As I suspected, following the last week’s 4.6lb weight loss, the scale was my nemesis in week five and I gained back .4lbs. That’s less than a half pound and if you read my prior column, I was expecting either a small gain or a plateau.

I have been down this road before. Now is not the time to get discouraged, but to soldier on. Grrrrrr!

The weekend snowfall afforded me the opportunity to get in some “natural” exercise.

You see, despite the fact that we have an electric power shovel, I have asked Jim to refrain from using it whenever possible this winter. Thirty minutes of snow shoveling burns the same amount of calories as thirty minutes on the stationary bike or in the gym. It also works muscles that I don’t normally use. Plus, I like the feeling of accomplishment I get out of cleaning off our deck and stairs.

Sunday was an oddball day for me. In addition to shoveling for about an hour, I did 40 minutes on the bike and started the spring cleaning ritual of wiping down our walls and anything that hangs upon them. All that up and down the ladder business had me a tad sore by the end of the day. It was a good sore though. I knew I had “done my body good”.

In the midst of all of this Sunday activity I also had an incredible case of hunger. It wasn’t the munchies either. I was starving that day, all day! I cracked into my Weight Watchers bonus points. I wasn’t sure if it was cabin fever or all of the exercise. I chose low calorie, healthy foods and even though I consumed more than usual when dieting, I didn’t blow it.

Coincidentally, I also found that I was thirsty and consumed an entire gallon of water throughout the course of the same day.

It was if my body went into manic mode.

I did a little research on Monday and found that my hunger was quite possibly linked to the dip in temperatures. Apparently, it is quite common to get the munchies during cold weather. Eating warms you up. Who knew? When your core gets cold it sends a message to your brain triggering your appetite.

The bright side is that your body also burns up to 13% more calories in colder temperatures. Based on my age, height and weight I should normally burn roughly 400 calories in an hour shoveling snow. In bitter cold, given the 13% theory that means my calorie burn would jump to 452 calories burned performing the same activity.

To stave off the hunger it is recommended that you dress warmly and “graze” rather than concentrate on three traditional meals. Another suggestion is to snack before and after your workout. Just make sure that you make choose something like a piece of fruit or a sugar free gelatin rather than an unhealthy option.

This diet thing isn’t easy, but it’s worth it!