Winter Cold With Exercise Scam


Well it is not a scam that you can lose weight in the winter, and if you chose your activities it could actually be fun to be active and burning calories.  Some people think the only way to lose weight during the cold winter months is with a special diet where you do something extreme in your diet.  This to me is a scam that you need to spend money to be on a special weight loss program, buying special food or having to get the book or video.

In the warmer weather I kayak several times a week and bike as often as I can. The dogs get long dog walks with the next lake over as the destination for midpoint watering, there are roller blade tails nearby at Hudson Mills Metro Park for a Saturday or Sunday morning skate. Now the lake is frozen, only a couple kayak paddles will take place down the Huron River in sections that are not frozen, biking and roller blades just don’t work well in the cold, not to mention the snow. I will see die hard bikers out there but the wind chill on the face I find not fun. So what happens to most people’s weight during the winter?

It is now January and post two to three big food consumption holidays. So most people were adding a few pounds at each holiday if they have not kept up their physical activity. This happens when we stay inside watch more stuff on TV while stuffing our faces. The present is the time to do something about this and not wait till your clothes don’t fit or wait till the spring time when the job of reduction is a bigger task. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist or have a PHD in nutrition (I am neither) to figure out the simple equation of input versus output. If there is more input of food and less output of exercise then what’s not used is stored. This storage accumulates around your middle.

According to James O. Hill who is a PHD (of Medicine at the University of Colorado), most of us gain weight by eating only 100 to 200 hundred extra calories a day. More than two thirds of all adults in the US are overweight or obese. Why do I care and why am I writing about it? Well there are negative health effects from being overweight and that drives up the cost of my health insurance and my taxes. Not to mention it’s embarrassing to be from a country full of out of shape fat people. As we age it gets harder to lose weight since most people do less. For some getting older means to stop exercising and stop doing fun active activities. People forget how good it physically feels to carry around less weight.

People go on fancy diets which for many are difficult, they want you to give up all of something, sugar, bread, all carbs, or massive reductions in food. These are changes that for the majority of people, cannot maintain. Therefore the changes must be easy and easy to maintain. Simply change the equation, reduce food intake a little bit just a few hundred calories per day and get some more exercise. Find something you like to do that burns calories or find a new activity that you may have not considered.

Its winter so most activities that are fun and burn calories are going to be outside. I find working out at a health club inside boring and not fun exercise. Indoors there is volleyball and basketball, racquetball, hockey, and perhaps a few others, however these involve getting other people together and reserving court time. These may be fun and good activities but again are not easy to maintain by yourself. Find something that you can do yourself, preferably several times a week. For winter sports that burn calories there are many activities such as cross country skiing (one of my favorites), there is hiking, there is snow shoeing. None of these take a lot of skill, and are not that expensive to get into if you don’t have equipment. For hiking all that is required is good boots and the right clothes.

Ski In The Woods

Exercising In The Woods

Yes, it can be cold outside, but with the right activity and the right winter clothes, being outdoors in the winter can be very enjoyable. Technology has brought warmer lighter clothes to better enjoy being out in the cold. The secret to staying warm is not to overdress when you’re going to have vigorous activity in the cold, if you are just a little bit cold starting out, that’s a good sign. The other secret is layering with the correct base layer usually made of polypropylene so that sweat wicks away from your skin to keep you warm. Dry clothes are warmer than wet clothes. If you’re unsure of the proper clothes go to an outdoors store and ask for assistance. I have found the sales staff at REI to be knowledgeable as one source example, there are many others. Find a store that has expertise on staff. This is not likely at big box stores. Research on the internet is another good way to learn about outdoor gear.

Another way to stay warm in winter when exercising is stay out of wide open areas if there is wind. Go hiking, cross country skiing, hiking, or snow shoeing in the woods. The winter wind does not get into the woods as much. The woods can be very serene and beautiful under a blanket of snow; a side benefit of getting exercise in the woods is that it can be an attitude adjustment. On a calm sunny day being in the open can be enjoyable and warm – soaking up the sunshine, getting your winter vitamin D.

The experts say not to weigh yourself every day, however for me if I see the pounds go up and stay up on the scale for a few days, then I know that I either need to reduce my intake a little or get some more exercise. It does take self-control to reduce intake but it does not take much, remember just the 100 to 200 calories per day. If your clothes are too tight and you need the next size up. Hello, you are eating too much; don’t buy the next size up, do something about it. If you’re already overweight start changing the equation, it does not have to be drastic just consistent. The easiest way to lose weight is to find fun things to do that don’t feel like exercise, don’t make the food reduction hard but be conscious of reducing the calories. Do it for yourself, do it for your health, and do it to keep your health care costs and taxes down. Most of all, get off the couch and do something fun and active.

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