Who needs “metabolic winter?” Not me—I live in Minnesota!

By Beth Caron

In most parts of the country, it’s spring, perhaps even summer—according to both the weather report and the meteorological calendar. Here in Minnesota, spring has arrived, but acting typically fickle. (Last week, there were frost warnings. This week, we’re in the mid-80s. In the next few days, we’ll be lucky to hit 65.)  But, with summer approaching, our thoughts naturally turn to weighty matters.

Literally weighty matters—as in our perennial resolutions to lose weight. That, and how to survive the sometimes chilly weather.

Turns out there’s a solution for both concerns, and it’s based on the connection between being cold and burning calories.

Basically it goes like this: Don’t fight the cold and you could lose weight. In fact, one man suggests enhancing the cold with a nifty item called The Cold Shoulder. The theory, described in an Atlantic magazine article, is that frigid days are opportunities for weight loss.

The Cold Shoulder is a vest designed to be loaded with ice packs. Wear it for an hour and your body will burn an extra 250 calories, according to designer Wayne B. Hayes. Excess fat will—how can I resist—just melt away. He suggests wearing the Shoulder twice a day.

Here’s the idea. Your body will expend the extra calories by trying to keep you warm.

Hayes claims to have lost 26 pounds in six weeks by replicating a “metabolic winter” through a regimen of cold showers, sleeping without blankets and taking winter walks without a shirt. He does admit that good nutrition should play a role: “You can’t freeze yourself thin,” he says.

Are you kidding me? Let me point out that Hayes lives in southern California where residents often don’t turn on the heat except for the coldest winter days—sometimes letting the indoor temperature drop into the 50s.

No, my friends, I am not going to shiver myself to lose weight. I’m waiting for the one-pill, one-step weight-loss method. And, it turns out, just such a pill is in the works. It must be true—I heard about it on National Public Radio’s Science Friday.

Until that hits the market, I guess I’ll stick to working out and skipping dessert. What’s your preferred method for losing weight—popping a pill, wearing ice packs or good old-fashioned exercise and healthy eating? Send me your best strategy. In the meantime, excuse me while I go check the weather forecast because I’m sure it’s changed since this morning. (Did I mention that spring in Minnesota is unpredictable?)

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