Mind + body, January 2011
Written by Kristen Russell
Weight not, want not
Think you’re overweight? A new study finds that about 1 of every 6 American women of normal weight thinks she’s actually overweight — and nearly 1 in 4 overweight women believes her weight is normal. The University of Texas study looked at more than 2,000 women. Of those, 52 percent were overweight, and 23 percent of those saw themselves as being of normal weight. Among women of normal weight, 16 percent thought they were overweight. What’s this mean? Weight misperception is rampant among women! The researchers think the obesity epidemic is partially to blame; overweight has become the new “normal.”
Got ‘mommy brain?’
Consider it a compliment! New research is shedding new light on that post-baby “mommy brain” — you know, that exhausted, scatterbrained state women exist in after giving birth. Turns out, motherhood may actually trigger brain growth, according to research from Yale University. Using high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs) on the brains of 19 post-delivery women, scientists found improved functioning
in brain areas responsible for reasoning, judgment and emotional intelligence, among others. Read more about this research in The Mommy Brain: How Motherhood Makes Us Smarter, by Katherine Ellison.
Fertile — or not?
Home fertility tests might not be as accurate as many women hope, according to researchers. The tests work by measuring follicle stimulating hormone, or FSH, in a woman’s urine. The higher the FSH, it’s believed, the less likely a woman is to conceive. But the new study found that high levels of FSH don’t correlate with lower odds of becoming pregnant. In other words, the tests may indicate that a woman is less fertile than she actually is.
Feeling your sexiest these days? As if! Mothering can leave a woman feeling like Miles-of-bad-road Barbie. But you can reclaim your inner kitten — and create a hot gift for your partner! — with a session at a local boudoir photographer. Most offer professional hair and make-up styling, and let you take the edge off of nerves by bringing a pal and a bottle of wine. Try boudoirphotographyseattle.com or seattleboudoirphotography.com for starters.
Too much drinking, too few Pap tests — two troubling trends in women’s health, according to an annual report card. Of 26 health indicators, the US failed in half as ranked in Making the Grade on Women’s Health. Over the past ten years, the biggest declines in female health have been in binge drinking rates (drinking at least five consecutive alcoholic drinks), and declining Pap test rates.
Well, it’s no wonder! A study by the National Science Foundation finds that American men still do little more than a third of household labor — even if their wives work full time! And, men actually create an extra 7 hours per week of housework for their wives. In England, the story’s much the same, with one out of 5 men admitting they never help out around the house; in Spain, it’s even worse — 33 percent of men there say they don’t lift a finger!
Crank it, baby!
Start 2011 with a plan to boost your metabolism! You’ll burn more fat and have more energy. Here are five tips to wake up your bod. Try a few — and read more at parentmap.com/more.
1. cut calories — but not too much Burning calories is key to weight loss, but cutting by more than 20 percent will actually slow your metabolism.
2. move it! Go for a walk. Go for a run. Take the stairs. There’s no denying it: any kind of regular, vigorous exercise will crank up your system and cause you to burn about 100 extra calories a day at rest.
3. give it a lift Lifting weights builds muscle, and muscle is your friend. Muscles burn more calories than fat, and they add that swanky definition and tone. The more muscular you are, the higher your resting metabolism rate.
4. don’t skip breakfast Going without actually slows your metabolism. Instead, go for a protein-fuelled, high-fiber breakfast, like oatmeal and eggs, or peanut butter on toast.
5. eat small, frequent meals Eating like a bird will keep your metabolism in high gear.