Can you guess when it’s peak season for the weight loss industry?
I’ll give you a clue, it’s always the same time of year worldwide.
It’s just before summer, when the winter layers come off!
Traditionally, winter is the time to pile on the layers, neatly covering any accumulating fat. Then as the weather warms, the truth dawns as the summer clothes come out again.
This is the moment the weight-loss industry has been waiting for. They then unleash a barrage of ‘get-slim-quick’ marketing on the Internet, TV, radio, billboards and magazines.
But, it does not have to be this way!
James is a fairly typical office worker. As soon as it gets colder, he layers up. On a cold day last week, he was up to four layers; a t-shirt, a thin jersey and a hoodie topped with a nice warm jacket. James sits in front of his computer all day, in a cozy office environment. After work, he rushes to his car, drives home with the heater on, and then spends the evening in front of a gas fire until he retires to bed and his electric blanket.
James simply won’t allow himself to feel any discomfort. He avoids feeling cold at any cost. In fact, if he could afford it, even his toilet seat would be heated.
Don’t be Warm all the Time!
For many reasons, it is a huge mistake to behave the way James does in winter.
Winter is a great opportunity to lose weight and improve your health. Contrary to popular belief, a little cold won’t make you sick or give you the flu. Quite the opposite, it can boost your physical and mental health. The cold weather has been shown to have both anti-depressive and feel good value.
This winter you should make an effort to feel the cold, the small discomfort will reap you many benefits. This first of which is the lowest cost fat burning method on the planet.
Fat Burning (Cold Thermogenesis)
Cold temperatures boost fat burning and weight loss.
When you get cold, your body starts to activate its brown fat, which burns fat! In simple terms, brown fat is an engine that burns normal white fat (the kind most of us have too much of) to produce heat. Brown fat, when activated burns calories like there’s no tomorrow.
Abundant in babies, brown fat deposits reduce with age. Staying warm all the time reduces brown fat deposits even further. One way to increase your brown fat activity is to expose your body to cold.
Besides burning more fat and calories, there are many other health benefits of getting a little cold this winter, which include:
- Reduced possibly of depression
- Increased insulin sensitivity
- Higher thyroid levels
- Boosted immunity
- Better sleep
- And possibly even a longer lifespan
Depression levels rise in cold weather. It may be because of lower vitamin D levels combined with lower levels of social engagement as people hunker down against the cold as well as other factors. No one is certain of the reason.
Amazingly as documented in various medical studies, cold exposure can help prevent or reduce depression.
Strategies for Cold Exposure
There are many ways for you to make yourself a little colder you just have to embrace a little discomfort.
Reduce layers – always keep winter swaddling to a minimum. If you’re anxious about getting too cold, simply carry and extra jacket or jersey and only use it after you have tried to endure a bit of cold.
Shower or bath in colder water – reduce the hot water in your bath so it’s not quite so toasty; shower in warm water and then blast some cold just before you are finished. Spending time in reduced temperature water is one of the best ways to kick off fat burning because it quickly forces the body to produce more heat. The message here is; if you are serious about burning some fat, take a long hard look at ways to reduce the temperature you bathe in every day. (Last year I went thru winter showering with cold water only, it was always difficult but once it was over I felt like a million dollars!)
Sleep in colder room – reduce the temperature in your bedroom if it’s heated; don’t use an electric blanket (ever); stick your feet out of the covers for a bit if you can manage it.
Go outside in a t-shirt – dress as skimpily as you can and spend a few minutes outside; try to get cold enough to make you shiver.
Walk barefoot on cold floors for as long as you can tolerate it.
Shiver My Timbers
Shiver a little!
Shivering is the best way to burn fat, in some studies it is shown to increase metabolic rate by up to five times. Shivering releases hormones (irisin and FGF21 - if you really need to know), which whip brown fat into calorie burning mode.
Don’t panic if you start to shiver, try and endure it for a while. Shivering is the ultimate fat burner.
Make the mindset change. Cold is not an enemy to be avoided at all costs. Embrace the cold and reap the benefits of the fat burning opportunities it offers.
Shiver a bit!
Need some extra motivation? Watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gb0h8ZKvJW4&spfreload=5
Adapted cold shower as a potential treatment for depression. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17993252
A Cold Splash–Hydrotherapy for Depression and Anxiety. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/inner-source/201407/cold-splash-hydrotherapy-depression-and-anxiety
Irisin and FGF21 Are Cold-Induced Endocrine Activators of Brown Fat Function in Humans. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1550413114000060
The shiver system: tapping the power of cold to lose weight. http://www.wired.co.uk/article/the-shiver-system
Reduced Body Temperature Extends Lifespan in Study from The Scripps Research Institute. http://www.scripps.edu/newsandviews/e_20061106/conti.html