Ah the winter. The time of year when the days are short and the appetites are long. People tend to pack on a few pounds of winter fat, blaming the holiday’s of course. But what if we are supposed to gain winter fat?
You don’t see a bear dieting in December do you? “Hey Tim, Don’t forget that when we wake up from this hibernation you only have 3 weeks until bathing suit season”. That would be preposterous. Many animals know that they have to pack on the pounds to survive those long winter months.
Humans are basically animals so is it in our best interest to gain a ton of weight for the winter? Nope. Is there an advantage to just letting yourself go in those colder months? I doubt it. What do doctors think about putting on 30 pounds and sleeping for 5 months? I am not even going to ask. Can I write an entire blog trying to justify this? Yes, finally a yes!
Based on the zero amount of research I have done I have come to the following conclusions. There is no physical difference to being fat in the winter or the summer. It is usually the result from not exercising and eating terribly. I do it all year so why should winter be different.
There are however some mental advantages. If I find myself in a group of travelers lost in the middle of the woods during a blizzard with only body heat to keep us warm, I am going to be very popular. Nobody wants to cuddle up to the gaunt person who brags about not eating a carb for 4 years in a life or death situation. You know what that person’s body heat smells like? Kale. You know what mine smells like? Bacon.
Another life saving (maybe, but I’m stretching) advantage of the winter fat is the lovely shelf that the top of the belly makes. Hiking in the winter starts a wonderful collection of snow accumulation on that top shelf. That snow can be easily be eaten, if you haven’t had a snack in 3 minutes, and will provide you with much needed hydration.
So advantage one and two for winter fat but why do we tend to gain weight in the winter anyways. Again, based on no research, here is what I have found. When it is 12 degrees out do you really want to come home to salad made of iceberg lettuce? Of course not. It has ICE in the name! You want to come home and eat hot food like lazagna, pizza, or sausage. Or better yet combine them into one giant meal called the Pizzagnasage (patent pending).
After eating a nice hot meal you aren’t going to go out for a run. Nope it is already dark so what do you do? You find an extra large blanket and curl up with your (preferably chubby for warmth) partner and watch TV until you are almost too tired to go to bed! Ahhh that’s the life.
Now in the summer all of the advantages have now turned against you. Those deposits of solidified Pizzagnasage that kept you warm all winter long are now your enemy. Looking out the window now makes you sweat. Not that glistening sweat that the skinny folks in the movies get. Nope this is a full blown torrent of persperation entering every nook and cranny. Some of the cranny’s you didn’t even know you had but most of the nooks seem familiar.
In the same situation of getting lost in the woods you are no longer being looked at as the comfy, warm walking couch. Now, Alexis says that the group should eat you first to survive because you remind her of the time they visited the pig farm as a kid.
The body just doesn’t cover up as easily in the summer either. It is hard to look cool and slim by stuffing yourself in a burka when it is 100 degrees out. And clothes, or sweat catchers as you refer to them, become clingy in the summer. They start riding up in places they shouldn’t. Now you remember the cranny! The worst part is when the tank top that fit last year is now exposing your under belly. Notice I didn’t say midriff? Midriff’s are for models, underbelly’s are for those of us who keep our winter fat. Have you ever heard “underbelly” used in a positive way?
The last problem with summer fat is there is no way to hide what your body says. In the winter when sigh-groan when getting in or out of a chair people just assume you came in from the cold or going out into it. A groan is totally justified. In the summer the groan is alone. Everyone hears it and it can’t be because you “have” to go out and get onto the slip and slide. Nobody complains about that.
So after studying all of the hard evidence (none) that I have done on this matter I have come to one conclusion. Live in Alaska. Dieting is hard and I think it would be much easier to uproot and move. In all (some) seriousness you also have to consider the alternatives. The slims have the same problems just reversed. Have you ever seen how many layers a slim has to wear just to get the mail in January?
Maybe bears do have it right. Gain weight in the winter, then sleep for almost 5 months. Then when you wake up you are skinny again! Then all you do is walk around and eat and try to get fat again!
No matter if you are fat or skinny it is all about how you deal with your comfort. If you are comfortable then you are ok. That being said comfortable and healthy are not always the same. If you gained a few pounds over the winter and feel uncomfortable, use the summer fat section to motivate you to get to where you want to be. If you are freezing cold and have already taken all my covers and the extra blanket because “you are always warm I didn’t think you would mind” then eat a freaking sandwich! More importantly, take the winter cloth off the mirrors and give yourself a look. Smile at your reflection because you are you. Then decide if you want to make some goals. Or just sleep 5 months until you are comfortable again.
If you enjoyed this post then you may enjoy some of my other posts such as “Screw It, I’m trying“, “Hiking alone is not lonely Hiking“, or “Bad Days and Bidets: Just wash it off“. Those and more can be found on my “Thoughts” page. You can also follow me on any of the below social media platforms or leave your email to get updates each time I post. Happy Hiking!