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
We've got something for all tastes – and knitters of all skill levels – with these timeless knitting patterns.
This Alpaca headband's soft, thick yarn and easy pattern make it a satisfying quick knit. The headband is designed using a simple two-by-two rib pattern with a unique twist. And it's so practical as an ear warmer, you might be tempted to make it in several winter colours.
Full instructions: Alder headband knitting pattern
The Billberry Bias Wrap is a timeless transitional piece that can be worn anywhere, with anything, all year round. Plus, it's a pleasure to knit.
Full instructions: Billberry bias wrap knitting pattern
Quick to knit and extra-cozy, the Sundew Hat is the perfect cold-weather accessory. Whether you are looking to knit a thoughtful last-minute gift or your own quintessential hat, the Sundew Hat is a crowd-pleasing favourite with its classic design and soft texture.
Full instructions: Sundew Hat pom-pom beanie
The medallion mittens are a fun pair to knit. They're designed to snugly fit the average woman's hand.
Full instructions: Medallion Mittens
The Ellenesque Bowls are a practical and stylish solution to all your storage needs. Knitting your own bowl is an easy way to create the perfect size vessel for any purpose, and you can choose from a variety of colour options in our Merino Copito yarn to match your home décor.
Full instructions: Ellenesque Felted Bowl knitting pattern
A knit bag is the perfect accessory—unique, practical, and stylish. The Salta Bag’s design begins with a simple rectangle that is folded and seamed to create a classic tote.
Full instructions: Salta Bag knitting pattern
On those cold, wintry days when you need something warm around your face, grab your knitting needles, hibernate for a weekend and knit up The Stone and Arrow Winter Set. Designed in bulky yarn, The Arrow Headband and The Stone Scarf come together in a snap.
Full instructions: Winter headband
The Stone Scarf got its name from its 3D texture, created by alternating knits and purls, that resembles a stonewall. The quirky stone-like bumps are tempered by a garter-stitch border and a slipped selvedge for a tidy edge.
Full instructions: Stone Scarf
Enjoy our free knitting pattern for this Honey Stitch Cowl and make a modern classic to enjoy for years.
Full instructions: Honey Stitch Cowl
Photography by Carlyle Routh
We asked six of the biggest names in the nail world to dish on the must-have mani of the season. Here’s what they had to day about hot hues, cool effects and what’s inspiring them now.
Among the fashion industry and celebrity elite, Tom Bachik is one of North America’s most sought-after “man”-icurists. The southern California native spent his early years skateboarding and competing on the BMX circuit, but that all changed when his wife got pregnant and he needed to find a job that would provide for this growing family—fast. A hairstylist cousin suggested he get his manicure licence, so he did, thinking it would be a short-term solution. Then, Bachik realized he was good. Twenty years later, he’s an industry icon, repping L’Oreal as the company’s global nail designer and spokesperson, and regularly working with such stars as Jennifer Lopez, Anne Hathaway and Blake Lively.
This season, Bachik is feeling vampy, opulent tones. “Think ‘90s fashion, where dark, rich tones were no longer considered goth,” he says. “We’re going back to that kind of regal colour family.” Bachik notes that it’s not just that lacquers are darker but also that colours are more saturated, so they look deep and lush. When it comes to nail art, he’s inspired by bold stripes, geometric shapes and texture. “I think dry brushing is a cool look,” he says. “It gives you that textured, layered effect, like a tweed jacket.”
Pro tip: “To get the dry brushing effect, wipe off the excess polish; I use a piece of paper to wipe each side of the brush. The key is putting a small amount of pressure on the tipoff the brush, almost holding the brush straight up and down. All the little tips of the hairs on the brush are depositing colour, so you’re almost getting a splash of colour going across.”
Tom’s colour crushes
L’Oreal Paris Le Vernis a L’Huille by Colour Riche in Bleu Royal and Greige Amoureux, $10 each, lorealparis.com.
Checkerboard prints, geometric motifs and kaleidoscope shapes are some of Madeline Poole’s kooky—yet very cool—signature manicures. The New York resident and Sally Hansen global colour ambassador is one of the most talented and recognized nail artists in the industry: Her work has been spotted in magazines, at Fashion Weeks and on the digits of celebrities.
This fall, Poole feels nostalgic for the classics, such as rich navy, energetic orange and a whole spectrum of greys, from heather to charcoal. But her top tip is Sally Hanson Colour Therapy in Unwine’d: “It’s deep enough to feel burgundy while still reading like a rich red,” she says.
