An article in the December 2014/January 2015 issue of MORE magazine had my little heart beating with excitement. According to MORE, my fat comes in three colours (brown, beige and white) and by changing beige or white fat to brown fat I could get skinny again. Well, you know the old saying, “if it sounds to good to be true . . .” but I did manage to salvage some hope from the premise.
To back up a bit, brown fat is good fat, like good HDL cholesterol. White fat is nasty like LDL cholesterol. Somewhere in the middle is a mystical beige fat which can under the right circumstances go one way or the other. Brown fat is like basic stems cells and what nature gave us as babies to keep us warm. White fat is what happens when we overindulge in poor food choices that deposit in doughy (good analogy) lumps around our waistline or our thighs. Brown fat, which generates heat (burns calories) tends to be overtaken by white fat as we get older.
Scientists have discovered the existence of the in-between beige fat which under the right circumstances can go either way. Exercise and it turns to good brown fat which liquefies and passes naturally out of our bodies. Taking that logic a step further, all we need to do is figure out how to turn white fat into beige and beige into brown fat. Research indicates that in addition to exercising, lowering the external temperature and causing the body to shiver signals the muscles to covert white fat to beige and ultimately to brown, then, presto, fat gone.
Without getting too complicated here, as I was reading the article I could feel my pulse quickening just thinking about the pounds falling off, like that webbed layer of facial wrinkles in the Vichy face cream magazine ads. All I had to do was keep the external temperature around my body so low I’d shiver. I’d open the bedroom window at night to allow the room to cool to the point I could see my breath while I virtuously slept under a single sheet. I’d crank up the air conditioning in the car until goose pimples became permanent features on my arms and legs. My menopause sweats would become a thing of the past. My pores would shrink and so would my waist and ring size. All I had to do was freeze myself and shiver the pounds away. That sounds totally do-able.
Then my dream evaporated. The scientists haven’t yet perfected the major step of converting white fat cells to beige without the shivering part and they seem to feel no one could stick with that regime long enough for it to be effective. They’re still experimenting with injecting mice with more brown fat stem cells which they hope will beat up on the white fat and . . . oh, forget it! By the time I got to the end of the article, they’d killed my dream of shivering myself to skinny. Exercising and foregoing bad food choices just seems like too much work. Excuse me while I take my white-fat laden old body into the kitchen and start supper. But I’ll keep the ceiling fan running—just in case.