"SCARY SKINNY TABLOID TELL-ALLS!"
Which Would You Prefer... A Skinny, Half-Anorexic "Waif Model" Body ... Or The Lean, Hard, Firm Body Of A Top Fitness Model?
By Tom Venuto, Author of,
Burn the Fat, Feed The Muscle
I admit it. I bought the National Enquirer.
I know, I know,
you should never admit you bought the Enquirer, but the headline GOT me!
“Hollywood’s Deadly Skin And Bones Diet: Stars Risking Their
Lives To Be Thin.”
Not to be outdone, IN TOUCH magazine’s cover story was remarkably
similar with the headline:
Actually, I wasn’t “reading” the Enquirer at all, I was, ahem, “Doing professional
On the cover of the Enquirer there were photos of a “bony skinny”
Angelina Jolie at 5’ 7” 100 lbs, Anna Kournikova at 5’ 6” and 110
pounds, and Cate Blanchett at 5’ 8” and 106 pounds, among others.
After I flipped past the picture of Sharon Stone’s butt cellulite
circled and enlarged for detail (no, I’m sorry to say, I’m not
joking about that!), the feature story inside discussed an issue that’s really quite serious:
Dr. Stanley Title said that “The skin and bones diet is extremely
dangerous and can cause serious health implications. Literally, they
are starving themselves to death.”
Dr. Title said that Hollywood celebrities know that they look 10 lbs
heavier on camera so they’ve almost all at one time used extreme
measures (often including diet drug abuse), to the point where even casusal observers notice the protruding
bones and rail thin bodies and wonder if they’ve gone too far.
People are dying to be skinny, and unfortunately, that cliche has proven
to be literally true on more than one occasion in the case of severe anorexia.
SKINNY DOES NOT NECESSARILY MEAN HEALTHY
All too often, people forget to include “health” when they’re setting
their goals. It’s just “x lbs” or “size X” or “X% body fat,” but seldom
a mention of health, energy, nutrition and quality of life.
There’s a side to this “scary skin and bones diet” that’s even more
alarming than what the Enquirer alluded to.
I am privy to this only because I’m a fat loss coach who has
taken thousands of body composition tests over the years, which is why
most people don’t know about this.
Dr. Title, in the Enquirer story, said that these diets “leave the
dieters looking skeletal with bones protruding under the skin.” True. And many clearly are flirting with eating disorders.
But something else I’ve noticed from my experience is that starvation
dieting can often produce the opposite of the intended result. Instead of improving your body composition…
YOUR BODY FAT TO MUSCLE RATIO CAN ACTUALLY GET WORSE AND YOU BECOME A “SKINNY FAT PERSON!”
I'm not making this up! "Skinny fat" may be fitness slang, but it's a real clinical condition. Doctors and researchers call it, "NORMAL WEIGHT OBESITY."
That’s right. Not only does skinny NOT = healthy, skinny also does
NOT = lean, and skinny certainly does NOT = muscle.
Starvation dieters become victims of “skinny fat syndrome” and they diet off lots of “weight”, but the weight consists of more muscle than fat, so they end up with almost no muscle left, but a lot of the fat still remains!
Too bad they’re dieting off all their muscle, because MUSCLE is the engine that drives your metabolism.
Sometimes it’s not the “skin and bones” diet at all, it’s the
“Bones and Fat diet.”
I’ve measured the body composition of some women who at a casual glance
looked thin or even down right skinny, and to my absolute shock and
dismay, I found they were carrying body fat in “worse than average” range!
One woman I took a test on was about 5’ 7” and 121 pounds.
On any height weight chart or by any other standard that would be thin.
And this shows the flaw of thinking only in terms of “skinny,” “thin”
or even just “bodyweight”: Her body fat measured an astonishgly high 28%!
That’s 34 lbs of fat out of 121 lbs, leaving only 87 pounds of lean body mass and fat free-tissue!
Imagine for a moment an arm bone, with a one inch pad of fat surrounding
it, kind of like foam insulation around a pipe. That’s what her arm
was like, only the insulation was pure fat!.
When I grabbed the back of her (very thin) arm- it was just one
giant fat fold! Literally no muscle - just bones and fat.
Are you now starting to see the problem we have here with the way most people are dieting and thinking?
Do you realize how slow your metabolism would be if you only had 87 pounds
of lean body mass? How about how weak you would be? is that what you
I used to think “fat” was bad. Then I found out about “skinny fat” - nothing
worse than skinny-fat, right?
Not so fast, How about “skinny-fat, malnourished, unhealthy and weak?” NOW THAT’S BAD!
