A blog for (semi) athletic middle-aged men (and women) holding on to (the last vestiges of) their youth
by training for and competing in running, cycling, swimming and triathlon events!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Why Do Old Guys Get Fat in Winter?

The elusive "Old Guys Who Get Fat in Winter"
Racing Team jersey
Several years ago on Ride the Rockies I saw a guy wearing an "Old Guys Who Get Fat in Winter" racing team jersey (but I've never been able to find one for sale!). Having battled the bulge in my 20s and lost it in my 30s, I could relate to the annual weight gain cycle that plagues many men (and women, I gather from this Fabulous 40 & Beyond post) as we age. Now approaching the big 5-0 it seems to get harder and harder to lose the lose the weight come springtime so I am trying harder to avoid the gain. But I am finding that gets tougher, too.

So why do old guys get fat in winter? Some theories suggest that humans, like most mammals, instinctively store fat in winter to stay warm. I am somewhat skeptical of this hibernation theory -- essentially that our metabolism slows down to conserve energy during a period of cold weather when food supplies are scarce. We live in a climate-controlled world with abundant supplies of food a short ride away (hopefully with heated car seats)!

I put more stock in the "Holiday 10" hypothesis. Beginning with Halloween candy and extending through Thanksgiving over-eating, Christmas cookies, and New Year's over-indulgence my holidays are punctuated with family events focused on eating, drinking and being merry. I cannot even begin to calculate the number of calories I consumed this past week but it had to be at least 1,000 per day in beer alone!

But I am not going to deprive myself of holiday cheer in order to maintain my goal weight. As I have for the past 18 years I will simply increase calories burned to account for increased calories consumed. It's not really a very complicated concept. As I have often said, I swim, bike and run so I can drink beer (and enjoy other high calorie indulgences). And I eat beef to fuel my body with protein and nine other essential nutrients in a low calorie package (not to mention it tastes great and leaves me feeling full longer than other foods). 

One 3 oz. serving of beef provides more than 10 percent of 10 essential nutrients and vitamins for less than 10 percent of your daily calories
So here's my New Year's Resolution: Ride faster, run harder, swim more, eat more BEEF (and fruits and veggies) and save the calories for the good stuff (like my mom's pie!).

Diet and health can seem complicated. Keep it simple with beef.

Ride on,


P.S. Fire up a beef tenderloin for your New Year's celebration. One of the leanest and most tendcer cuts, tenderloin (aka filet) is an elegant and healthy way to ring in the new year and start 2013 off on the right foot! Try this recipe from Beef. It's What's for Dinner for a party pleaser!

I grilled up three 7-8 lb. whole tenderloins for Christmas dinner. The total price tag of $250 seems steep until you factor in that we fed 26 people for less than $10 per serving (and had at least half a roast leftover). Considering the crowd-pleasing flavor and low-calorie consequences (about 150 calories per serving), you can't go wrong with a tenderloin for your New Year's Eve party!


  1. Replies
    1. Dane, thanks for reading, and for reminding me that you wrote about "Calories In; Calories Out" a while back. My favorite line in that post is "would you put crappy gasoline in a Ferrari?" BEEF is high quality fuel for the body, whether you drive a Ferrari like you or a Yugo like me :)


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