First and foremost, I want to stress that I have no professional background in the medical or physical health fields. What I am offering is simply an opinion based firmly on logic and common sense that I hope will help people and nothing more.
What you are about to read is based on observations of people around me and my own personal experiences. First, let’s assume we all know about the benefits of dieting and exercising, as well as the negative impacts of carbs, high-fructose syrup and sugars, among other things. Those are fact-based findings and should not be ignored. What I am theorizing is basically the other part of the equation that no one else seems to be talking much about.
Most people realize that during the winter months, they will pack on extra body fat for insulation, depending on geographic locations and climates. However, how does that explain people being overweight in warmer climates like Florida or California? It’s simple: Air-Conditioning. Between cold climates and air-conditioned homes and work places, people are caught in a viscous cycle that continuously causes them to gain weight. What’s worse is that it may not be their fault.
When you’re cold, you might not feel like drinking water or eating light. You may feel tired more often, resulting in less exercising. Here’s the “kicker”: If you already have excess body fat, your body has extra insulation that is making it uncomfortable to be in warm climates or buildings. Therefore, you’ll instinctively seek out colder temperatures, thereby lowering the thermostat in your house or workplace. The more body fat you accumulate, the less you can tolerate warm temperatures and eventually, average room temperatures. As the cycle progresses, you will continually turn the temperatures down lower and lower, while your body takes on extra fat to compensate.
Another unfortunate aspect of this theory is that other people are doing this to you. In general, people tend to look to tall or large people for leadership. Think of most of your bosses, managers, CEO’s, etc. Tall or large people are often considered a figure of authority based on their size (and are conditioned to be so throughout their lives). Then, due to their responsibilities as leaders, they seldom have time to eat right or exercise, resulting in their eventually becoming overweight if they aren’t already. The end result is that people in charge of stores and offices, as well as heads of households, keep their buildings and homes cooler due to their excess body fat, affecting everyone around them.
The other side of the coin would be people in warm climates and who aren’t exposed to excessively cold temperatures indoors. When you’re hot, you will naturally want to drink water more often, which is very important to being healthy and fit. Not only does a nice, cold glass of water cool your body, it takes the place of drinking something else with calories and carbs in it such as soda or coffee. People don’t realize that drinks like that can be equivalent to a meal as far as calories and carbs go.
Another benefit of warm temperatures would be the reverse of the viscous cycle mentioned above. If you are warm or hot, you’ll feel less hungry because you won’t need to stock up on body fat to keep your body insulated. Also, depending on the humidity, you may even feel more energetic and want to exercise.
To back up my theory, the past five years of my life basically serves as a case study. I began dieting and exercising in spring time of 2007, when I lived in PA. I lost 30lbs in three months and was well on my way to becoming fit. Then, winter came and I didn’t feel like exercising or eating right due to the cold weather, so I gained it all back. The average temperatures were 20-50 degrees for six months. When spring came around, I began my fitness routines again, and did very well until fall, when I fell back into my bad habits again. This went on for the next two years.
I realized that I literally had to change my life if I wanted to save it, so I moved to Florida the following year just before fall. Now living in a warm climate, I exercised year round, continued to eat right and everything was going great. About two years later, I started a new job where the management kept the building very cold. I began feeling the way I did when I lived in PA during winter time and started having difficulty maintaining my fitness routine. This went on during winter and summer. When you spend forty or more hours a week at your place of employment, the temperatures can greatly affect your eating habits and therefore, your body fat percentage.
I had to wear sweaters and jackets indoors while all my overweight coworkers remained “comfortable” in regular clothing. That’s when it really hit me; almost everyone I worked with was overweight, so the temperature of the building was kept much colder than it should have been. I would be shivering with a sweater on and at the same time, they would be sweating. What I realized was that although they lived in Florida, they couldn’t tolerate the heat. So, already being overweight, they would continue to stay indoors with the AC on full-blast, thus perpetuating the viscous cycle.
Obviously, there are exceptions to everything I stated and other factors such as genes will have a lot to do with whether or not someone is overweight. There are even some who suggest the opposite of my theory. Regardless, temperatures really can have a lot to do with your health and the people around you may affect your weight, indirectly. The point is, you may have to make some drastic changes in your life to alter the forces working against you when you’re trying to lose weight and become healthy. You may even have to subject yourself to great discomfort by warming things up in your life, but nothing worthwhile is easy.
If you’ve tried dieting and exercising, and I mean really putting all you have into it and it just hasn’t produced the results you’d hoped for, you may want to consider changing your job or even where you live. It worked for me. Until then, keep an eye on your thermostat and think about who controls it.