Has it ever happened to you that you lost weight on a strict diet and then gained 2-4 pounds back at a lightning speed? Just after coming back to ‘normal’ regimen?
Say, you did very well before holidays: strict diet, intense exercise, anti-cellulite massage :D… but after 2nd day of ‘enjoying life’ pounds started piling back on you?
Have you ever wondered why?
- It is not your metabolism that slowed down
- It is not your unfortunate body that gains weight just from looking at tasty food
This is what really happens. When you were on a restrictive diet, your glycogen storage depleted and the pounds you lost are not all fat: they consist of glycogen, water and fat. When you lose weight rapidly, it is mostly water and glycogen. We store 1-3 lb of glycogen (a polymer of glucose) in our liver and muscles. We need 1-3 lb of water to store 1 lb of glycogen.
So imagine you decided to ‘tone up’ for a beach vacation. You’ve been smashing killer workouts every day, and ate very little or even went for a low carb diet. And voila, you lost 6 pounds in 2 weeks.
On holiday you slowed down, ate a few desserts, drank a couple of cocktails, relaxed and enjoyed life.
Came back home and…Shock horror! You’ve gained 6 pounds back plus 2 extra pounds!
The truth is, what you actually lost before holidays was a bit of fat, but mostly glycogen and water. After eating a bit of carbohydrates on holiday you replenished the stores of glycogen and water. Most probably you also gained a few grams of fat, hehe.
But what an average dieter would think: ‘OMG, I ruined it all, life is over. My metabolism is crap. Why am I the only person in the World who gains weight only from looking at food?’
This is extremely discouraging and depressing, by the way (together with the fact that the holiday is over…), and may cause an emotional overeating resulting in another few pounds of weight gain.
- Weight on scales never represents our weight loss success or failure.
- Never compare your weight between 2 dates. Always look at a trend taking regular measurements over a period of time
- If possible, find out your body composition and track fat percent. This can be done with electronic equipment or quality calipers.
Fat loss expert, elite group fitness instructor and personal trainer based in Sheffield.