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Weight loss = less insulation?

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  • Weight loss = less insulation?

    Maybe some of you can help me out with this. I recently dropped about 20 lbs. through diet and excercise, going from a high of 189 to my current weight of 171.

    The thing is, in the last few weeks I always seem to be cold. Granted, it's Wisconsin in the winter. But I've always been the one complaining about being too hot. And when I normally keep the house set to a comfortable temperature for me, my wife is always complaining about how cold she is. Now I'm the one doing the complaining.

    It would seem obvious that losing 20 lbs. of insulating fat might cause me to cool down faster (I mean, that's what sea mammals use to keep themselves warm, right?). But I also know that women typically have a higher fat percentage than men -- if that's the case why is my wife usually colder than me?

    I just want to see if anyone else has experienced this phenomena.
    Caution and worry never accomplished anything.

  • #2
    Re: Weight loss = less insulation?

    Originally posted by kirch
    [B] It would seem obvious that losing 20 lbs. of insulating fat might cause me to cool down faster (I mean, that's what sea mammals use to keep themselves warm, right?). But I also know that women typically have a higher fat percentage than men -- if that's the case why is my wife usually colder than me?
    First - congratulations on the weight loss!

    I can answer part of your question (why your wife is usually colder than you are):

    Women have a greater percentage of body fat compared to men, and that DOES provide insulation and (to some extent) slows down the speed of heat loss - but there are also other factors that affect women's response to cold. Women tend to be of smaller stature than men (meaning they have a smaller surface area and smaller amount of muscle mass).

    These two factors contribute to faster heat loss and faster decrease in core body temperature than men, when they are exposed to cold.

    Women's smaller muscle mass also produces less metabolic heat from both exercise and shivering, leading to a decreased ability to supply heat to their core when they are trying to warm themselves.

    If you REALLY want to get specific about it, there are times during a woman's regular monthly cycle when hormonal and physiological changes associated with ovulation affect thermoregulation (resting core temperature increases, and onset of sweating occurs at a highter temperature - which indicates that a woman's "set point" for temperature regulation has been temporarily elevated).

    Re: your increased sensitivity to cold - honestly not sure. I suppose it's possible that you just "feel" the cold more now that you are lighter - but I don't really think that's it. Ideally your loss of 20 pounds should have taken between 2-3 months (assuming you were on a nutritionally sound diet). If you lost it faster (just speculation here) your immune system may be run-down (especially if you lost the weight on a VERY calorie reduced diet - you would be very nutrient deficient). A wacked-out immune system could make you feel tired, cold, run-down, sluggish etc.

    Other possibilities - you have a low-grade or other minor infection - or you're brain is just sick of winter and aching for warm days.

    Dunno. Keep the weight down, put on another sweater, and suck it up until Spring!
    Last edited by krj; 03-21-2004, 08:54 PM.

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    • #3
      i'm ALWAYS hotter than anyone, even the guys who like it cold at the firehouse. i'm pretty dang skinny, 6'1" 180, i always thought it was my metabollism and muscle mass that acted like a furnace and make me burn up.
      We don't need no stinking badges!

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