How Mitochondria Helps You Lose Weight and Stay Warm
There is a timely and informative post over at Backdoor Survival about hypothermia. "Informative" even though it neglects to mention how your own body can help you stay warm via mitochondria! Mitochondria helps you lose weight, too -- we'll get to that.
Timely because it's gotten down to -22°f here this winter which means we could actually freeze to death right in our own backyard. I'm not just being dramatic this time. It could happen.
In fact, as a family who lived in the tropics/sub-tropics for the last 35 years, freezing to death in wintah (how it's pronounced in Taxachusetts) did not seem far-fetched at all.
We calmed ourselves by learning that Kentucky winners (how it's pronounced here) are famously mild, the average low being 23 degrees. Except this winner's frequent dips into single digits with the occasional BELOW zero romp are famously off the charts.
Miraculously, we are hardier souls than we imagined!
This morning, I was outside for an hour mucking the chickens and repairing (again) our homemade heated waterer. Despite thin tropical blood, I was pretty comfortable out there with the chickens.
As any woman can tell you, it's all in the outfit.
The ironic thing is that, here we've been dreading all this cold when, in reality, you can dress for cold weather and be perfectly comfortable. But you can't dress for hot weather. You stay indoors or you sweat. It is impossible to dress for heat unless you can wear an air conditioner.
Wow. I said a positive thing about winner. Didn't see that coming.
Mitochondria Helps You Stay Warm?
Yep. In prepping for cold weather, there is one more essential item to prep and that's your mitochondria. You have, like, a zillion of 'em. Let me explain.
My mitochondria education came from owning a fitness business in Key West for 17 years, which required constant training and study. The #1 goal was to increase the number and "fitness" of our mitochondria because they are all about burning fat. Burning fat is the number one reason people workout, btw. We say it's about "fitness" but it's really about being hot. Sexy hot, not sweaty hot.
What Are Mitochondria?
They are the little fat-burning machines that live in all your cells, including your muscles.
Mitochondria Helps You Lose Weight?
They turn your food into fuel (scientists call this ATP*), producing heat as they eat.
The more muscle you have. and the bigger and stronger those muscles are, the more mitochondria you have.
The more mitochondria you have, the more fat you burn for energy and heat 24/7.
Your mitochondria is one of the criteria that determines your metabolism.
*ATP (Adenosine triphosphate) is the energy currency of life. It is the high-energy molecule that stores the energy we need to do just about everything.
Mitochondria Burn Fat, Just Like That?
Well, like all fires, mitochondria need one more ingredient besides high-quality fuel to keep burning. It's the same ingredient every fuel needs to light up: O2 = oxygen.
How do you get O2 to your mitochondria so they can burn fat? Inhale. Then your cardiovascular system -- heart, blood, lungs -- delivers the O2 to the furnaces (mitochondria).
It makes sense, then, to have a working, efficient cardio system, yes? That's what exercise gives you! The more fit you are, the more efficiently your mitochondria burn fat.
In fact, if you aren't fit, your mitochondria will give up on burning fat (because it can't without O2) and will burn sugar instead. This will not keep you warm OR thin.
OR healthy. There's a world of hurt in not keeping your mitochondria fit. Take it from Dr. Terry Wahls who famously cured her MS by healing her mitochondria:
Q: How do I Keep My Mitochondria Healthy?
A: Here's the least you can do: eat clean, do some weight-bearing exercise, and get your heart rate up.
Your mitochondria will repay that effort by helping you stay warm, thin and HEALTHY.
I've been doing HIIT which stands for High Intensity Interval Training. in short spurts called Tabatas. Very effective, they don't take much time so not hard to get up and do. Here's more info on Tabatas.
There's your quick physiology lesson. Beef up those mitochondria and stay warm!