If you’re asking yourself why you have belly fat even though you are skinny, don’t worry; you’re not alone.
Having a bit of belly fat is something virtually everyone deals with…even skinny people. It’s just something that happens to the human body based on our genetic makeup.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to combat it! Of course, for some people, the answer to this question becomes more of an existential debate (as in why do we exist?), but that’s a different conversation for a different time.
For now, let’s focus on the specific issue of why skinny people still have belly fat and what can be done about it.
Understanding Your Body Fat
The first thing to understand is the difference between body fat, subcutaneous fat, and visceral fat. Body fat is an important part of our overall health, but it’s not all the same.
There are three main types of body fat:
This type of fat is located under your skin in areas like your arms and thighs. It can be used as a source of fuel for heat or energy when you don’t eat enough calories to meet your body’s needs.
This type of fat is located around the organs inside your abdomen — including the heart and liver. Because it surrounds vital organs, visceral fat has more serious implications for your health than subcutaneous or other types of body fat do.
Visceral fat can lead to many diseases and conditions, including high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
This type of body fat is found within muscles themselves — but only if you’re overweight or obese does it become a significant factor in health risk factors like blood sugar control and blood pressure regulation.
Intramuscular fat is not typically found in lean people, but it can be present in athletes who are overweight or obese. Intramuscular fat has been linked to an increased risk of insulin resistance and diabetes—even though it’s not located within the bloodstream.
Can You Be Skinny and Have Belly Fat?
It’s possible to be skinny and have belly fat, but it’s not the way most people would define those terms.
A person who is “skinny” means they have low body weight. But when you look at their waist size and hip size, they may be considered “fat.” In other words, their body fat percentage is high even though they don’t look like it.
This is because the body mass index (BMI) formula measures weight in relation to height, not body composition (percentage of lean muscle versus fat). It does not take into account how much fat is stored around your organs or around your waistline (visceral fat).
So even if you are skinny according to BMI but have a lot of excess abdominal fat, then you could still be considered overweight or obese by standard medical definitions.
If this describes your situation, then losing weight can help reduce your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and other health conditions associated with being overweight or obese.
Why Do I Have Belly Fat Even Though I’m Skinny?
There are many reasons why you may have belly fat even though you’re skinny. The most common reason is because of a hormone called insulin.
Insulin is the hormone that tells your body to store sugar as fat. So if you have too much insulin in your body, it will store more fat around your midsection and hips, making them look bigger than they actually are.
Insulin sensitivity is also an issue when it comes to belly fat or abdominal obesity. If you are insulin resistant, your body has a harder time breaking down sugars and starches into energy (glucose) which is then stored in your muscles or liver as glycogen for later use. This makes it difficult for the body to properly regulate blood sugar levels which can lead to high blood pressure and heart disease.
Another factor that contributes to belly fat — especially for women — is estrogen dominance which occurs when there’s more estrogen in the body than progesterone (the female sex hormone). When this happens, estrogen causes an increase in subcutaneous fat storage around the waistline, which leads to weight gain for women who suffer from this condition.
Another reason why you have belly fat even though you are skinny is that you may be eating foods that trigger inflammation in your body. Inflammation can cause weight gain, especially around the belly area. This is because when your body is inflamed, it produces a hormone called cortisol which causes fat storage and also increases appetite so that you eat more food than you need to maintain a healthy weight.
Other reasons why you may have belly fat even though you are skinny are related to lifestyle factors. For example, if you don’t exercise regularly, or if you smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol excessively, these habits can cause weight gain and also increase your risk of developing certain diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
In addition to these lifestyle factors, there are also certain medical conditions that can cause you to gain weight, especially around the belly area. For example, if you have hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid gland), this condition may interfere with your metabolism and cause weight gain.
Another common disorder that can cause obesity is polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal condition affecting women of reproductive age.
Skinny but Belly Looks Pregnant
This is called “skinny fat” or “skinny fat syndrome.”
This is a condition where you are skinny on the surface, but underneath, your skin is filled with fat. For women, it’s usually around their hips or thighs, while for men, it’s usually around the midsection.
This happens because skinny people don’t get enough nutrients from food to maintain their muscle mass. Their bodies are forced to burn fat instead of carbohydrates and proteins as energy sources. This creates an unhealthy situation where they’re wasting away on the inside while looking healthy on the outside.
In this case, the cause is usually a poor diet that doesn’t provide enough nutrients. This can also be related to stress and anxiety levels, as well as not sleeping enough at night. When you’re stressed or anxious, your body releases cortisol—a hormone that helps us deal with these feelings.
However, when we have too much cortisol in our bodies for too long (for example, from working long hours every day), it causes us to gain weight around our midsections.
How to Fix “Skinny With Belly Fat”
Even if you are skinny, you can still have belly fat. Belly fat is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Here are some ways to get rid of it:
How to Get Rid of Pregnant Looking Belly
It is normal to have a little bit of fat on your belly, especially if you are pregnant. However, if the fat on your belly looks like you are pregnant, you may want to try some tips to get rid of it.
There are various ways of getting rid of a pregnant-looking belly, depending on the cause.
If the cause is hormonal, then losing weight can help. In fact, losing just 5 percent of your body weight can make a huge difference. So if you’re overweight and having trouble losing weight, try cutting back on carbohydrates and eating more protein instead. Also, drink plenty of water throughout the day and exercise regularly.
If you have been eating too much salt (sodium), then cut back on processed foods — which often contain lots of salt — and make sure that what you do eat has less sodium in it by choosing lower-sodium versions whenever possible.
If your belly is bloated and distended, try these tips:
Frequently Asked Questions
Do skinny people have belly fat?
Yes, but it may be harder to see than in someone who’s overweight or obese. It’s also possible that some of your other body measurements are larger (like hip circumference) than they would be if you were heavier.
What causes skinny people to have belly fat?
It could be genetics or epigenetics (the way your genes are expressed). It could also be a result of lifestyle choices, such as eating too many processed foods and not exercising enough.
How can you tell if skinny people have belly fat?
The easiest way is to look at yourself in the mirror and check for a protruding tummy or love handles. You can also measure your waist circumference with an accurate tape measure.
How do you lose belly fat if you’re a skinny person?
It’s important to exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. You should also drink plenty of water each day to help flush toxins from your body.
What are the best exercises for losing belly fat if you’re not a skinny person?
The best exercises for losing belly fat are those that use large muscle groups, such as your legs, chest, and back. You can also perform high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts to help you burn more calories in less time.
There are many reasons for having belly fat even though you’re skinny, including stress and a lack of sleep. However, it could also mean that you’ve been over-consuming refined carbs and sugars.
Sticking to whole food nutrition will help ensure that your body’s metabolism is running as efficiently as possible.
And remember everything in moderation: while too much sugar isn’t good for you, natural sources of sugar shouldn’t be demonized either.
So, if you notice that your pants are fitting tighter overall and you want that fat gone, I recommend being active. It will not make you too big or muscular; it will just make you slim and fit.