The look she created here melds two trends: semicircles and a futuristic French manicure. “Both of these trends also look great on their own—and the semicircle at the tip is quite easy to recreate at home.”
Madeline’s colour crushes
Sally Hansen Color Therapy in Steely Serene and Unwine’d, $13 each, shoppersdrugmart.ca.
Prim, not proper
She lives, breathes and dreams nail polish, which explains why Leeanne Colley is one of Canada’s top manicurists. Her work has graced the hands of some of the world’s hottest celebrities and supermodels at Fashion Weeks in New York and Toronto, and her talent has been featured in countless magazines.
In her home base of Toronto, Colley is best known for her to-die-for nail-art skills and her award-winning salon, a manicure hot spot for editors, influencers and loyal clients.
Her “it” mani for the season was inspired by a dress from the Alexander McQueen Fall 2016 show. “I often follow what’s happening on the runways for inspiration,” says Colley. “Both fashion and beauty inspire each other.”
Leeanne’s colour crushes
CND Vinylux Weekly Polish System in Black Pool, $12.50 and CND Creative Play Nail Lacquer in Blush on U, $8.50, cnd.com.
Revlon’s been in the nail game since 1932, but it was only this year that the company added a global nail authority to its team: Instagram-famous Los Angeles manicurist Chelsea King. The self-proclaimed “former tomboy” discovered her affinity for nail polish when her mom ordered a mandatory manicure for her senior prom. It was love at first swipe. As for her first enamel purchase? “It was actually a Revlon colour—a mint green,” says King. “I thought it was so unique.”
Though King usually favours darker lacquers for fall, this autumn she’s fallen for warm metallic with a twist: a matte topcoat. “It looks very interesting; it’s a finish you wouldn’t expect,” she says. As for length, King is a proponent of short nails. If you have petite nails, stay away from square tips. “Rounded nails, following your natural shape, can help elongate short nail beds.”
Chelsea’s colour crushes
Revlon ColorStay Gel Envy Longwear Nail Enamel in Jackpot and Lucky Us, $9, Revlon.ca.
Rita Remark takes the cake for being one of the most beloved nail artists in the industry. It could be because this sunny Canadian is friendly, warm and engaging, but what it really comes down to is her passion for nail polish.
In 2013, polish powerhouse Essie took note of Remark’s handiwork and hired her as its lead artist in Canada. After Remark hones her skills and showcased high-impact designs in editorials and at Fashion Weeks, the Essie higher-ups recognized her talents, giving her the impressive title of global lead educator in 2015.
“Beautiful but a little bit tough,” is how Remark described this matte-meets-metallic marbleized mani, inspired by the look she created for Helder Diego at this past Toronto Fashion Week. “For a long time, we’ve been doing clean, graphic nail art,” she says, “But there’s something about this look that puts the art in nail art.”
To get the look, Remark applied a hunter-green base colour, then, when it was still wet, she splashed a few small drops of white enamel over top. Remark then applied plastic wrap and peeled it off quickly to create the smoky pattern. She used a matte topcoat for a stone-like effect and painted on gold veins with a detail brush. “It shouldn’t be symmetrical. It’s good if one nail has a little more gold.”
Rita’s colour crushes
Essie Gel Couture Nail Polish in Wrap Party, $14, and Essie Nail Polish in Fifth Avenue, $10, essie.ca.
If anyone understands the importance of keeping you nails on point, it’s Melissa Forrest. The Toronto-based manicurist has been in the industry for 20-plus years, working with everyone from major beauty brands to come of Canada’s top magazines.
“Fall colours typically help to bring our eyes to a more demure palette,” says Forrest. But this season, she feels the enamel shades are becoming earthier and more decadent. As for nail art, she says decked-out digits are still going strong, especially bold and linear designs. “I’m a big fan of ‘60s fashion, which translates to black, white and precise graphics.”
Melissa’s colour crushes
QUO by Orly Color Amp’d Flexible Color in Stadium Way, $11, and Quo by Orly Instant Artist in White, $5, shoppersdrugmart.ca.
Over 50 and fabulous? Our guide to aging gracefully helps you choose the skincare, hair and makeup products that are right for you.
