Can you Freeze Out Weight Gain
By: Dr. Christine Horner
I’m not a fan of cold winters, which is one of the main reasons I moved to warm sunny San Diego a couple of years ago. If you have dreamed about living in a place that’s warm in the winter, don’t pack your bags yet. There’s an upside to living in a cold winter climate. Research shows that spending time in colder temperatures can help you burn more calories and lose weight.
In a study published in the journal Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism, researchers found that when people were exposed to lower temperatures, their metabolic rate (the speed at which calories are burned) increased by 30 percent. Shivering was found to burn up to 400 calories an hour and increase metabolic rate by five times!
But do you actually have to freeze your buns off to make them smaller? The good news is: No. Studies show that you can boost your metabolism by simply lowering the thermostat at night. The average person spends 90% of their time indoors where the temperature is usually a comfortable 70-75 degrees F. At these temperatures, your body doesn’t have to put any energy into staying warm. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, people who spent just two hours a day in temperatures around 63 degrees for six weeks, burned more energy than people who spent the time in warmer temperatures.
Why Being Cold Burns More Energy
Scientist found a good explanation for why colder temperatures can speed up your metabolism. It has to do with the color of your fat. You have two types of fat: Brown fat and white fat. Brown fat helps your body burn more energy in the form of heat. White fat doesn’t. Spending time in the cold increases the amount of brown fat in your body. The purpose is to allow you to feel more comfortable in colder temperatures and shiver less. However, your body is still burning lots of calories to keep you warm.
The Best Weight Loss Methods
Let’s face it. Losing weight for most people is tough. You can turn down your thermostat, but doing that alone is never going to help you achieve your ideal healthy weight. The best method for permanent weight loss is a holistic approach that includes diet, exercise, and lifestyle.
Here are 15 tips to get you started:
- Favor fresh organically-grown plants: Fresh organically produced vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds are low in calories and packed with vitamins, minerals, essential nutrients, and fiber. Avoid processed, junk foods and sugar.
- Put your full attention on your meal: Don’t watch TV, read, or text your friends. The more you pay attention to what and how you eat-the less likely you are to eat too much.
- Avoid pesticides and toxins in foods and household products: Studies show that certain toxins found in our food, environment and home can cause you to gain weight. Mice exposed to toxins gained twice as much weight eating half the amount of food.
- Sip hot water throughout the day. Frequent sips of hot water keep your digestive tract moving, and help to flush out toxins, and improve weight loss. This is a deceptively simple, but powerful weight loss trick.
- Go to bed by 10 P.M. and get up by 6 A.M. Studies show these are the idea hours for sleep. If you consistently stay up to midnight or later, the risk of life-threatening illnesses including heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer are nearly doubles!
- Move your body every day. Eighty percent of us do not get enough exercise for optimum health. Just 30 minutes of activity a day can not only help you lose weight, but also boost your mood, improve sleep and lower your risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, dementia, and cancer.
- Spice up your life. Spices aren’t just for flavoring. Many contain potent medicinal qualities and can even help you lose weight. For example, gymnema, fennel, cinnamon, and cardamom promote weight loss by reducing carbohydrate cravings, and helping to balance fat and sugar metabolism.
- Discover your triggers. Anxiety, boredom, and depression are common triggers to “emotional” eating-which usually involves high calorie “comfort” foods. Notice which emotions send you to the chip bag or the cookie jar. Next time that emotion causes the urge to snack-choose a healthier non-caloric approach instead: Call a friend, go for a walk, take a nap, drink a cup of soothing herbal tea, turn on your favorite music and dance.
- Invite good bugs. There are good guys and bad guys-microbes-that live in your intestines and profoundly influence your health. Encouraging the good guys and discouraging the bad guys is crucial for good health. Healthy bacteria have many functions including supporting your metabolism and helping you to lose excess weight. A 2012 study found that obese individuals who were given probiotics experienced weight loss and improved metabolism.
- Practice portion control. Supersize meals turn your size into super! When eating out, always order the smallest size. At home, use a smaller plate, measure your portions, and serve your meal all on a single plate like a fine restaurant. Don’t serve from a bowl on the table where second and third helpings are hard to resist.
- Get a buddy. Research shows that exercise and weight loss programs are far more successful if you buddy up. It’s easy to talk yourself out of walking or going to your exercise class. Having a buddy makes it harder. Even checking in with a buddy on line about your weight loss progress has been shown to make a difference.
- Walk before dinner. A trip around the block can triple your metabolic rate. This boost continues after you stop moving and may help to curb your appetite.
- Stay hydrated. Sometimes you feel hungry when what you really need is more hydration. Try drinking a cup of water when hungry between meals.
- Take an omega-3 fatty acid supplement daily. Omega-3’s dramatically boost your metabolism-by as much as 400 calories a day-according to researchers at the University of Ontario. Make sure to take a high quality supplement.
- Get the help you need. Changing your diet and lifestyle isn’t easy-especially when you are trying to do it alone. Don’t be afraid to get help. Hire a personal trainer. See a therapist to help you emotional issues that might be obstructing your weight loss success.
Being overweight isn’t an issue just about your appearance. Besides robbing you of your energy and placing undo pressure on your joints, there are also many serious reasons why you should avoid gaining too much weight. An estimated 300,000 adults die in the United States each year from obesity-related causes, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. As much as we all would like a magic weight loss trick or pill-it doesn’t exist. Achieving and keeping your body weight ideal and overall health robust can only be done through a healthy diet and life style. Invite a friend to help you try some of the tips above and soon you’ll be trimmer and feeling healthier.
- Wouter van Marken Lichtenbel, “Cold exposure - an approach to increasing energy expenditure in humans.” Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism Volume 25, Issue 4, p165-167, April 2014 http://www.cell.com/trends/endocrinology-metabolism/abstract/S1043-2760(14)00010-
- Yoneshiro T, Aita S, Matsushita M, Kayahara T, Kameya T, Kawai Y, Iwanaga T, Saito M. (2013). “Recruited brown adipose tissue as an antiobesity agent in humans.” Journal of Clinical Investigation, 123, 3404-3408 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23867622