Why Skinny Doesn’t Always Mean Healthy

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Self Magazine
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

SELF magazine

Think thin people have faster metabolisms and sweating means you're burning fat faster? Not so, say our experts.

Thin people have fast metabolisms.

MYTH! The less you weigh, the slower your metabolism, because it takes fewer calories to maintain your weight. If a speedy metabolism is what you covet, you'd be better off admiring Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn's quads of steel than Kate Middleton's slender physique. "The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn," Nieman says. This fact also explains why it's crucial for those looking to slim down to pair a diet plan with exercise. Strength training will keep your metabolism revved as the pounds drop.

See more: Foods That Fight Cellulite

I've gained weight. I think it's my thyroid.

MYTH! Home in on your habits before you blame hormones. "The number of people who are overweight or obese because of a thyroid problem is minuscule," says Adrian Dobs, M.D., professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. True, if your thyroid gland stops making enough of the hormones triiodothyronine (T 3 ) and thyroxine (T 4 ), your metabolism may slow down and a small amount of weight gain- 5 to 10 pounds-could result. But this hypothyroidism is relatively rare and usually accompanied by symptoms such as constipation and fatigue, Dr. Dobs says. Extra girth is more apt to stem from an unsurprising mix of genes, diet and lack of physical activity. Blood tests can tell for sure.

See more: The Healthiest Cities for Women

If I feel sluggish every afternoon, I must have a problem with my metabolism.

MYTH! More likely, your lunch is to blame for the blahs. "A meal heavy on refined carbs such as white bread can increase levels of the brain chemical serotonin, which may make you drowsy," Anding says. You also digest these carb-rich foods quickly, which causes your blood sugar to spike and then drop-hence the desire to nap under your desk. For lasting energy, pack a lunch with fiber, whole grains and protein, which your body takes longer to metabolize. Think PB&pear on whole wheat.

Heavy sweating equals a fast metabolism.

MYTH! You can't measure the speed of your metabolism by your puddles of perspiration. There are a number of reasons why you may have to towel off after a workout: It's hot in the gym, your gym clothes don't wick sweat, or you bundled up when it wasn't that chilly outside. But take heart: If you're drenched, you were probably giving your workout all you've got, which will pay you back in calorie-blasting muscle mass later.

More from SELF:

20 Superfoods for Weight Loss
Yoga Moves for Flat Abs
38 Antiaging Foods
Gwyneth Paltrow's Arm and Ab Workout