Our experts answer reader questions about dropping the last 10 pounds—or more.
Question: I've heard that lifting weights helps the body burn calories even when you're not active. True or false? — Reiko
Answer: That's true. A lot of women prioritize cardio because they want to lose fat, but that burns calories only while you're exercising; as soon as you stop, you're no longer burning as much. Instead, lifting weights revs up your metabolism, so you'll continue burning calories for a few hours after your workout. And don't worry about bulking up; women don't have enough testosterone for that. But you will get leaner!
— Trudie German, certified personal trainer and owner of bodyenvy.ca, Toronto
Question: Is it possible I'm meant to be this big? I've been about the same size all my adult life, give or take a dress size. My mom and my sister are both size 14, and so were my grandmas. Maybe it's genetics? — Anne
Answer: Your genes do play a role, but it's more important to remember that size isn't really a good measure of health. If you're active, feeling good and sleeping and eating well, you probably don't have to worry. According to the World Health Organization, obesity is defined as "abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health." Of course, as you get heavier, there's a greater likelihood your health could be negatively impacted. But it's impossible for me to tell just by having you step on a scale; I have to do all sorts of tests to see if your weight really is affecting your health.
— Dr. Arya Sharma, founder of the Canadian Obesity Network and professor at the University of Alberta
Question: I'm injured and I can't work out. Is it still possible to lose weight? (Even if I'm eating my feelings about not being able to exercise?) — Katie
Answer: It's certainly possible! In fact, what you eat has more of an impact on your weight than exercise. You won't be able to work off extra calories, so be particularly mindful of other factors that influence weight, too, by getting enough sleep, finding ways to manage stress and choosing healthy whole foods in appropriate portions. And try these tricks: Serve vegetables family-style so they're within easy reach, but keep richer foods on the stovetop; use a smaller plate; and focus on your food—you're more likely to overindulge if you're distracted, so try not to eat in front of the TV, in the car or at your desk at work. Lastly, don't deny your hunger; eventually, it will backfire and you'll find yourself overeating or grabbing a convenient but unhealthy snack. People often think they have to cut back on food if they're going to lose weight, but I counsel my clients to eat more during the day. The idea isn't to willpower your way to weight loss; it's to make sustainable changes.
— Casey Berglund, registered dietitian and owner of worthyandwell.com, Calgary
Thai Chicken Noodle Bowl</br>Photography by Jeff Coulson Credits: Thai Chicken Noodle Bowl</br>Photography by Jeff Coulson
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Credits: Jeff Coulson
Be the star of the show with our 11 ultimate potluck dishes.
These brownies are Food Director Annabelle Waugh's secret recipe and are sure to be a hit at any potluck! We now use it as our classic brownie recipe at Canadian Living. You'll see that they live up to their name.
Creamy and comforting? Check. Rich and delicious? Check. This simple, classic side has everything you could ever ask for in a potato gratin. We guarantee you'll make it again and again – and again!
We gave our classic caesar salad a nutrient boost by adding tender baby kale. Crunchy pumpernickel croutons and Parmesan crisps really put this salad above the rest.
Serve this saucy pulled pork as sandwiches piled high on buns, with bowls of garnishes, such as pickled jalapeños, sour cream, shredded cheese and thinly shredded red cabbage (or better yet, red cabbage slaw), and let guests build their own sandwiches.
This recipe can easily be left to simmer away in a slow cooker for eight hours before adding the chicken. It yields a large quantity of sauce that freezes well if you're feeding a smaller group. Serve over hot steamed basmati rice.
This version of potato salad has all the comfort of a fully loaded baked potato and can be made ahead of time so it's ready when you need it.
No one will be able to resist these flaky savoury sausage rolls. Make them in advance of any party and reheat in the oven before serving.
Vegetarians won't feel left out of the pot luck with these delicious bites and your meat-eating guests will appreciate them too.
Our foolproof 5-ingredient roasted garlic dip couldn't be simpler to make. Serve it with your favourite vegetables, or alongside festive Christmas Tree Veggie Tray.
I know what you're thinking: Who brings biscuits to a potluck? One bite of Mile-High Bacon Cheese Biscuits and the answer will be you! They combine easy-to-work-with dough and the layering technique of puff pastry. They're great at brunch with poached eggs, with soup or – my favourite – warm from the oven with a slice of tomato and shredded iceberg lettuce tucked inside. Instant BLT.
