Normal Weight Obesity: How to Live Healthily as a 'Skinny Fat' Person

By FitLifeYou - June 8, 2023
Normal Weight Obesity: How to Live Healthily as a 'Skinny Fat' Person


Do you have a normal body weight but a high body fat percentage? You may be at risk for normal weight obesity, also known as skinny fat.

Normal weight obesity is often overlooked and yet, it's a condition that can have serious health implications for those who suffer from it.

If you're wondering what you can do to live healthily as a skinny fat person, we've got the answers. In this article, we’ll cover the basics of normal weight obesity and give you the strategies you need to reduce your body fat percentage and maintain a healthy weight.

1. Understanding Body Fat Percentages

Body fat percentage is an important indicator of overall health, especially for those living with normal weight obesity (NWO). NWO is when a person appears to be of a healthy weight, but has a high body fat percentage and a low lean mass. It's important to understand the different body fat percentages, so that you can gain a better understanding of your health.

Body fat is divided into three categories: essential fat, storage fat, and body fat percentage. Essential fat is necessary in maintaining normal body functions and reproductive systems, while storage fat is the fat stored around the organs of the body. Body fat percentage is the percentage of fat that a person carries compared to their lean mass, or the amount of their body weight that is not fat.

For most people, a healthy body fat percentage range is between 18 and 25 percent for men, and 25 and 31 percent for women. However, body fat percentage can vary depending on age. Generally, the higher the body fat percentage, the more at risk a person is of developing health issues. People with NWO may have a body fat percentage of 30 percent or higher.

By understanding what body fat percentage is, you can assess your health in relation to NWO, and take steps to better your health. A good starting point is to talk to a doctor or dietitian to get a full understanding of normal body fat percentages, and how to achieve a healthy balance.

2. Causes of High Body Fat Percentages

Normal weight obesity, otherwise known as “skinny fat,” is a medical condition where a person’s body mass index (BMI) is within a normal range, yet their body fat percentage is higher than is recommended for good health. While the exact causes of normal weight obesity are still being studied, it is believed to be the result of a combination of lifestyle factors.

One of the most common causes of high body fat percentage is an unhealthy diet. Eating too much processed and sugary foods, as well as foods that are high in fat and calories, can lead to weight gain and an overall increase in body fat. Additionally, not getting enough dietary fiber can also lead to an increase in body fat, as fiber helps to keep the digestive system working properly and prevents fat from being stored.

A sedentary lifestyle is another major factor in normal weight obesity, as a lack of physical activity can lead to an increase in body fat. Regular exercise helps to build muscle and increase metabolism, both of which can lead to a lower body fat percentage. Additionally, those who are regularly active are more likely to lead a healthier lifestyle overall, which can in turn help to reduce body fat levels.

Finally, there are certain medical conditions and medications that can lead to an increase in body fat, even while maintaining a healthy BMI. Thyroid problems, metabolic disorders, and certain medications such as antipsychotics and steroids can all lead to higher body fat percentages. If you think that a medical issue or a medication you’re taking could be causing your body fat percentage to be high, it’s important to talk to your doctor.

3. Potential Health Risks of Having a High Body Fat Percentage

Normal weight obesity, also known as “skinny fat” or “metabolically obese normal weight” (MONW), is a condition in which a person has a normal body weight but an abnormally high body fat percentage. While this is generally considered a benign condition, high body fat can lead to a number of serious health risks.

Research suggests that having an increased body fat percentage may lead to cardiovascular issues, including hypertension, elevated cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes. Studies have also linked an abnormally high-fat percentage to an increased risk of stroke and cardiovascular mortality.

People with normal weight obesity may also suffer from more serious complications associated with obesity, such as fatty liver disease, sleep apnea, and complications due to hormonal and metabolic changes. Additionally, higher levels of fat can lead to a distorted body image. This can lead to low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety.

