The Biology of Body Image

Have you ever felt like some part of your body was…not really yours? Maybe your insular cortex is to blame.

Food-Addicted, or Food-Obsessed?

Obese people love food, while those with anorexia hate it, right? Some new brain imaging results suggest it might not be that simple.

Bad Boys, Bad Brains

Why is Bella so obsessed with Edward? It's probably something to do with dopamine.

Can Your Brain Get Obese With Love?

Are you in a long-term relationship? Have you noticed the passion fading lately? Maybe your love-brain’s getting a little…flabby.

Sex, Lies And Body Weight

How much do you weigh? Are you sure about that? It turns out that most people - and some more than others - are unspeakably bad at telling the truth about their weight.

Eat Up, Sad Clown...

We're all familiar with the sadness triggered by break-ups and life's other causes for grief. But what's interesting (at least to appetite researchers) is that its effects on our eating behavior are far from predictable.

Do You Eat Out of Boredom?

It’s 8pm on Sunday, and you really should get started on that essay / presentation / big pile of ironing...but maybe you'll just check the fridge first. Why is it that we boredom-eat?

Spoilt by Choice?

Gobble Day is here. Are you preparing to stuff yourself? Or already lying on the sofa clutching your food baby? The truth is that Thanksgiving dinner is structured in such a way that even the most bird-like eater is likely to overindulge.

Frightened of Food? Feel the Fear…Then Eat It Anyway

Eating is generally unlikely to kill you. But this doesn’t necessarily stop preschoolers, dieters and people with anorexia being afraid of it. Two behavioral therapy tools may help alleviate food-related fright: exposure, and response prevention.

Does Late-Night Snacking Make You Fat?

Some of the most enjoyable meals I have ever consumed have taken place late at night. But the unfortunate truth is that our bodies aren't well adapted for eating at night-time.

The Think-Free Diet

Thinking about food is fun. But evidence suggests that thinking about it all the time can be distracting, brain-draining – and in some cases a potent recipe for unhappiness.

Happy Meals

On Friday afternoon, my (mostly American) coworkers asked me for my honest opinion about the Royal Wedding. Since attending my friends’ fabulous wedding-related gathering I now realize that by far the most important thing about it was the opportunity to indulge in a glorious nationwide orgy of Party Food Nostalgia.

Want to be rich and thin?

It is a truth universally acknowledged that people like money. And they really, really hate losing it. So, if you’re keen to quit your junk-food habit, flatter me by doing the following thought experiment. What if the next time you gave into temptation you knew you also had to hand over $1000 of your hard-earned cash?

Lovesick? Or heartbroken? The diet starts today.

It's Valentine's Day - the only day of the year specially dedicated to the celebration of love and romance. But does being love-struck make you slim and gorgeous, or transform you into a big ball of loved-up blubber? Research suggests it's a bit of both.

Dreaming of dinner? Let your mind go wild.

Do you occasionally get an overwhelming desire to stuff your face with something you shouldn’t? Food cravings can be difficult to vanquish. But new research suggests you may be able to beat them simply by using your imagination...

Zzzzz… How getting more sleep could help you lose weight

Ever get the feeling you're [stifled yawn] just not getting enough sleep? The impact of sleep deprivation on our mental faculties is well known. But now it looks like being chronically sleep-poor might make us stout as well as stupid.

Sweet tooth? How your taste buds affect your weight.

Sweet tooth? Personally, I think I might have a salty one. Candy bars can sit in my fridge untouched for eons while a nice wedge of gouda disappears in a matter of seconds. But why do we all have such different taste preferences?

Hot and hungry? How cooling off could slim you down

It is really, really hot in New York at the moment. But what are the effects of this ambient heat on body weight? Can you really sweat out calories? Or are we more likely to shiver them off when winter comes round?

Smile! You’re on <candy> camera.

Has anyone ever served you something so beautiful that it seemed a crime to ruin its appearance by consuming it? Try photographing it. It could help you lose weight.

Eat me, drink me

Models stay slim by eating nothing but celery sticks, right? Apparently not: the rabbit food is frequently washed down with large volumes of calorie-packed alcoholic drinks. ‘Drink more, stay thin' is a terrible public health message. But the awkward fact remains that alcohol (per se) doesn't make you nearly as fat as you might expect.

My genes made me eat that.

Let's face it, folks. It's important to maintain a healthy weight, but some of us are simply not destined to be thin no matter how hard we try, while others remain effortlessly skinny without even having to think about it. Why is this? Research suggests that the answer lies in our genes.

Think French, Stay Thin

What is it about French actresses that makes them so attractive? The beautiful accent certainly helps. But they also tend to be gorgeous, leggy, toned and slim. And there's a popular belief that, despite a predilection for cheese, steak frites, and pain au chocolat, regular French women don't get fat either. Why should this be so?

Forbidden fruit

Got kids? Live near kids? Used to be one? If you answered yes to any of those questions Halloween will not have passed you by unnoticed. But what are the longer term effects of&nbsp;monitoring&nbsp;your kids' diets&nbsp;day-to-day then letting&nbsp;them&nbsp;go crazy&nbsp;with candy on holidays and special occasions?

Hey stupid! How your eating habits can make you dumb.

Can't remember your phone number? Defeated by a tax and tip calculation? Simple Sudoku got you scratching your head? Maybe all that crap you eat is addling your brain.

Scare yourself skinny.

Remember when cigarette packets were just pretty little boxes with fancy lettering? Nope, neither do I. For as long as I can recall they've been covered with scary health warnings. And if you light up in the UK or Canada you might even get treated to a graphic image of a diseased lung or some rotting teeth. But can the shock-and-awe approach also get people to improve their eating habits?

Out of control? How holding back can make you fat.

Ever been out for dinner with a friend and watched in wonder as she ordered the tuna salad with no dressing then turned away the dessert trolley to save on calories? Your buddy is a ‘restrained eater'. But does it really make her thin and happy?

Til breadth do us part

Last week a friend of mine told me if his girlfriend was getting fat and he felt less attracted to her, he'd let her know about it and encourage her to lose weight. Isn't it enough to be constantly bombarded with media images of skinny female perfection? Can't we even expect our boyfriends to think we're unconditionally beautiful, belly and all?

Feeding your feelings? Why you comfort eat and how to stop.

Just had a pay cut? Spurned by your lover? Can't get over the fact that the little guy won American Idol? When the initial gut-wrenching surge of anxiety subsides you may find yourself reaching for the chocolate brownies. This is because your adrenal gland unleashes cortisol - and cortisol tells your brain to get to the nearest vending machine and load up on candy.&nbsp;

Does My Brain Look Fat In This?

We blame every part of the body for making us fat, but there's one vital organ we sometimes forget to mention: the brain.

Is obesity contagious?

Ever heard the phrase ‘obesity epidemic' and thought it seemed a bit peculiar? Obesity's just about eating too much and exercising too little isn't it? Maybe not. Some people think fatness is genuinely contagious and there's evidence to show they might be right.