“I slipped off my diet this week and put on 4 pounds!” No you didn’t actually.
One of the many reasons that people fall off their diets is because they will accidentally slip off for a couple days and then see negative results on the scale. For most people when they see that they regained weight they will naturally think that it was all fat. This is absolutely NOT true.
When you diet and lose weight, you are taking things away from your body that it's used to having. When this occurs you are naturally reducing the amount of calories you consume, and therefore your body burns fat for energy. However, when you re-introduce those foods into your diet, your body will retain water and therefore put pounds on the scale.
The number one type of food which will make you retain water is carbohydrates. It is especially bad to consume a large amount of carbs 1-2 days before a weigh in because your body will hold onto water as well as glycogen (energy from carbs which is stored in your muscles for later use) if you do not use it up. So if you eat a lot of carbs and sit on the couch for hours, you will weigh more than you would if you hit the gym and burned off the glycogen.
I remember one time I went to an Italian restaurant for dinner with my girlfriend and of course ate a huge bowl of linguine. For the rest of the night I sat and watched a movie and then went to bed. The next morning I got up and weighed in. To my horror I had gained 3 pounds since the previous week and I freaked out (this was before I knew about water and glycogen retention). The next week when I weighed in I lost 5 pounds, the water and glycogen retention was far gone, and my body returned to normal.
So for anyone who gets on the scale and sees a significant weight gain, say 3 or more pounds, only about .5-1lb of that was fat. I guarantee that fact unless you ate a surplus of 10k calories that week, which I highly doubt.
In short- If you get on the scale and you are horrified at weight gain don’t stress about it. If you watch your diet the following week and watch your late night carb intake 1-2 days before weighing in, you may be surprised to see you lost 5 or more pounds.
My tip- no one should deprive themselves of their favorite foods. A cheat meal can actually make you lose more weight that week by tricking your metabolism. Go and have what you are craving one day this week, don’t worry about calories - just eat to enjoy and don’t look back. I did it and lost 85 pounds in 6 months. Fitness should be fun =)
Tony isn't a licensed nutritionist yet, so he can't give anyone advice on what to do. Please consult your doctor for his professional opinion on a diet/nutrition program that will work for you.
Tony's blog is a journal of his experiences and what has worked for him. He lists general guidelines and suggestions only. He is NOT a professional.