't have a perfectly smooth rear. But if you ask your guy friends like this woman did- you'll be pleasantly surprised to know that they really don't care (unless he's a d-bag, in which case, you're probably better off without him anyway).

So let's get down to the barebones (and butt) facts about cellulite. The dimpling is caused by fat deposits that push through connective collagen fibers under the skin. Being thin doesn't mean you won't get cellulite- women of all sizes have it because it is often hereditary and controlled by hormonal factors.

Cellulite can be found anywhere on the body, but tends to form in areas that get the least circulation (hence, the butt and legs for many). That said, exercise and strength training can help reduce the appearance and formation of cellulite. Exercise helps to boost your metabolism and blood circulation, while strength training such as lunges, step-ups, and squats can help firm muscles.

What you eat can also have an effect on the appearance of cellulite. Highly processed foods filled with sodium and sugar are top culprits. Instead, think lean proteins, veggies and fruits with antioxidants. While a healthy diet can reap many benefits, always remember that extreme dieting is never the answer. Not only can it aggravate the formation of cellulite, but it is extremely dangerous for your health.

This doesn't mean exercise and diet are cure-alls- I'm a healthy and incredibly active college athlete, and yes, I have cellulite. It's nothing to be ashamed of. It just means that HEY, I'M A REAL WOMAN TOO. Instead of criticizing our bodies (which are not flawed, btw), we should be celebrating them. Amy Schumer pretty much nailed it when she sang, "used to be concerned that my booty was too fat, but now I know the truth and that worry has been shot."

Image Alt
Health |  Source:

Our Obsession With Weight Loss

There's healthy weight loss, and then there's unhealthy.

"This Is How To Lose Weight and Keep It Off!"

"Lose Weight In Your Sleep - Seriously!"

"17 Days to Significant Weight Loss."

"26 Tips to Help You Lose Weight and Feel Great."

I browsed for fitness and health articles, and these are the titles and headlines that I found. Noticing a trend? I do too, one that isn't unique to this one fitness news outlet. Our society has become obsessed with the idea of losing weight.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. Weight loss can be empowering, rewarding, and healthy, of course. has an incredible section on their website dedicated to people transforming their bodies. Being a dedicated follower of the bodybuilding and fitness industry, I love reading this page. These stories, like this one I read recently, are motivational and uplifting.

The facts and sources don't lie. The CDC notes the numerous health risks associated with being overweight or obese, including hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, and the CDC reports that 38 percent of adults and 17 percent of teenagers are obese.

Now why would I have a problem with our society's weight loss craze after reading these scary numbers? It would certainly seem that America needs to lose weight. But my problem with the weight loss craze doesn't have to do with physical health. I'm not discouraging people who have weight to lose from pursuing weight loss plans and diets in a safe way. My big issue with our society's obsession deals with the effects of body weight struggles that are invisible but very real: the mental and emotional aspects.

We associate weight loss with success. Fitness. Happiness. Beauty. Power. Weight gain, on the other hand, is rarely ever something to be celebrated. It's inherently a bad, negative, stigmatized concept (refer again to those scary statistics above). I'm horrified that things such as fat shaming and body shaming exist nowadays, and are accepted. Perfectly normal, beautiful women are labeled as "plus-size" and "unhealthy" simply because they don't match society's definition of fitness and typical body shape (slay, Ashley Graham, slayyyyyy).

I have witnessed firsthand the growing stigma surrounding weight gain, especially among young women. For a long time, I was blinded by the tempting headlines and weight loss articles. I drove myself mad stepping on the scale each morning until I became a slave to the practice. I worshipped my mirror. I ate less and less each day, striving to make that accursed little number shrink. My calorie intake was likely close to or even less than 1100 per day. I justified my obsession with becoming skinny and thin by promising myself I'd be a happier, more athletic, fit version of myself. This was going to make me amazing. Pretty. Strong. Confident. But I was I wrong.

I eventually met with a dietitian and was talked into sanity...a sanity that unfortunately did not last long. I traded starvation for the pursuit of a very strictly healthy diet, to the point where I completely swore off certain foods. No eggs. No red meat. Definitely no sugar. I couldn't eat out at restaurants and would fall into panic mode if I couldn't get out of the situation. I had to cook everything for myself, because there was no way I'd really know what other people put into my food. I fell back into the pattern of weighing myself until the scale became my captor again.

