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  • Dr. Sweeney

Why Do I feel cold while losing weight?

I get this question a lot "why am I always cold?" Losing large amounts of weight can affect your body in may different ways including thermal regulation. I've seen this in family members that have lost a lot of weight by one way or another and certainly in my bariatric surgery patients who lose a lot of weight very quickly.

Here's the low down.

2 most common reasons for feeling cold while losing a large amount of weight:

- As you lose body fat you are literally losing your own insulation. Plus fat cells release energy when they sense cold temps which helps keep you warm. Think of it this way, hibernating animals put on a lot of fat to keep themselves warm during the cold hibernating months, you are doing the opposite which is bound to make you feel cold.

- Extreme calorie restriction slows your metabolism down. You need to consume a certain amount of calories to produce body heat and if your body isn't getting enough, it won't produce heat. Your body is very smart and it uses the calories that it does get to first support vital functions like your heart, lungs, kidneys, etc. If your body feels like it's not getting enough calories, it definitely wont waste the calories it is getting on keeping you warm. This is a slippery slope because we don't want our metabolisms to slow down too much otherwise you will plateau or even start to put weight back on as soon as the calorie restriction stops.

-Think of "The Biggest Loser" phenomenon. The contestants on that show all lost weight during the show because of extreme calorie restriction and intense exercise (further burning off more calories). And the show was deemed a success, right, because they all lost weight? What happened when cameras stopped rolling and the show was over was that the contestants went back to their normal lives and the pounds came back on with a vengeance and then some because their metabolisms were slowed down so much that they couldn't handle even a "normal" amount of calories in a day without gaining weight quickly.

We want to do everything in our power to keep your metabolism from slowing down too much because we want your body to be a fat burning machine. Blog post coming soon on ways to keep your metabolism going and lose the weight in a manner that will set you up for long-term success.

- other much more rare causes of feeling cold: hypothyroidism, vitamin deficiencies, anemia

all of these can easily be looked into by your practitioner.

By far the first two mentioned are the most common in people losing substantial amounts of weight whether from surgery or another lifestyle change.

Hope this info helps you in your journey.

In Health,

Dr. Sweeney

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