Finally, people with normal weight obesity may struggle to keep up with strenuous physical activity and experience difficulty in reaching their fitness goals. This is due to the increased amount of visceral fat, which is stored around the organs like the heart, lungs, and liver. This form of fat cannot be reduced through traditional diet and exercise.

Therefore, it’s important for people with normal weight obesity to understand their body composition and the potential health risks associated with having an abnormally high body fat percentage. By monitoring their body fat, diet, and exercise, people with normal weight obesity can work to reduce their risk of developing serious health issues.

4. Lifestyle Changes to Reduce Body Fat Percentage

Normal weight obesity, or the term “skinny fat”, describes individuals who have a normal body weight and BMI, but a high body fat percentage. This can be caused by carrying a disproportionate amount of fat compared to lean body mass, and can put individuals at risk of developing chronic health issues such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. While losing weight can be difficult for those with normal weight obesity, there are lifestyle changes that can be implemented to reduce body fat percentage and improve overall health.

The first step in reducing body fat percentage is to focus on nutrition. Eating a balanced diet of lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats is essential in achieving healthy body composition. It is recommended to minimize processed and fast food, as these tend to be high in sugar and fat. Furthermore, eating on a regular schedule and avoiding skipping meals can help in controlling hunger levels and cravings throughout the day.

In addition to healthy eating, regular physical activity can help support a reduction in body fat percentage. An exercise plan should be tailored to individual needs and goals, and can include a combination of cardio and strength training. Cardiovascular activities such as running, swimming, or cycling can help burn calories, while strength training exercises can help build lean body mass. For those who are new to exercise, it is recommended to start with a moderate level of activity and gradually increase intensity over time.

For those looking for more structured weight-loss plans, there are a variety of programs available that focus on reducing body fat percentage through diet and exercise. These programs can be tailored to individual needs, providing guidance and support while helping to develop a healthier lifestyle.

Finally, it is important to remember that any lifestyle changes take time and effort, and require dedication and consistency to achieve lasting results. With the right combination of nutrition and exercise, reducing body fat percentage and leading a healthier life can be possible, even for those with normal weight obesity.

5. Working with a Physician to Monitor Your Health

Normal weight obesity, or “skinny fat,” can create health concerns even if you appear to be of a healthy weight. For this reason, it’s important to work closely with your physician to monitor your health.

If you are concerned about normal weight obesity, your physician should check your body fat percentage. They may also measure your waist circumference, as well as your blood pressure and cholesterol levels to check for any abnormalities. Depending on your health history and risk factors, they may also order other tests, such as blood work or a stress test.

Your physician can also help guide you in making lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of developing any health issues related to normal weight obesity. Eating diets low in processed foods and high in whole foods, like fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins, can help reduce body fat and promote overall health. Additionally, regular exercise is important for maintaining a healthy body composition and/or weight. Your physician can help you set realistic goals and come up with a plan to help you reach them.

Finally, if you’re at a higher risk of developing health issues related to normal weight obesity, your physician may recommend that you take medications to reduce the risk. They may also suggest lifestyle changes, such as increased physical activity or dietary changes. It’s important to follow your physician's guidance and keep in contact with them to ensure that your health is being monitored.

Normal weight obesity can be a serious health concern, even if you appear to be of a healthy weight. If you are concerned about your risk, it’s important to work with your physician to develop a plan to reduce the risk of developing any health issues related to high body fat. With their help, you can make the lifestyle changes needed to maintain a healthy weight and body composition.

6. Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Weight and Body Fat Percentage

Normal weight obesity, commonly known as "skinny fat", is a term that describes a person who appears to have a healthy BMI (Body Mass Index), yet has a high body fat percentage. If you believe that you may be affected by normal weight obesity, then it's important to take steps to reduce your body fat and maintain a healthy weight.

