How do you know if you’re losing water weight or actual fat? – Liz, Boston, MA
Are your jeans loose? Then you’re likely dropping fat, says Stephen Gullo, Ph.D., author of The Thin Commandments Diet. Small fluctuations in the number on your scale, on the other hand, can reflect changes in water weight – unstable fluid retention in your body’s tissue. Outpatient hospital services and private companies, like FitnessWave, can give you an accurate body-fat analysis by using the hydrostatic weighing technique. Or ask a trainer to use the caliper method.
Will sleeping with a humidifier help with my allergies? – Taylor, Bowling Green, KY
Definitely. Dry indoor air can exacerbate congestion, inflammation of the nasal and sinus passages, and coughing. Adding moisture with a humidifier will keep your respiratory tract lubricated, thus improving and preventing those yucky symptoms, says Neeta Ogden, M.D., fellow of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
Just know: Dust and other indoor allergens thrive in overly moist environments. So keep your humidifier on its low setting, and invest in a monitor to make sure your room stays below 50 percent humidity.
When I do a forearm plank, I feel it most in my arms and shoulders. Is my form off? – Julia, Chicago, IL
Sounds like it – although you should feel it in your upper body, the burn should be primarily in your core, says Albert Matheny, an exercise physiologist and trainer at Soho Strength Lab in New York City. Firmly plant your forearms and make sure there is a 90-degree bend at your elbows (so they are directly beneath your shoulders) and your back is flat. Squeeze your glutes and core while you balance on your forearms and toes, says Matheny. And your butt should be in line with your back and shoulders (not piked); otherwise, you’re not getting the full ab benefits.
Get the answers to your healthy-living questions at WomensHealthMag.com/AskWH.