You’re working hard to lose weight, sticking to your healthy habits, and the voice within your mind gets activated again “Why do I feel fat? — I’m skinny but I feel fat” — and this can be very frustrating, especially when you’re actively trying to be in better shape. There could be two reasons for this:

  1. You’re skinny but might need to tone up by exercising more. For example, you could simply feel out of shape because your endurance for physical activities is low. So even if you don’t have much extra weight, you could still feel fat simply because you’re not using your muscles enough. To fix this issue, try incorporating a few strength-based workouts a week to increase your endurance and stamina. 
  2. You might be bloated. One reason for why you feel fat after eating is that you are bloated. Not fat, just bloated — there is a huge difference between the two. So instead of blaming yourself for ‘I’m skinny but I’m fat’, accept that on some days you will just feel puffy and bloated because of water retention or constipation issues. 

There is no quick fix for how to stop feeling fat. The key thing is to work with your critical voice and learn to accept that you won’t feel fabulous every day of the year. 

However, if the reason why you feel fat despite being skinny is that you’re lacking physical stamina, the best thing you can do is start looking after your body. Add in a physical exercise you enjoy into your daily routine and challenge yourself to become stronger. You can do this not to be better looking, but to feel more confident in yourself. Ultimately, remember that the point of exercising is to increase the confidence you have in yourself, and not to impress other people. 

Also, read – Psychology of Eating: How Food Affects Mood

Therefore, if you’re skinny but feeling fat, start by observing the thoughts you have about your body. If they’re negative, challenge them. If the reason you feel this way is related to how you feel in your body, exercise more to feel stronger and more confident. 

Asked by: Millie P.

CBT Psychologist / Cognitive Neuroscientist

Teodora is a cognitive neuroscientist with a background in Psychology and Integrative Psychotherapy. She has experience working in clinical trials with Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients and adults with various mental health diagnoses. She has an integrative approach towards mental health and aims to help people recognize the importance of physical, emotional, and spiritual health to their overall mental wellness.