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Dear Hungry Girl,

I recently lost 45 pounds, but my BMI is still at 26, which is considered overweight. My body fat percentage is in the low 20's. Am I still overweight?

-- Bummed About My BMI
Dear Bummed,

Congrats! Losing 45 pounds is an amazing accomplishment, so you ROCK! Here's the lowdown on the BMI situation; While Body Mass Index (BMI) is a handy way to determine whether or not someone's at a healthy weight and whether or not they're at risk for certain diseases, it is a very broad measure. And it's not always an accurate measure of whether or not someone is overweight because it doesn't distinguish muscle from fat. Muscle is more dense than fat, so people who have a lot of muscle can have a BMI that places them in the "overweight" category when they're really healthy and in shape. A September, 2000 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that body fat percentage is a more reliable measurement of fitness than the BMI is. This means someone with a high BMI and a low body fat percentage (especially someone who is muscular) should put much more confidence in the body fat percentage information and not worry about their BMI. Your low 20's body fat percentage is very good, by the way. Yay!

Dear Hungry Girl,

What are some good, nutritious, lowfat items to plop on top of my greens at a salad bar? I always seem to make the wrong choices, as evidenced by my too-tight pants.

-- Salad-Challenged in San Francisco
Dear Salad-Challenged,

Salad bars are GREAT if you know your way around them. If not, they can be your evil arch enemies. To me, mayonnaise is the most frightening ingredient at a salad bar because it can (and does!) pop up anywhere; in-between gorgeous flaky chunks of tuna, mixed with lovely chicken breast, cuddling up to healthy veggies and a ton of other unexpected places. Avoid this creamy foe at all costs, as it can add hundreds of unwanted calories (not to mention fat!) to your salad. Lettuce-toppers like egg whites (no yolks), cucumbers, tomatoes, broccoli, baby corn, peas, garbanzo beans, beets, and chunks of chicken or turkey, are all fantastic choices. Remember to steer clear of croutons (all the oil and carbs...Yikes!). As for dressings, they often contain more fat and calories than the salad itself. Stick with the fat free or lowfat kinds, and try not to use more than a tablespoon or two.

March is National Celery Month. Yes, the celery rumors are true. Eating celery DOES result in negative calories, though the number of calories you actually burn is small. That being said, celery is still very good for you.
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