Here are six tips to help you live healthily as a 'skinny fat' person:

1. Track Your Calories and Macronutrients: Keeping track of what you're eating is essential for maintaining a healthy weight. Depending on your individual goals, you may want to set specific calorie and macronutrient targets. It's often helpful to track all your meals and snacks, so that you can easily identify any potential problem areas or areas where you may need to adjust your diet.

2. Increase Your Protein Intake: Increasing the protein in your diet can help you maintain lean muscle mass and reduce body fat. A healthy protein-rich diet can also reduce hunger, making it easier to stick to your calorie and macronutrient targets. Aim to include a source of lean protein in every meal and snack.

3. Cut Out Refined Carbohydrates: Eating too many refined carbohydrates (e.g. white bread and sugary snacks) can lead to weight gain and increased body fat. To reduce your risk of normal weight obesity, limit your intake of refined carbohydrates and opt for complex carbohydrates instead.

4. Exercise Regularly: Exercise is essential for maintaining a healthy weight and body fat percentage. Aim to include both aerobic exercise and strength training in your routine. This will help you increase your muscle mass, which in turn will help you reduce body fat.

5. Reduce Stress: High levels of stress can lead to increased body fat and make it harder to lose weight. Aim to reduce your stress levels through lifestyle changes such as practice mindfulness, establishing better sleep hygiene and making time for relaxation.

6. Be Patient: Reducing body fat and maintaining a healthy weight can take time, so don't be disheartened if you don't see results right away. Keep track of your progress and ensure that you're sticking to your diet and exercise plan. With patience and dedication, you can reach your health goals.

How can a 'Skinny Fat' person determine their ideal body weight?

Normal weight obesity, or 'skinny fat', is a condition when a person appears thin but has high body fat. The condition is caused by a combination of factors such as lifestyle, diet, and genetics.

In order to determine the ideal body weight for a 'skinny fat' person, it is important to measure body composition. Body composition measures the amount of fat, muscle, and bones a person has. The most accurate way to measure body composition is through bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA), which involves passing a small electrical current through the body. Another popular method is dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA), which utilizes low-dose X-rays to measure body composition.

It is also important to measure waist circumference. A waist circumference that is greater than 35 inches (89 cm) in women and 40 inches (102 cm) in men suggests that there is potentially too much fat in the abdominal area. This could indicate normal weight obesity.

Another way to determine ideal body weight is to calculate body mass index (BMI). BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight, and is used to determine whether a person is of normal weight, overweight, or obese. A BMI of 18.5-24.9 is considered normal weight, 25-29.9 is considered overweight, and 30 or greater is considered obese. However, BMI is not a perfect measure of body fat, and can be inaccurate for athletes, elderly people, and people with very muscular builds.

In order to best determine the ideal body weight for a 'skinny fat' person, a combination of body composition measurement, waist circumference, and BMI should be used. It is also important to note that muscle mass is important for overall health, and not all fat is bad - so an ideal weight should include both good levels of muscle mass and body fat. A qualified medical professional can help in determining the best course of action.


What is Normal Weight Obesity (NWO)?

Normal Weight Obesity, also known as "skinny fat" is a condition where an individual has a normal body weight, however, has a higher than normal body fat percentage. NWO is often caused by poor diet and lack of physical activity.

What is the difference between Normal Weight Obesity and being overweight?

NWO is different from being overweight as a person could be overweight but still have a low body fat percentage. NWO refers to having a high body fat percentage, not just higher than normal weight.

Are there any health risks associated with NWO?

Yes, there are various health risks associated with NWO, such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and metabolic syndrome. NWO is also linked to an increased risk of death due to cardiovascular disease.

What are some tips for living healthily with NWO?

There are several ways you can maintain a healthy lifestyle even if you suffer with NWO. Eating a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, fish and nuts is important. Additionally, exercising regularly and doing activities that engage your muscles is key. Finally, getting enough rest and managing your stress are important for managing NWO.

What dietary strategies should a 'Skinny Fat' person adopt to live healthily?

It's not just about what they eat, but how they eat.

