In my 26 years on this planet, I’ve had the privilege of living in some of the coolest cities in the planet—Portland, Amsterdam, New York, and San Francisco, just to name a few.
The one thing these places have in common?
Hipsters. Lots and lots of hipsters.
If you’re not familiar with the term (although you’d probably have to be a hermit to not have come into contact with it these days), the (condensed) Urban Dictionary definition of a hipster is:
“Hipsters are a subculture of men and women typically in their 20’s and 30’s that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter. Although “hipsterism” is really a state of mind, it is also often intertwined with distinct fashion sensibilities. Hipsters reject the culturally-ignorant attitudes of mainstream consumers, and are often be seen wearing vintage and thrift store inspired fashions, tight-fitting jeans, old-school sneakers, and sometimes thick rimmed glasses. Both hipster men and women sport similar androgynous hair styles that include combinations of messy shag cuts and asymmetric side-swept bangs.”
Now, I have no idea why, but one thing nearly all hipsters have in common is that they seem to avoid exercising at all costs (biking is the one exception).
It’s almost as if they consider being healthy and in shape to be ‘uncool.’
The strange thing is, because they subside mainly on cigarettes, beer, and tacos (please do not do this), most hipsters don’t actually appear overweight.
Instead, they perfectly embody what is everybody’s favorite body type to bash these days: skinny fat.
(Full disclosure: I may, at various times in the past few years, have been mistakenly classified as a hipster. I do not identify as one—I like to exercise, anyway—but I also have nothing against all the hipsters and cool people out there.)
Why being skinny fat is so fricken dangerous
What’s the fuss, you’re wondering? What do I have against people who are thin but just have no muscle to speak of?
Well, first, let’s turn to Urban Dictionary again for a definition of skinny fat:
“To look slim, even with revealing clothes, but when touched, the touching hand sinks into fat before reaching muscle. Older people will ‘show’ “Skinny fat” visually, but young people have firm skin that hides it until they’re touched.”
These are the people who look better with their clothes on—but in the nude or in a bathing suit tend to look extremely unhealthy, even lumpy at times.
And being skinny fat is not only visually unappealing, it’s also extremely bad for your health.
It puts you at risk for pre-diabetes or Type 2 diabetes
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in nine adults has diabetes. And if current trends continue, one in three adults will be diabetic by 2050.
That’s some scary shit.
And while most people associate getting diabetes with being older and overweight, that’s not always the case.
Because the most alarming thing about it is the enormous number of adults aged 20 and older with prediabetes: 65 million. That’s up from 57 million in 2007.
What’s more, 15 percent of those people aren’t even overweight. They don’t necessarily subside solely on pizza and soda.
By any normal American standards, they’d even be considered healthy.
But they’re not.
All diet and no exercise = danger zone
The biggest risk factor for developing diabetes and other scary diseases early on in life? Relying on diet only to regulate your weight rather than exercise.
And this is where many women and hipsters go wrong.
Because while you might not look fat from the outside, fat can still stick to your abdominal organs, creating what molecular imaging expert Jimmy Bell, M.D. calls TOFI—thin outside, fat inside.
And this visceral fat can do way more damage than any muffin top, thunder thighs or back fat can do. It can cause your liver and pancreas to inflame, as well as lower your insulin sensitivity so you’re at risk for type 2 diabetes.
So even though you might look thin… your insides are acting as if you’re obese.
And that puts you at risk for a whole mess of dangers, including diabetes, cardiovascular problems, and an early death.
So… what’s the solution?
As frightening as it is, becoming skinny fat is actually fairly easy to avoid.
How? By exercising.
It turns out that breaking a sweat is key to lowering blood sugar and regulating glucose levels.
And that’s the only way to avoid getting that dangerous visceral fat—and putting yourself at risk for a whole mess of dangerous diseases.
Resistance training, bodyweight exercises, intervals, lifting heavy things… it all counts.
It’s your future at stake
Whether you’re a hipster, a weight-conscious woman, or somebody who has never given a thought to exercising before, it’s time to rethink your priorities today.
Being skinny fat is extremely dangerous to your health and your future.
And as something that is so easy to avoid… you really have no excuses.
So ditch the skinny fat look today. Go pick up some weights, do a HIIT workout, do some push ups.
Because you’re worth it.
Image credit: Erwinova