These thought patterns crept into my exercise habits as well, until I hated myself on days I didn't work out. I lost 11 pounds from freshman to sophomore year of college, and in the summer of 2014, I was diagnosed with orthorexia nervosa and OCD. Orthorexia is, quite simply, the unhealthy obsession with a "healthy" lifestyle and diet, to the point where everyday life is disrupted. I correlated my diet and weight to my emotional well-being; if I was skinny and eating a perfect diet, then I was happy.

I was involuntarily sidelined from playing college volleyball in the spring of 2015. The sports physicians discovered that I had a dangerous iron deficiency, one that would have required an emergency blood transfusion had my levels been any lower. I wasn't allowed to practice. Lift. Run. For two and a half weeks. Even when I returned to practice, I wasn't allowed to jump, power lift, or sprint. On top of that, I weighed 139 pounds, which, for a 6-foot Division I athlete, is severely underweight. I had a choice. I could sit the bench, or I could gain weight and play. For me, there wasn't a choice. This was the sport and the team that I loved.

So, the campus dietitians put me on a 3,000 calorie-a-day diet, which horrified me at first. At our weekly team weigh-ins, I had to watch all my teammates smile proudly if their weights had dropped, or roll their eyes and mutter "damn!" if they'd gone up. I felt incredibly self-conscious and odd stepping on the scale, seeing a three-pound increase, and having to remind myself that this was good. This was making me strong. This was making me better.

In all, I gained 11 pounds, and I now sit comfortably at 150. I've finally learned to love myself and my body, and I could not be happier. I'll say it again...I'm the happiest and healthiest I've ever been in my life, and this was only after I'd gained 11 pounds. I lift heavier and run faster than I ever thought I could. I found the stronger, happier, more confident, vibrant version of myself at 150 pounds, and looking back, I know now that the 139-pound girl was a skeleton, a ghost, unhappy and sick. I had to reverse my way of thinking and separate what society thought about weight gain from what was actually true for my health. And I am so glad that I did, for the mental and emotional reasons, as well as the physical.

Lose weight if you need to, or most importantly, if you want to. Gain weight if you want to. Do it because you want to, not because you feel forced to by others or by an ideal image of fitness or beauty. You and only you get to decide what makes you happy. Take it from someone who had to make the journey and break away from a misconstrued view of fitness. Loving yourself and being healthy - truly healthy - is more important than any health craze.

Image Alt
Health |  Source:

Stop Skinny Shaming Your Friends

Ain't nobody got time for that.

Summer officially marks bikini season, when a majority of women (self-included) try to shed those few extra pounds that might've creeped on during finals period. I was stressed and those chocolate covered pretzels were calling my name, ok?

While summer is a great time to hit the beach or pool with your friends, it also tends to bring out the worst in us. I'm talking about comparing and criticizing bodies out the wazoo.

I'll admit, I've definitely been on both ends of this one. Neither the giving nor receiving of skinny shaming feels good, and I'm not proud. Whenever one of my friends lost a little bit of weight, I became more self-aware of mine.

The solution? Shame them, subtly. Constantly bring up how they've lost a ton of weight in such a short period of time, and give disapproving looks. Ask what they ate for every meal. Raise your eyebrows and hand them over your cookie and tell them to eat more.

Let me tell you -- all this, not cool. There's a fine line between "concern" for your friends and straight up skinny shaming. If you are worried about your friend, and think they might be on the brink of an eating disorder, the best advice is not to tell them "you're too skinny" or try to force feed them.

Trust me, been there, it's not helpful. It doesn't make us feel any better at a time we're already scrutinizing our bodies. Rather, try to learn the facts, and be honest, and most importantly, be supportive. This is a time when they would need support the most -- sometimes even outside professional help is needed.

But think about why you're skinny shaming in the first place. If you find you're making comments out of jealousy, really backtrack. Is that what friends are for? Not in my book. If they wanna skip the alcohol for the night, so what? If they decided to go on a morning run while you slept in until 12, what's the issue? It's their choice, don't make your friends feel bad about what they choose to do with their body.

Some people are also just genetically skinnier. Having friends with ridiculously fast metabolisms can be frustrating, but that doesn't give a pass to take it out on them. Chances are, they're insecure about some other part of themselves too.

A survey by Glamour found that 80 percent of women felt bad about themselves just by looking in a mirror, and that the majority of women are comparing themselves to friends on social media, not celebrities. The women that were happiest? Those who didn't compare themselves.

It makes sense and we should all try to stop it. A goal for all of us this summer should be to stop the comparing, the shaming, and focus on loving ourselves and our friends. Because beauty is more than skin deep, and that water is calling.

Image Alt
Health |  Source:

Summer Slim Down: 5 Workouts that Burn the most FAT

You will sweat, you will cry, you will be sore.