Normal weight obesity, also known as 'Skinny Fat', is a condition where a person's BMI is in a healthy range but where high body fat levels are present. If left unchecked, this health risk can lead to serious health problems such as insulin resistance, high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol.

The key to managing this condition is to focus on improving dietary habits. It's important to remember that what you eat is just as important as the amount. A 'Skinny Fat' person should aim to eat a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. Eating a variety of nutrient-dense foods will help to ensure that your body is getting the nutrients it needs to function optimally.

It's also important to limit processed foods, as well as sugar and salt intake. Eating mostly whole, unprocessed foods will help to keep your calorie intake in check, while also providing you with essential vitamins and minerals. Additionally, reducing your sugar and salt intake can help to reduce the risk of developing complications such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

As well as eating healthy foods, a 'Skinny Fat' person should also make sure to eat regularly. Eating regular meals and snacks throughout the day will help to keep your blood sugar levels stable and prevent you from overeating. Additionally, drinking plenty of water will help to prevent dehydration and will ensure that you are getting all the nutrients your body needs.

Finally, it's important to remember that staying active is also an important component of any healthy lifestyle. Regular physical activity will help to keep your body healthy and strong and will help to reduce your risk of developing heart disease.

By following these dietary and lifestyle tips, 'Skinny Fat' people can improve their health and reduce the risk of serious complications associated with normal weight obesity. Eating a balanced diet and staying active can help 'Skinny Fat' people to lead a healthy and productive life.

What role do supplements play in living healthily as a 'Skinny Fat' person?

When it comes to living healthily as a person with normal weight obesity (NWO), or 'skinny fat', it is important to focus on lifestyle changes that will promote a healthy body composition. These changes include a healthy, balanced diet and regular exercise. However, supplements can also play an important role in helping to reach healthy body fat levels and improve overall health.

The most important supplement for NWO is omega-3 fatty acids. These are essential fatty acids that help to reduce body fat and improve metabolic health. Studies have shown that omega-3s can help to reduce fat tissue in people with NWO. Additionally, omega-3s help to reduce inflammation in the body which can improve metabolic health. The best sources of omega-3s are fish oil, flaxseed oil, and walnuts.

Protein is also important for maintaining a healthy body composition. Protein can help to build muscle, which can help to reduce body fat. A high-quality protein supplement such as whey protein can help to ensure adequate protein intake, and it can also help to boost metabolism. Additionally, protein can help to maintain muscle mass and strength, which can help to reduce body fat.

Antioxidants are also important for overall health and can help to reduce body fat in people with NWO. Antioxidants can help to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the body, which can help to improve overall health. The best sources of antioxidants are fruits and vegetables, but supplements such as Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and carotenoids can also help to provide additional antioxidant support.

Finally, probiotics can also be beneficial for people with NWO. Probiotics help to promote a healthy gut microbiome, which is essential for good health. Studies have shown that probiotics can help to reduce body fat and improve metabolic health. Probiotics can be found in fermented foods such as yogurt and kefir, but supplements are also available.

In conclusion, supplements can play an important role in living healthily as a person with normal weight obesity. Omega-3 fats, protein, antioxidants, and probiotics can all help to reduce body fat and improve overall health. It is important to consult witha health professional to determine which supplements are right for you.


Living healthily as a 'Skinny Fat' person requires a concerted long-term effort to maintain a healthy body weight and body fat percentage. It is essential to gain a better understanding of body fat percentages, the potential health risks associated with having a high body fat percentage, and the lifestyle changes that can help reduce body fat percentage. Working with a physician to monitor your health is an important part of the journey toward a healthier body. Additionally, adopting a balanced diet with healthy foods and incorporating supplements into your diet could be beneficial for your health. Ultimately, through a combination of lifestyle changes and professional guidance, 'Skinny Fat' people can maintain a healthy body weight and body fat percentage and reduce their risk of chronic diseases.