Monthly Archives: November 2013

3 Calorie-Burning Questions, Answered


Can your metabolism ever be too fast?
Yes, if you have a medical condition like hyperthyroidism, or if you’re addicted to a stimulant drug such as cocaine or methamphetamine (hopefully not the case!). Only about 2% of American women are actually considered underweight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but if you find that you’re unexpectedly losing weight or having trouble keeping it on, see your doc to rule out an underlying disease.

Why do I seem to gain weight in the winter?
You might see seasonal changes in the number on the scale, but it doesn’t have anything to do with the weather: “People are likely to be more active in spring and summer,” explains Pamela Peeke, MD, assistant professor at the University of Maryland and author of The Hunger Fix. “There’s a slight slowdown in your thyroid in the fall, but not enough to matter,” she adds. “People who are active notice nothing.”

When skinny models and celebs shrug and say, “I just have a fast metabolism!” is that really true?
It could be. “They may simply be genetically blessed,” says Dr. Peeke (lucky them). “Then again, many are actually not eating that much in general and/or they’re exercising a lot.”


4 Ways to Control Your Appetite


Stomach growling? Those are your hunger hormones talking. The top three—ghrelin, cortisol and leptin—signal when you’re hungry, when you’re full and even when your body is jonesing for specific snacks. The good news: They can easily be manipulated to reduce cravings and keep you from overeating.

Hit the sack
One night of poor sleep can cause ghrelin to increase, triggering hunger, according to a study from the University of Chicago. You may not always be able to get a full seven hours, but if you’re trying to eat less, make sleep a priority.

Get back on the wagon
Reach for produce instead of something fried—healthful foods can suppress ghrelin, which promotes fat storage and causes you to crave fatty foods, says Scott Isaacs, MD, professor at Emory University School of Medicine.

Eat more slowly
It takes 20 minutes for hormones to relay the message to our brain that we’re no longer hungry. So take a sip of water or put your fork down between bites and snack on foods that take longer to eat, such as unshelled nuts or peel-and-eat shrimp.

Chill out
Not only does stress zap willpower, it increases cortisol, which can lead to cravings and weight gain around the belly. When anxiety strikes, turn to exercise, deep breathing, music or a call with a friend to distract you from food.