Working Up A Sweat, Sometimes.

“I’m cold.”

A few years back, if I’d said those two words you probably would have probably given me a funny look. See, when I was 300, 350, 380+ pounds, I would work up a sweat just walking across the room. I was the guy that would be out there in 30 degree weather in light shirt, steam coming off my head from all the heat coming off me.

Then come summer… well… get me out there for a bit of paintball in July, and I would come off the field drenched in my own sweat. Heck, there were times I didn’t even have to move, just sitting there … in the shade … for me it was like sitting in a steam room. It sucked.

Then I had bariatric surgery. And one of the side effects you don’t always hear as much about is that you are pretty much guaranteed to turn into the proverbial “freeze baby”.


So yea, that first winter after surgery was a very different experience for me. I was still losing weight too, so I didn’t want to invest in a new winter coat yet, but fortunately I still had my old high school letter jacket, which was a pretty heavy coat. That and layering sweatshirts and such got me through that first winter with no frostbite or hypothermia or anything.

Richard Simmons

But there was another side to all this as well. The sweating. That first year… no matter how hard I was working out, it seemed like I couldn’t break a sweat. And honestly, it was kinda freaky. For as far back as I could remember it was all I could do to NOT break a sweat, and here I was… biking, jogging, and much more and I wasn’t sweating.

I don’t know the science behind all this. Is it as simple as I don’t have the insulating layer of fat, so my body is able to more easily regulate it’s temperature? But then again, sweating is an important part of that… it’s how the body cools itself off. So what was keeping my body from heating up in the first place? Is it a metabolism thing? And if so, what’s different now?

See this year, I’ve been sweating more.

It’s not like it was where I’m just sitting in a warm room and I’ll start. But when I’m exercising; out biking or running laps on the track at the gym. These days I can work up a pretty healthy sweat. Actually, the first couple years (and I’m not sure I should be admitting to this) not sweating was kinda nice in a number of ways. When it came to going to the gym, I could wear the same shorts and shirt for a couple gym sessions in a row, no big deal. Now, after a nice workout my stuff is a bit drenched and goes right to the wash when I get home. But at the same time, and maybe this was just a mental thing, I often felt like I wasn’t doing enough exercise because I wasn’t working up a sweat.

So what is it about weight loss that makes us get so cold? I mean, sure, I’ve put on a few pounds since last year. But based on how my clothes fit, being able to lift more, etc… by far it’s mostly muscle I’ve added back. So it’s not like I’ve been adding a bunch of insulation here – so what’s different? And maybe it just shows how wonderful our body is at adapting to what we put it through (to a certain extent), and maybe it just needed some time to adjust to this new normal? But then again, I know of a few people who years later still haven’t gotten over the whole “freeze baby” thing.

I dunno. One of those mysteries of life after WLS I guess? One that’s on my mind more and more now that we’re definitely in to the chilly fall weather here in Minnesota. What about you? Are you still a Popsicle, even in the summer..? How do you survive the colder months?

About Rob

I had RNY Gastric Bypass on April 8, 2009. I went from my heaviest of over 380 down to a low of 188 (for about a day!) before working on rebuilding muscle and such. Now I maintain at about 225. WLS has changed my life in so many ways, including my career as I now tackle nutritional coaching and other obesity education issues and is also a co-host on The Wake Up Call, a health and wellness radio show.