So I recently discovered the term "skinny-fat" and it fits me perfectly. I just thought I was horribly disfigured, but it's when you look very skinny in clothes and appear completely normal, or even underweight, on a scale, and yet still have an overly high body fat%, and lots of visible fat on your body.
I know why I'm skinny-fat now, and it's because I lost a lot of weight in 6-7 months by diet and not a lot of exercise.
What I've read so far is that many skinny-fat people are skinny people that just eat badly, but I eat a wonderful diet. I eat TONS of fruits+vegetables, some lean meats like chicken and fish (no red meat), enough whole grains and fiber for my everyday needs, and very very very very little fat.
Now in the few short "guides" I've read, they're telling me that I need to gain wait to stop being skinny fat. Here's the thing though..some say to focus on losing weight even more, and others say that that will only make it worse and that I need to increase my caloric intake, lift weights more, and build more muscle mass.
I'm fine with exercising more if I have to, but I'm terrified of changing my diet because I won't know if what I'm gaining is fat or muscle!! Does anyone have any suggestions, especially as to what I should be eating. Should I eat more fat? Calories? Meat? Less of anything? Less of everything?
I'd mainly focus on just changing your exercise routine. Definitely don't do anything too high-impact and instead focus on building some lean muscle but doing some strength training and lower impact cardio (like biking or walking). With more strength training, eating plenty of protein is important. I wouldn't think you would need to increase the fat you eat or anything. If you are eating balanced, healthy meals, and are eating enough calories, you should be fine with your eating habits. Just try implementing a new exercise routine. If you feel you are losing weight from the exercise rather than just losing fat and gaining muscle, THEN you might want to increase your calories. You shouldn't have to eat less though. Just stick with lean protein (grilled or baked meats, like chicken, are a good choice), fruits and veggies, and whole wheat carbohydrates. Good luck to you!
Have to agree that a "skinny fat" person at low-normal or under weight would likely be better off gaining muscle weight, and that the main method of doing that is exercise-based, along with consuming sufficient protein for that purpose. You may have to eat more to gain weight, but you can still eat healthy while doing so. Note that unsaturated fats from fish, nuts, avocados, and non-hydrogenated vegetable oils other than coconut or palm oil are fine if they fit into your desired calorie intake.
When doing strength or weight training, be sure to include things that involve the big muscles, like the lats (e.g. pullups, rows), chest (e.g. pushups, bench press), and larger upper leg muscles.