Photography by Lauren Hayes Credits: Photography by Lauren Hayes
You don't need a gym membership to build muscle. These strengthening exercises from trainer Samantha Montpetit-Huynh of Toronto's Core Expectations are easy to do at home. The payoff? You'll burn more calories, protect your joints and help your bones stay healthy. Here's how to do it.
1. Squat with shoulder press
Standing with feet a little more than hip-width apart and holding weights at shoulder level with arms bent and palms facing forward, inhale and slowly bend at the knees into a squat. Exhale and stand up, extending your arms straight overhead. Do eight to 12 reps.
Tip: This is a compound movement, which means you're working more than one muscle group at a time to maximize the rewards.
Works: Quads, hamstrings, glutes and shoulders
2. Reverse lunge with knee up
Standing with feet shoulder-width apart and holding weights at your sides, inhale and lift your right knee until your thigh is parallel to the floor. Then, swing that leg behind you and plant your toes on the floor, bending both knees until they form 90-degree angles. Exhale and push off your toes to bring your knee back up. Do eight to 12 reps with each leg.
Tip: Swinging your leg elevates this lunge to a dynamic movement, which helps get your heart rate up.
Works: Quads, hamstrings and glutes
3. Biceps curl one leg
Standing with feet together and holding weights at your sides with palms facing forward, bend your right knee, keeping both knees together, until your calf is parallel to the floor. Balancing on your left leg, exhale and bend your elbows to bring the weights toward your shoulders, keeping your wrists straight. Inhale as you release back down. Do eight to 12 reps on each leg.
Tip: Standing on one leg forces you to engage your core muscles for balance.
Works: Biceps and core
4. Triceps dip
Sitting on the edge of a chair with your hands on either side of the seat and your feet together on the floor, scoot forward a bit off the seat, supporting your weight with your arms. Inhale and bend your elbows to lower your body, keeping your knees directly above your ankles and your shoulders dropped, until your arms are at a 90-degree angle. Exhale and straighten your arms, pushing yourself up. Do eight to 12 reps.
Tip: For an added challenge, rest your feet on a step or a chair instead of the floor and extend your legs.
Works: Triceps and shoulders
Do one of these plank positions and hold for 20 to 30 seconds, progressing to one minute once you get stronger. When you can do the easiest plank position for one minute, move on to the more advanced positions.
A. Easy: Hover plank
On your hands and knees, with your back flat, abs tight and arms straight with shoulders aligned directly over your wrists, lift your knees to hover about two inches off the floor.
B. Intermediate: Knee plank
Support your weight on your forearms and knees, with your feet crossed in the air behind you. Keep your shoulders directly above your elbows, your back flat and abs tight.
C. Advanced: Full plank
Support your weight on your forearms and toes, with legs extended. Keep your shoulders directly above your elbows, your back flat and abs tight.
Tip: If you're feeling the burn in your lower back, your hips are too low. Make sure your back is straight.
Works: Core muscles, including the transversus abdominis (the innermost
abdominal muscle that stabilizes the pelvis), obliques (muscles along the sides that allow you to bend sideways and twist) and rectus abdominis (the outer muscles—sometimes called the six-pack— which help you bend forward)
On your hands and knees, straighten your arms, keeping your shoulders aligned directly over your wrists, then scoot your knees back and lift your feet behind you, dropping your hips so your torso forms a straight line. With your neck straight and abs tight, inhale and slowly bend your arms to lower your chest toward the floor. Exhale and push yourself up. Do eight to 12 reps.
Tip: When you can do 12 to 15 knee pushups, you're ready for the regular pushup. Remember to keep your torso lengthened and straight.
Works: Chest, shoulders and triceps
Lying on your stomach with arms and legs extended, raise your left arm and right leg a few inches off the floor without rotating your spine and hold for two or three seconds. Return to start position, then repeat with your right arm and left leg. Alternate from side to side, exhaling as you lift your limbs and inhaling as you lower. Do four to six reps per side.
Tip: These movements are small but effective; don't try to lift too high or you'll risk injuring yourself.
Works: Erector spinae (the muscles that run along the spine, which bend and extend the back and let you move from side to side)
Lying on your back with arms relaxed at your sides, knees bent and feet flat on the floor, exhale and lift your hips, squeezing your glutes and keeping your back flat. Inhale as you lower your bum to the floor. Do eight to 12 reps.
Tip: For an added challenge, extend one leg as you lift and lower your hips.
Works: Hamstrings, glutes and lower back
Check out the full workout for these strength-boosting moves.