By Dawn Bright
I’m about 20 pounds overweight, so recently started eating healthy, drinking tons of water and running on a beach in Destin. You’d think I’d be as thin as a rail, but I can’t seem to lose a single pound. And now it’s Thanksgiving! I’m 55 years old—has my metabolism stopped working completely for my age? Is there a pill for this?
– Rhonda D., Destin
If only it were that simple, Rhonda. But it isn’t. Let’s start with the metabolism issue. What is this mystery M-word that stops us in our tracks? Apparently it’s the process your body uses to convert the food you eat into energy. As people get older, their level of physical activity tends to decrease, so their muscle mass lowers, and they end up with higher levels of fat. And the whole fat to muscle thing is what determines how many calories your body burns. Muscle burns more calories than fat, so if you’re overweight you burn fewer calories even when resting, causing your metabolism to seemingly come to an abrupt standstill.
If this sounds complicated, it’s because it is. But the simple answer is you need to increase your muscle, and by doing so, will decrease your fat. So forget about taking a pill! Enjoy Thanksgiving, and then add a couple of days of weight training into what you’re already doing. Do that and I bet you’ll see those extra pounds disappear as fast as the pumpkin pie does on Thanksgiving Day!
Every Thanksgiving, my two brothers and I get all jacked up about who gets to make a wish and snap the wishbone. It’s a ridiculous custom I wouldn’t mind ditching, but our parents get a big kick out of it. Any suggestions as to how to solve this?
– Mike E., Fort Walton Beach
Hey, Mikey! Breaking the wishbone for good luck is a custom shared by many. At least you aren’t throwing frozen turkeys down the grocery aisle at bowling pins like they do in Wisconsin, or watching monkeys interact with pumpkins like they do at the Santa Barbara Zoo in California. I’d take a wishbone over that any day!
This custom comes from the ancient Romans who believed whoever snapped off the larger piece would have their wish come true. As far as who gets to do the snapping, my family has a weird custom of who gets to hang an ancient, faded (but oh so endearing) bird on the Christmas tree. My sister and I could never remember who did it last year, so the arguing would begin. Thankfully in this day and age the camera-phone is never too far out of reach, so now we take a picture of whoever is hanging the bird and have digital proof to pull out for next year. So you and your brothers should do the same. Snap a photo when you snap the wishbone and the problem is solved. And may all your wishes come true!
I’m about to buy my very first car. My uncle says this is the best time of year to buy, but my dad says it’s in January. What do you think?
– Mark K., Miramar Beach
I’m not really into cars, Mark. Ask me about a car, and all I can normally do is tell you what color it is and if it has two doors or four. But I do know someone who sells cars in Niceville, so I asked her. She said there are actually three times that are the best time of year to buy a car—the end of the month, the end of the financial year, and the beginning of a new year. Based on that, I’d say your dad is right and you should wait until January. It’ll be a great after-Christmas present to yourself, and I’m positive there will be plenty of colors and tons of doors to choose from!
Dawn Bright is an eternal optimist. And that’s pretty much all you need to know about her. Email your questions to email@example.com.