People are so fixated only on the pounds of bodyweight and the outward
appearance of “skinny” or “thin’ they are paying NO attention to health,
energy, strength, function, muscle and vitality - the things that count!
4 TIPS TO BE “FITNESS MODEL LEAN”…
NOT “WAIF-MODEL SKINNY”
(1) FIRST. Above all else, do not starve yourself.
ANY very low calorie diet can work in the beginning, but that’s exactly where the danger is - there’s a false sense of success achieved with
rapid weight loss.
Rapid bodyweight loss almost never lasts. The thing is, in this day and age,
you already know that. But you so desperately WANT to BELIEVE in the promise
of the quick fix, that you ignore your own logic and act on emotion.
Never starve yourself. It’s better to burn more calories with
exercise and activity than it is to cut more calories.
When you’re active and burning calories, you can eat much more,
providing you with more vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, fiber,
essential fatty acids and essential amino acids.
Proper nutrition = optimum health.
Starve yourself = inadequate nutrition = poor health
(2) SECOND, you must make strength training a part of
your lifelong exercise program.
You must do resistance training. This is the stimulus and signal
to your body to keep the lean muscle when you are on a moderately
reduced calorie fat loss program.
Weight training is NOT just for bodybuilders. There is simply no substitute for strength training in keeping
your muscle, stoking your metabolism, getting you lean,
making you biologically young and keeping you healthy.
Yes - do your cardio too. But don’t do just cardio and think that’s enough. It’s NOT. Cardio + weight training are the TWO exercise elements that when done in combination will produce the fastest healthy fat loss results you can get, while maintaining all your muscle.
—————————-DON’T DO THIS—————————————-
Almost all “skinny fat” people do two things:
1. Starve themselves on very, very low calorie diets
2. Refuse to lift weights (becaues they are afraid it will make them bigger)
(3) THIRD, you have to change your language.
Words are so powerful aren’t they? Just a change in vocabulary
can instantly change a feeling and begin to change your behaviors.
If we stopped trying to be “skinny” and stopped “dying to be thin”
(what a terrible metaphor), and instead we focused on “being healthy”
“being lean” what a difference it would make.
What if you focused on “improving your nutrition” instead of “going
on a diet?” what kind of difference do you think that would make?
Just the sound of that - “nutrition” - how does it make you feel
compared to “diet?” I’m SERIOUS, THINK about that. What associations
come along with each word?
What if you added to your goal list a desire to look and be
“athletic.” How would that change your perspective? Is the
rail-thin, protruding bones waif-model look “athletic???”
- Always include “being healthy” in your goals, not just
reaching a certain weight or dress size.
- Always include “being LEAN” in your goals, never just
- Always focus on “improving nutrition” not “dieting.”
(4) FOURTH, measure your body composition.
You must become aware of the difference between body fat
and bodyweight and you must understand body fat percentage
and body fat testing.
That doesn’t mean don’t use your scale and ignore what the mirror
shows you and how your clothes fit, it means doing all of the above.
Always measure your body composition (skinfold caliper or other
method), and understand what youre losing - is it weight or fat?
Is it just water weight? Could it be lean muscle you’re losing?
A single measurement will tell you.
Burn The Fat, KEEP The Muscle
Everything I’ve described here about what you should do and what
you should not do is the same approach that *natural* bodybuilders
and fitness competitors have always used.
These athletes CANNOT afford to lose an ounce of muscle, so
they train hard and eat sometimes as many as 5-6 clean-natural-food meals a day to feed the muscle.
It’s the approach I use to reach the type of physical condition
you see in the picture on my website, and its’ the approach I have
been teaching to others for years in my
Burn The Fat program.
I hope that more people who were focused only on being skinny will
begin to focus on the right thing:
It’s not about being “skinny.” It’s about being “lean” and being “healthy.”
Your friend and coach,
Tom Venuto, author of
Copyright 2009 Burn The Fat.com.
About Bodybuilding & Fat Loss Coach, Tom Venuto
Tom Venuto is a fat loss expert, natural (steroid-free) bodybuilder, nutrition researcher and author. His #1 best-selling diet e-book, Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle, teaches you how to get lean without drugs or supplements using secrets of the world's best bodybuilders and fitness models. Tom has written hundreds of articles and has been featured in IRONMAN, Natural Bodybuilding, Muscular Development, Men's Exercise, Men's Fitness, First for Women, The Wall Street Journal and Oprah Magazine. To get more information about Tom's e-book about natural fat loss, visit the home page at: www.BurnTheFat.com
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