Temperature matters

The other evidence we have is animals who live in the cold have higher metabolic rates, higher activity levels, yet higher body fat and body mass than those that live in the warmth. This suggests that fluctuations in body fat may be tied to changes in temperature exposure, and not just to protect us from famine. The bottom line is temperature matters.

~ Brad Pilon from, https://bradpilon.com/weight-loss/heat-for-weight-loss/heat-and-body-weight/

My pull-quote is from the very end of Pilon’s article. Overall it lays out a delightful overview of the main systems that regulate our body composition. I love this last point—the part I’ve quoted—because it has nothing to do with humans; It’s a nice “and the same thing seems to be true for other mammals” that provides a great reality check on the models he’s presented in the article.

Pilon is the author who made things clear and simple enough for me to try intentionally manipulating the window of time each day when I stuff food in my face. Being intentional about that greatly increased my awareness of subtle signals from my body. At 8:30am, when I’m day-dreaming of blueberry pancakes, am I actually hungry or am I simply having a craving for carbohydrates? And when I wake up at 1am with a massive cramp in my left calf… I should probably have remembered to take my magnesium supplement before bed, and I better eat a banana first thing in the morning.



After all, you had the amount of body fat and lean body mass that you had because they were the optimal amount to keep you at the optimal temperature given your environment. Then, without changing your environment, you forcefully overrode your body’s attempt to maintain these optimal levels in order to change the level of fat mass you have, and accidently your lean body mass.

~ Brad Pilon from, https://bradpilon.com/muscle-building/weight-training/will-you-lose-weight-and-keep-it-off-if-you-diet/

That first sentence is sublime. As far as I can recall, it’s the sentence which best describes everything I know—from both knowledge and experiene—about controlling one’s body composition. As I wrote previously in, Exercise, “I am the sort of person who…” has been the gateway each time I’ve been able to affect my body composition. Each time it’s been because I’ve changed my behavior or my environment (or both.)

At the beginning of this week, because I am the sort of person who looks ahead for the major goals and hurdles of the coming week, I realized I needed to get two runs in before Friday; I can’t count on running at the end of the week on Friday, Saturday, nor Sunday. (Monday is the first day of the week for me.) I planned to run Tuesday and Thursday. Wednesday night, because I am the sort of person who makes a plan for tomorrow as part of preparing to go to sleep, I realized it was going to be chilly, wet, and drizzling around 7am when I was thinking it would be nice to go for a run. Fortunately, because I am the sort of person who enjoys running in the chill and drizzle the weather forecast didn’t faze me. And Thursday—this morning—, because I am the sort of person who follows through on plans, we were out the door around 7.


Core temperature

Interestingly, regardless of exercise intensity, exercising in the cold has been shown to reduce and delay the typical [human growth hormone] response to exercise, leading to the speculation that the increase in core temperature may be the more important regulator of growth hormone release.

~ Brad Pilon from, https://bradpilon.com/weight-loss/temperature-and-growth-hormone/

Human growth hormone is involved in a lot of the body’s signaling, and I was instantly curious about “hacking” exercise to raise core temperature… and then I remembered all the classic “boxers training in sweat suits”—drenched in sweat! It’s right in the name of the clothing. Boxes know a lot about training, muscle and getting into shape.

But then I got completely distracted reading the Wikipedia page. First off, I remember when we didn’t know what the actual shape of molecules were. Then along came mathematical modeling, protein folding… and I think there’s even a “folding at home” project where you can “donate” your computer’s free time to help figure out how proteins fold. Anyway, Human Growth Hormone seems to be solved. It has 192 (!?!) amino acids. The thing is enormous— except it’s actually not that big as far as proteins go. And the folded shape is as important as the chemical composition of each molecule. And you begin to realize the insane complexity of proteins that have hundreds of amino acids… And then you eat food and your body needs enzymes to disassemble these huge molecules into . . . sorry. I got excited. Ahem.



Fasting is nothing more than intentionally restricting what, or when, you choose to eat. Over the years I’ve posted a good bit about fasting. If this is new to you, start with my post, Ten years and About that diet.

In my battle with depression, I’ve become convinced that inflammation is a causal factor; being over-weight is generally inflammatory and then eating inflammatory foods can tip me over into an acute episode of depression. To be clear: I’m literally saying that if my weight is up, and I eat the wrong food, the following day will be a shit-show of depression.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about—AWESOME. I’m so happy for you. (That’s not sarcasm.)

…okay, you’re still reading. Here’s something new [as in: I’ve not posted this URL on my blog before] from Pilon:

I’ve found stats saying it’s the 4th leading cause of disability worldwide and that mood disturbances including depression will lead to an epidemic of disease in the 21st century in the western world. It’s clear that depression needs to be addressed more often than it currently is in the mainstream and health and fitness media. I find depression particularly interesting because of the connection with inflammation.

~ Brad Pilon from, https://bradpilon.com/weight-loss/intermittent-fasting-and-depression-an-inflammation-link/

Curious, it’s almost as if what I eat matters…


Advice on losing weight

Truth be told, if I really wanted to help people lose weight I would increase the price of Eat Stop Eat to 100 dollars per book. Far less people would buy it, but those who did would be invested heavily in making a change in their lives. They wouldn’t just read about fasting and weight training, they’d actually practice it.

~ Brad Pilon from, https://bradpilon.com/weight-loss/what-do-you-do-when-a-friend-asks-you-for-advice-on-losing-weight/

Call it wisdom– Call it Imposter Syndrome— whatever. The more I learn about health, the more I’m convinced I know nothing.

For me, the solution to my unhealth was to change my life. Not, “more exercise,” but “rediscover moving.” Not, “eat better,” but “listen honestly to my body.” Not, “lose weight.” — there’s no, “but…” on that last one; The weight loss just happens the more I change my life.


Two types of food

Once you have your goals firmly in your head, think of a food, any food.

Now ask yourself “Will this food move me closer to my goals or farther away from my goals?”. If you believe it will help you move closer to your goal, then eat it.

If you believe it will actually move you away from your goals, then don’t eat it, or at least eat it moderately and in very small portions.

~ Brad Pilon from, https://bradpilon.com/weight-loss/the-two-types-of-food/