This twist on an Italian classic combines lightly spiced layers of creamy mascarpone cheese and citrus-flavoured ladyfinger cookies in an everyday baking dish that's perfect for a large crowd. Top with praline dust just before serving so that it keeps its crunch.
Enjoy hearty oats in more ways than just a bowl of oatmeal. Oats are a nutritious ingredient in both sweet and savoury recipes.
This is the ultimate in comfort food, combining two all-time homegrown favourites: cinnamon buns and bubbly, sweet apple cobbler. Sprinkling a cinnamon filling into rolled buttermilk biscuits offers a quick alternative to a yeast-risen cinnamon bun.
Adding fresh apples to this muffin batter is a nice way to incorporate fruit in a baked treat. Dried cranberries add a touch of tartness, but you can use raisins or any other dried fruit.
You won't miss the nuts in this deluxe granola. Make sure it is completely cool before adding the chocolate.
Enjoy all the pleasures of crumble-topped apple pie in a delightful hand-held size. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream for an even more indulgent dessert.
Sweet-tart cranberries are cooked with a hint of orange to make an easy jam-like filling, then sandwiched between layers of crisp almond pastry. Freshly ground almonds are crunchier than the storebought ground variety, so whirl whole nuts in a food processor for the ultimate nutty crust.
These decadent drops are incredibly easy to prepare, making them perfect for a last-minute cookie exchange. The chocolate-dipped pretzel topping adds an easy, festive flair.
For anyone with a sweet tooth on your list, these sweet bites take almost no prep time and great for last-minute treats.
Make weeknight dinners fun (for adults and kids) with these veggie-packed, tomato sauce–topped mini meat loaves. Cooking your potatoes on the stove top with the help of a little steam gets dinner on the table more quickly. Steamed green beans make a nice veggie side dish.
Treat yourself with these fruity, buttery bites. Sweet blueberry filling packed between layers of classic oat meal crumble will have you reminiscing of grandma's baked goods.
Warm up cool evenings by filling empty tummies with hearty soup. Sprinkle a little Parmesan cheese over top or add a handful of cooked noodles to make leftovers new again.
Veggie burgers should be just as juicy as the original hamburger. Add your favourite toppings and condiments or switch it up by going bunless and wrap in a large lettuce leaf.
Shredded coconut in the crumble topping adds tropical flair to an otherwise classic recipe. Many people with celiac disease can still consume oats, but to be absolutely sure yours haven't been in contact with gluten from other products, look for bags labelled "pure uncontaminated oats."
These muffins are big on flavour and sure to entice even those who have no trouble with gluten. Play around with the fruit: Try dried blueberries, strawberries, raspberries or chopped apricots.
These nut-free treats are chewy and packed with flavour, thanks to the tasty fruit and toasted quinoa, which also add fibre and protein to stave off hunger. Pack one in her knapsack for snack emergencies!
The versatility of these cookies is endless. White or milk chocolate, or dried apricots or currants make delicious substitutions for the dark chocolate.
This sweet granola has a surprising yet gentle hint of ginger and is the perfect partner for the tangy rhubarb topping. Set out the yogurt, granola and compote with small bowls or pretty glasses so guests can make their own parfaits.
This free-form pastry tastes just as delicious as apple pie—but with no upper crust or fluting to worry about, it's forgiving to make. The crispy oatmeal streusel helps insulate the filling while baking, keeping the apples juicy. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Meat loaf is a popular comfort food not only because it's quick and easy to toss together but also because it's hearty and always delicious – especially this one with its glossy vegetable topping.
Nothing beats a home-style crumble at the end of a Sunday meal. Serve warm with a dollop of fresh whipped cream or ice cream for an indulgent treat.
Classic cookies are always a weekend favourite and easy for even a novice baker. Freeze scooped portions to thaw and bake at another time.
Multigrain flour, rolled oats and wheat germ give these quite chewy pancakes a wholesome flavour. Multigrain flour is a combination of all-purpose and whole wheat flours, cracked wheat and rye and whole flaxseeds.
These squares have all of the layered goodness of apple pie with the ease of a crumble.
This springtime twist on classic date squares features a tangy-sweet pink rhubarb filling. If fresh rhubarb is unavailable, measure the same amount of frozen rhubarb, then thaw and drain.
Here's the perfect ending to a summer meal: a rustic home-style crumble made with juicy stone fruit. There's no need to peel the plums and nectarines—the skins soften as the fruit cooks and impart a lovely blush colour to the sauce.