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Weight Loss
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Does cold temperature help you to lose weight?

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Hey CC users,

I'm wondering if cold weather can contribute to weight loss. The other day I went to my bf's hockey game and I sat outdoors for 3 hours in very cold weather (approx 5 degrees). In that time I brought snacks and I ate before and after but Ive lost weight since that day.

Is it possible to make that connection between feeling cold and losing weight? Maybe your body has to work harder to keep the body temperature at normal so your metabolism is working faster, and burning more calories than what is consumed.

Hmm any thought would be appreciateD:)

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putting any strain on your body (including temperature changes) will make you burn more calories than normal but it isn't hugely significant and as you get used to things like cold weather they will have let of an afftect

If it does, it wouldn't be enough to register on the scale. Don't try to figure out what one thing you did that may have caused a drop in weight - over time, a deficit will lead to weight loss, but no one day determines the next day's weight.

Albahcam - I guess coz im usually rugged up, my body isnt used to it but eventually it will and it will have less effect.

And amethystgirl i agree, there could have been many other factors... the food I ate that day was different to my usual as well so it coulda been that.

Thanks for the quick repliesSmile

If anyone has come across an article discussing a proven link between the two, would love to have a read.

There isnt a big difference in burning calories when its cold UNLESS you are shivering or tightening up your muscles to keep you warm.

i'm actually going to disagree on this one (surprise, right?).  if you're dressed appropriately for the cold, then, no, it's not going to have much effect.  but if you're exposed to the weather, you're going to lose a lot of heat (energy); your body then has to burn stores to keep your temperature up.  this can definitely be significant.

not suggesting that you go roll around in the snow naked, but it might lend a little motivation for going for that run on a cold day :)

edit: just thought i should add that if you're like me and respond to cold by eating macaroni and cheese and lasagna, you'll probably have a rebound effect ;)

Hmmm, I don't know.  I've heard that in the winter when its cold, some people tend to crave and eat warm comfort foods (think hot chocolate, cheesy pasta, warm creamy soups, warm apple crumble, etc.).  Who wants a salad when they come in from a raging blizzard?  So if you're constantly cold, you might tend to eat these types of food to compensate (perhaps overcompensate) for being cold....

Yeah, just my two cents.

I tried to do some quickie research on this once. I remember being told that part of the reason you get so hungry after swimming (even non-serious splash around play) is because your body loses so much heat to the water. I couldn't find much info.  It was just for giggles, but I wondered if over a long period keeping the house at say 65 degrees vs 72 would make a difference. (Along the same lines that fidgeting doesn't burn much but doing it all the time is significant.) 

Oddly enough, I know I read that exercising in the summer actually takes a little more energy than in the winter because your heart has to beat more to keep you from overheating.

So maybe it's a wash: faster heartrate burn in heat vs. calories to stay warm in the cold?

Oh well, nice theory.

i have wondered about the whole cold thing alot recently cuz i started working at a salad bar where i have to prep fruits and vegies in a cooler. i only have access to fruits and veggies so that is all i eat! lucky me.

Actually, there IS some proof that temperature affects body weight over time.  I read an article about it a few years ago (in Atlantic Monthly I think...I have just tried to locate it without success) that suggested that if we raised our thermostats a few degrees in the summer and lowered it a few in the winter our bodies would have to work harder to maintain homeostasis, hense burning more calories.

It seems yet another modern convenience is responsible for us all carrying around a few extra pounds!

I'll post a link to the article as soon as I can find it.

Interesting replies, thanks!

Another thing, if it is true that cold weather helps to shed more calories then people living in colder climates (e.g. europeans) would have to consume more food than the average to keep from losing weight.

Hmmm... shouldnt people in colder climates be relatively fitter / healthier than people from warm climates?

Hmm... any thots?


Ive always heard that the temp. effects calorie burn and I always keep it in mind :) in the winter that is...I cant stand being too hot even if I am burning more calories. In texas its about 110-115 for a couple months out of the year and exercise is impossible.

I think that's way too complicated to figure out leisurely. You'd have to look at calories consumed and activity levels vs the temperatures they live at.

Original Post by perannum:

Hmmm... shouldnt people in colder climates be relatively fitter / healthier than people from warm climates?

It's not about colder climates, it's about discomfort.  If your body has to work to stay either warm OR cool, your BMR will increase.

That's perfect for me: the building I work in is too cold in the summer and too warm in the winter! (yeah, my employer's not too worried about wasting energy, are they?)

Here is an interesting take on this subject called A Physicist's Weight Loss System:

It is a pretty interesting read.

Yep, a fun read. I'm cold all the time, though, so I'd never get any sleep! My hubby usually runs the air conditioning so much that I'm still shivering under the covers.

Hey, wait a minute! I was stalled all winter and just started losing in June...when he started using the air conditioning!!! (Of course, I also started walking 4 miles a day and eating 200 calories less...but still...)

16 Replies