This is probably the most literal blog post title I’ve created so far.
I. Have. Cold. Feet.
Not metaphorically, in the sense that one can have second-thoughts about pursuing something, no my feet are literally like blocks of ice. Why am I telling you all this? Why have I written a blog post all about my frozen toes? Well, because this has never happened to me before. Seriously. I cannot remember a time when I ever had cold feet before. In my life. And it’s weird. I mean sure, it’s snowing outside and it’s the beginning of January, but this isn’t something that’s ever happened to me in all my years of icy cold winters.
So what’s going on?
Well, I’ve lost a bunch of weight haven’t I?
Yeah, turns out that when us fatties shed some flab, we start to experience the joys of cold weather just like everyone else. Except maybe even more so, because when we’ve spent 365 days a year for over 30 years, cosily ensconced in our whopping layers of sub-cutaneous insulation, we’re used to always having that fat on our bodies throughout all 4 seasons. Bodies are smart and they work around the clock to maintain a level of homeostasis that stops us from overheating in the summer and freezing to death in the colder months. But when you suddenly change up your bodily composition (and while 50lbs isn’t the hugest amount of weight-loss, it’s still pretty substantial) so it’s carrying less of that insulation around with it, you’re definitely gonna notice it.
I’ve never liked the summer months. I hate the feeling of the sun on my skin and the shorter nights / longer days that are filled with way too much intrusive daylight; but I also hate the warmer temperature and smothering levels of humidity. I’ve often thought it largely to do with my being so overweight for all my life, but I also come from a Scottish family (who hail from the North-East of Scotland which regularly sees temperatures of -10°C / 14°F and lower in winter) and many of them who are of normal weight, also dislike the heat, so it’s probably a mixture of both. But having always loved the winter and colder months up until now, I’m beginning to wonder if the increasingly lower amounts of fat on my body will make me change my mind.
I implemented the changes to my eating habits back on 31st August last year, which was right at the end of the summer. Maybe I didn’t pick the right time to choose to try and lose all this weight, because as the temperatures outside started dropping with the change in season, I began to use up some of my fat-stores, thus exacerbating the way those changes in temperature felt to me and my shrinking carcass. Of course I’ve always noticed the change in the weather (I look forward to being able to wear my super-snug winter coats in winter, every year!) but this year…I’m really noticing it. I wore gloves for the first time in years when I went into town a couple of day ago – something else that felt bizarrely foreign to me – so it’s not just my feet that are feeling it. To paraphrase a bit of La bohème: My (Not So) Tiny Hand Was Frozen!
And I’m not sure what to think about this. I mean, obviously I’m not going to suddenly decide that life was more pleasantly toasty and warm before I lost weight, ergo I should just intentionally gain it all back again. But it’s one of those things I never even considered before deciding to lose weight. It’s not something I’ve heard people talk about when discussing their own weight loss experiences. But it must be pretty common right? It can’t just be me.
So I did a bit of Googling and it turns out that feeing cold after losing weight is actually a pretty common phenomenon and there are a ton of forums out there where people are complaining about this exact thing. I found an article on Insider called “8 unexpected — and negative — things that could happen when you lose weight” in which Caroline Apovian, Director of the Nutrition and Weight Management Centre at Boston Medical Centre says:
“Your body is going to lower your metabolic rate when you lose weight to try to conserve energy. And in conserving energy, it doesn’t have a lot of extra calories to keep you warm. Another reason you might feel colder is because you no longer have fat acting as an insulator.”Caroline Apovian, Insider.com – Jan 10, 2018
Both of those explanations make total sense but in my case I’m not as worried about it being as a result of my reducing my caloric intake. I don’t count calories right now, but I know I eat quite a lot of the little blighters just seeing the of the size of my meals. 2 porterhouse steaks and asparagus, mushrooms fried in beef dripping with broccoli and cheese is my favourite meal right now and I’ve gone from eating it 1 to 2-3 times a week. That’s a typical evening meal for me and it comes in at over 1000 calories alone. Add to that a protein shake with added collagen powder & almond milk for lunch, a protein brownie cookie for breakfast, coffee with cream a couple of times a day (with the occasional couple of pieces of Perlege chocolate to accompany it – yum!) an energy drink and pieces of ham and cheese and some nuts or nut butter throughout the day…and all that probably comes in at just under 2000 calories in 24hrs. Which is allegedly around about what a “normal” woman is supposed to eat every day. Sure, that’s still less that what I was previously eating, but it’s certainly not the kind of caloric deficit that one would expect to have a particularly negative effect on their metabolism.
So, I’m not completely writing off the possibility of this new “feeling cold” phenomenon as being something to do with a decrease in my metabolism, but I’m inclined to think that it is as much – if not more so – to do with there just being less insulation on my body. And my levels of sub-cutaneous fat have been decreasing at the same time as the seasonal temperatures, making the effect feel so much more noticeable. But whatever the reason, I guess it’s just another one of those new things for me to have to get used to. It does have me wondering though, just how much more “noticeable” the whole temperature thing is going to get. There are some accounts on a reddit weight-loss board where users claim that since losing 100lb+ (and maintaining for a few years) that they now always feel the cold; no matter what time of year it is.
Yikes! Life as a much slimmer person sure is going to be different, huh? But I’ve always wished that I could wear more cosy seasonal stuff like hats, scarves, gloves and lots of layers (stuff I’ve always just been too warm to wear previously) so there are definitely some positives to being more sensitive to the cooler weather. The other half has absolutely zero sympathy for me though, lol. It’s almost a meme to hear about guys who complain that their wives and girlfriends have freezing cold hands and feet, but up until recently, me and himself were the exact opposite. At well over 6ft tall and with a slim, athletic frame, he was always the one with the deathly cold feet and I’d always laugh at him for needing to find gloves to wear outside during the winter. Now though, the joke’s on me I guess.
I still can’t imagine me ever coming around to the notion of loving – or even liking – the longer days and shorter nights of summer (I will always be a princess of darkness and a lover of the night in my jet-black heart) but maybe I’ll at least find the previously inescapable heat somewhat more tolerable as I continue to shed this weight. One reason I’ve always given about why winter is so much better, is because it’s a lot easier to find ways to wrap up and escape the cold; whereas escaping the heat of summer is a lot harder. (You can only take so many items of clothing off in public before the police come along to arrest you for public indecency.) So if one of the side-effect of losing weight is that I don’t feel as suffocatingly hot during the summer months, that’s not all bad. Especially if I then get to wrap up in multiple layers of really cosy other stuff during the winter. I may even have to invest in a pair of slippers to wear around the house (I’m so rock ‘n roll, lol). But as with all things this weight-loss process continues to throw at me, I’m just going to have to learn to roll with it and take the rough with the smooth.
Stay cosy folks