© 2012 jen

Fit-tastic Update: Freezing Brown Fat By Accident= Weight loss

I’m thinking about weight a lot this week. I feel like I spent the first 41 years having little to no success at weight management. Well, not under the age of 12. I was a pretty skinny kid, but at about the age of 12 I started having weight issues.

I was talking with my mother recently and she reminded me that I was thin many times after the age of 12 and I reminded her that I never did it healthfully. Whenever I was thin, I was hungry. I would eat so little, maybe only 1 meal and feel hungry all day long.

Even in my 30s when I did Weight Watchers and had really good success with it, when I went to the doctor because I was feeling so tired and sluggish they told me I needed a lot more good fat in my diet. It turns out I have extremely low cholesterol- both the good and bad levels are so low in me that if I don’t have fairly high levels of fat, more than the average person might need, I will become sluggish, because my body needs a lot of good fat to function. I found that I couldn’t eat enough fat and stay within my points for Weight Watchers, so the one thing that sort of worked for me for weight loss wasn’t really working for me after all and my yo-yo diet saga continued.

At this time it wasn’t unusual for me to have 4-5 clothing sizes in my wardrobe at all times, because I couldn’t maintain my weight at all. One day I was up 5 lbs the next down 3. I could never predict where I’d be on a given day weight wise.

At some point I gave up on losing weight and decided I was just going to be fat and accept it. So over the years I got heavier and heavier and the truth is I felt fine about who I was. I didn’t love the way my body felt, but I accepted the way I looked and my husband always told me I looked great, because he’s awesome like that. I probably would have stayed heavy except that I got the pre-diabetic diagnosis and realized something had to change.

So I feel like I did everything wrong in the weight department for most of my life. Nothing really worked, I pretty much gained weight by looking at food. I had to stay really hungry to lose weight and then I’d be so hungry that I’d over eat later which equals more yo-yoing.

Now, because I know more about my health and since I’ve been diagnosed with Celiac Disease, everything has gotten so much easier and makes so much more sense . . . in terms of weight loss anyway.

First there’s the fact that I’m getting all the nutrients from the foods I’m eating now that I don’t eat wheat or gluten anymore, so I’m more satisfied by the foods I eat. Second, I realize that what I used to feel that felt like hunger was actually pretty significant blood sugar crashes, which I don’t feel anymore. This crash used to be the sign that I was hungry, I’d feel trembly and faint or light-headed and that was the sign that I was hungry. This almost never happens anymore. It would take an entire day of not eating to produce that result now.

In truth, both Oliver (my son, a newly diagnosed Celiac too) and I are struggling at times to know when we are hungry. Sometimes I feel hunger, but most of the time I just feel fine. I don’t think about food and I feel pretty satisfied. I can eat breakfast and not even think about food again until dinner without feeling hungry all day long. Oliver is having the same response. Something that we’re both working on is if we haven’t eaten and we’re about to go somewhere, we make ourselves eat something and then once we’re eating it reminds us that we are hungry- we eat a little or a lot at home and then go where we need to go.

Oliver and I both have never felt this way before. We both used to be hungry a lot. We both feel so content by the foods we eat that we need way less food to feel satiated now.

The other thing that’s really helping keep my weight loss up is my workout class. I go to lots of classes with Take It Outside Fitness, which offers mostly outdoor exercise classes. Now that it’s getting to be colder outside, with lots of rain, I find that I get so cold in a way that I never used to.

My body has always run hot, pretty much out of the womb I was burning up. My mother and sister were always cold and I was always hot. It’s been startling to my body to even feel the feelings of being cold. Pretty much every day I either go to an exercise class or go on a walk/run on my own outside and pretty much every day I become freezing cold at some point after my workout and will stay freezing until I take a really, really hot bath, which I’ve been doing daily. If I don’t take a bath for hours, I stay cold for hours.

I’ve noticed that since I’ve been working out in the cold it’s as if my body has entered some new hyper-speed weight loss mode. My body feels smaller by the week and people keep telling me, “Jen, you’re smaller than you were last week. How are you doing this?”

Part of it is my g-free diet, but the other part is working out in the cold. I just recently read an article about brown fat– the idea is that we have both brown fat and white fat. When brown fat is made cold it speeds weight loss, because the brown fat eats the glucose in your white fat to survive cold temperatures, which literally changes the fat distribution on your body. Also, the more you workout in cold temperatures the more brown fat your body makes, so the more there is to eat the white fat.

This is happening to me. My waist is smaller than it’s ever been. My legs are smaller than they’ve been in years- my arms too and I really believe it has to do with working out outside in the cold. I didn’t know this would happen and I still wouldn’t have known why I’m losing inches and weight faster now, but I was talking with my friend Jean who told me about the brown fat concept, so I had to do my own reading on the subject. You can look up more info yourself if you want to- it’s really interesting. This whole idea isn’t very well understood, but the one thing that keeps happening in test after test is that the people who get cold and stay cold are burning way more calories and they continue to burn calories the entire time they are cold in a way that warmer people who workout don’t.

Now, don’t think I’m advocating sitting in ice baths to lose weight or anything that extreme, but I do think if you’re getting a little cold during your workout the affects of weight loss are quite a bit better than if you’re not, because I’m living this cold temperature/weight loss phenomenon and I see the changes.

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Update:

I’m feeling better all the time- stronger, more coordinated, healthier, slimmer, happier, and I feel more grounded by the week now.

I’m eating great food and lots of it, when I remember to eat. I’ve set up a timer on my phone to remind me of eating times so that I don’t miss too many meals.

I’m still really free of any and all food cravings. I really only want to eat things that will make me feel awesome so I’m eating pretty good- with the occasional gluten-free cookie and wine.

Today I weigh 204, still. With the holiday this week I was eating more than usual and working out less, but if you notice I didn’t gain a pound since last week, I just maintained where I was at last week, which seems pretty good.

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One of the cool side effects of this g-free, weight loss, brown fat business is that I can really feel my body running efficiently, in a way it never did before. It’s affecting everything I do. I feel so relaxed and strong at the same time. I feel so capable and ready for anything, but I also know that I haven’t finished healing. I’m at 9 weeks of healing this week and it takes 3-6 months to regrow the villi and sometimes longer. I know now that mine were pretty damaged, so I am maybe half way healed or maybe less? Not totally sure, but I know I haven’t reached full health yet.

Whenever I stop to think about where I was, 6 months ago and then think about myself today I can’t believe how many changes have already happened and to know there are more changes to come. It’s a good time for me. I really love being able to care for myself the way I should have been cared for my whole life. I don’t mean to make that sound like blame or anything, because that’s not the way I intend it.

It’s as if I get to regrow myself into the me I choose to be. A much healthier version of me.

If we are creating ourselves all the time, then it is never too late to begin creating the bodies we want instead of the ones we mistakenly assume we are stuck with.― Deepak Chopra

So this is me at week 9 of recovery. How are you? How’s your health? Good, I hope.

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