Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Battle of the Bulge: Cold is Good

Mrs. Brown (1997)
Queen Victoria is meeting with her advisers, as well as her son, Prince Albert, at Balmoral. 

QV: Why are you dressed for outdoors?

PA: It's so infernally cold in here.

QV: Cold is good. Is that not so, Dr. Jenner?

DJ (who was spacing out): Uh, I'm sorry, ma'am?

QV: Cold is good!

DJ: Excellent, ma'am, excellent. 

I always thought I was imagining it. While many bemoaned the inevitable addition of winter poundage, I never noticed an association between winter and weight gain. 

I went online to research it, which said there was no correlation between the cold and uppity pounds, rather the cozy, comforting foods indulged during that time of year.

During Michael Phelps’s 2008 Olympic gold-medal streak in swimming, Ray Cronise, a former materials scientist at NASA, heard the widely circulated claim that Phelps was eating 12,000 calories a day. Phelps’s intake was many thousands of calories more than what most elite athletes need. Running a marathon burns only about 2,500 calories. Phelps would have to have been aggressively swimming during every waking hour to keep from gaining weight. But then Cronise figured it out: Phelps must have been burning extra calories simply by being immersed in cool water.
Every day, Michael Phelps swims for four hours, runs for two, and on top of that he lifts weights. I found an interview in which he says that he must have recalibrated his metabolism, because he eats three times what most people do. 

But science says (for now, at least) that exercise has no effect on metabolism. Additionally, many others exercise just as much as he does, but don't consume the same caloric load. 

Cronise discovered that it's the four hours in the chilly pool that makes all the difference. He himself sleeps sans blankie, goes out without a jacket if the weather is above 50 degrees, and takes cold showers. He lost 26 pounds in two months.
Keeping the bedroom temp between 66 and 75 degrees leads to brown fat, as opposed to white; the former helps get rid of excess weight. Cronise himself is experimenting if, along with a low-calorie diet, he can chill himself to a healthy weight without the gym.

Instead of freaking out whenever entering an unheated area in the winter, consider the frosty climate delightful. You'll shiver any excess off.


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