I love to workout. I swear my parents signed me up for every sport growing up, possibly because I was the most energetic, annoying kid ever.

Whatever the reason, an active lifestyle has always been important to me because of those early field hockey practices and jazz classes. If you're looking for workouts that shed weight fast, look no further. Just remember to put in the work at whichever class you choose, and the fat will melt away.

1. Kickboxing.
If you have a lot of stress or pent-up aggression, this is the class for you. There is nothing more rewarding than kicking the shit out of a boxing bag, trust me. Aside from the mental health benefits, kickboxing requires you to engage your full body, which torches fat.

2. Spin class.
All spin classes are great for weight loss, but RPM classes are where it's really at. Normally with these types of classes you have two options. The first being a 45-minute spin-only class and the second being a 45-minute spin and 15-minute core workout. Honestly, you can't go wrong with either.

What makes RPM even more intense is the idea that you are spinning to the beat of the track the instructor has picked. Normally, the playlist to these classes is EDM or remix-heavy because they have a quick rhythm. This means you will be doing a lot of quick sprints and climbs so don't forget your sweat towel because you'll need it!

3. HIIT training classes.
Any combination of cardio and weight-lifting speeds up the weight loss process. However, HIIT classes, like Orangetheory fitness or CrossFit, take it to the next level. Besides the benefits of having an instructor there to keep you going, these workouts are specifically created with the idea of weight loss in mind.

4. Hot yoga.
Contrary to popular belief, both yoga and pilates classes burn fat just as well as some of your favorite cardio classes. The interesting thing about hot yoga though, is that while you are striking a pose, you are doing so in very high temperatures that are upwards of 100 degrees. Literally pools of sweat, everywhere.

5. Running.
Shocker! Running on the treadmill burns more calories and engages more muscles than a lot of the other workout machines offered at gyms. Aside from the erg machine, getting on the treadmill is your next best bet for slimming down.

Well, there you have it. Grab a friend or two and get your asses to the gym! These are arguably some of the most engaging workouts most gyms or studios offer. Just remember, your hard work will pay off!

Image Alt
Health |  Source: zacharygilbert

A Lazy Girl's First Fitness Regimen

The results, and why you should do it, too.

Growing up, I was always naturally thin. I never thought much about what I ate, and could essentially eat anything without any repercussions. I just assumed I was #blessed with a naturally perfect metabolism that would allow me to eat whatever I wanted for the rest of my life.

Then I turned 20.

Obviously nothing happened overnight, but by the time I reached my 20s, I realized I was starting to notice that my stomach wasn't perfectly flat anymore, and all the shorts that had fit me fine for years were becoming way too tight on my thighs.

When I turned 21, I was studying abroad in Australia, consuming kangaroo burgers, fancy milkshakes, and copious amounts of alcohol, without being particularly active (because what study abroad student would rather be at the gym than at a cool museum or a trendy foreign nightclub?) When I got home in May, I noticed that my body wasn't exactly how I wanted it to be anymore. I had taken my figure for granted, and my age had finally caught up with me.

For the first time in my life, I decided to become physically active. For a lot of people, this isn't some outrageous, admirable decision, rather a perfectly normal part of life. But I suspect I'm not alone in the realization that I needed to get my ass off the couch and start taking care of my body.

I had nearly 4 months of summer break ahead of me, paired with a serious determination to get in shape. I invested in a gym membership, because I knew I wouldn't be motivated enough to exercise without that environment. I did a lot of research to find out about good workouts that would target the areas I wanted to work on, as well as how to ease myself into getting active. I found a ton of exercises that worked for me, and found my favorite cardio machine at the gym, the ArcTrainer machine.

The route I took in my fitness plan isn't necessarily perfect for every exercise newbie. Some people might have enough drive to skip the gym membership and get their cardio in by running or bike riding in their neighborhood.

Others might find that joining a local sports team or a specialty gym, like a boxing gym, is more their style. The best way to determine what might work for you is to first think about your goals: are there specific parts of your body that you want to focus on in your workouts? Are you only interested in cardio, or do you want to get into weightlifting or strength training, too?

From there, search Google, Reddit, and Pinterest for different exercises to incorporate into your routine. Get to know as many as possible so that you can change things up frequently!

Since starting my fitness routine, I have already noticed the differences. I immediately started feeling perkier throughout the day, and stronger in every part of my body. Plus, I feel really good about myself, which has been the greatest result. It's so nice to start each day feeling productive and accomplished. So do yourself a favor, get up, and go be active!