Cold Temp Relief through metabolism or…The Human Torch !

Since I started this blog back in August, the weather here in CT has gotten progressively colder until now it in the 30’s with snow on the ground.

Like most people, I’m not a big fan of feeling cold. It adds stress to my life that I would rather not have … which is probably why people retire to Florida or Arizona.
The Chilling Secret
I stumbled upon an interesting concept related to the control of my body temperature that you might like to try.
Here is the story… I have been renovating a room in the lower level of my home and on some days, when I was working with paint that gave off fumes, I would not have a fire in the fireplace and would occasionally open the windows (if the fumes were too strong). Since I don’t usually have the heat on in the room, it can easily drop down to below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
While I worked, I would be constantly moving between the garage (no heat) and the cold room. A friend stopped over to check out the progress of the bookshelves I was building and commented that they could not work in the cold like this. At the time, I was in a t-shirt and felt fine so I did not think too much about it. Later I noticed that if I stopped moving i.e. sat down on the couch upstairs – where the heat was turned on to 69 degrees – to take a rest and watch TV that I would very soon start to feel the cold.
Clearly internal metabolism generates heat and can compensate for a cold environment. I know what you are thinking… EVERYBODY KNOWS THIS. It is just basic physiology.
The more interesting question I found is … how much of this is under my own control and can I use it to make my life more comfortable?
A while ago, I saw a video about man who was able to control his metabolism such that he could comfortably withstand exposure to very cold temperatures. Wim Hof, “nicknamed The Ice Man”, was featured on a Discovery Channel show (see YouTube clip). According to Wikipedia, Wim Hof is a self-described master of the Buddhist mind/body control practice of Tummo and he has set a world record by spending one hour and 31 minutes in a tub of ice wearing minimal clothing
Lynne Cox has similar control which she has used to swim 1 mile to Antartica.

“If you focus on the cold, then you’re focusing on something that’s not helping you get to where you need to get,” she says.

My “Flame ON” moment…
Since someone else had done it, I knew it was possible. I began to experiment and consciously notice my mental and physical state whenever I was warm (in a cold room) so I could start to find the triggers to create it on purpose.
I found it helpful to visualize an “internal fire” that spread throughout my body whenever I wanted to be warm… sort of like the comic book hero, “The Human Flame” (of Fantastic Four fame). [If you have not seen the movie, you should rent it … if only for the special effects of fire controlled by the Human Torch.]
This visualization helped me imagine generating heat internally so that the external environment did not matter nearly as much.
[No, I did not actually catch on fire… it was just a visualization.]
Does it work? For me, not 100% … yet. I am getting better though and this winter will be a good challenge.
How does this relate to weight loss?
My theory is that since I have been working out, I have a greater range of metabolism and am able to generate more heat. It may also be related to the foods that I am eating since I have heard (online) that some people notice a “sensitivity to cold” when they change their diets.
The greater range of metabolism seems to work in the opposite direction as well. When I am resting, I am REALLY resting and seem to need extra blankets to stay warm.
It’s not a perfect solution…
Of course I can’t be the “Human Torch” 100% of the time so I’ve begun to listen to my body and compensate based on what activity I have planned.
If I’m going to sit on the couch and watch Law & Order or “The Biggest Loser”, I better grab a blanket or turn up the heat. (The blanket is less expensive than burning more heating oil.)
If I am going to be sitting at my computer, writing a blog post… like this one… I better put on a sweatshirt or turn up the heat in the house (if it is going to be a long post).
In short, I have more control… and it feels good. The stress of the cold is greatly reduced and I am able to focus on other activities instead of how the cold makes me feel.
Like my grandmother used to say … FLAME ON !
(Loosely translated from “If you are cold, put on a sweater”)
[I just could not resist the opportunity to post a picture of my grandmother ! ]
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