Cool Down: The Week in Health

A week's worth of interesting—and downright quirky—health-and-fitness headlines

By: Emily Leaman

One of the many people, apparently, who have swallowed safety pins. Photograph courtesy of Mary Cappello/“Swallow"

You must know by now just how obsessed we are with sniffing out high-calorie foods at chain restaurants. The Daily Beast took a positive approach this week and found 25 healthy restaurant meals. The list includes everything from chicken-and-spinach pasta at Bob Evans to garlic-grilled jumbo shrimp at Red Lobster. Talk about news you can use.

The New York Times ran an interesting piece on why gym-membership rates are suffering. The premise? That gym-going isn't enough of a social experience anymore. The author suggests that the days of step aerobics and Tae Bo have been replaced with iPods and personal flat screen TVs—neither of which are enough to motivate you to get to the gym.

Thinking about your weight—and how to lose it—might actually make you heavier, a new study suggests. Researchers found that diets or fitness programs that track pounds, rather than improvements in overall health, might help you lose a few pounds in the short run, but they're not effective for keeping weight off over time. Plus, focusing on fat can lead to such negative consequences as guilt, poor body image, and even eating disorders. If you want to lose weight, the study finds, you're better off focusing on ways to improve your health and developing healthy habits—the goal being "self-care rather than weight loss."

And since we're already on the subject, apparently your house might be making you fat. Well, your thermostat, anyway.

If you do one thing today, make it this: Click through this slideshow of the crazy things people swallow. It comes from a new book aptly titled, Swallow: Foreign Bodies, Their Ingestion, Inspiration, and the Curious Doctor Who Extracted Them. Among the objects are nails, charms, buttons, and safety pins—lots and lots of safety pins.

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