Holiday Weight Gain? Here’s Why it’s Not a Big Deal

You’re starting to make some decent headway, then – BOOM, BOOM, BOOM.

They come at you like a rapid-fire three-punch combo:

• Thanksgiving

• Christmas

• New Year

The scale confirms your worst fears – your bodyweight is back to what it was a month ago!

All that hard-won progress annihilated in just a few days of overindulgence.

You feel like throwing in the towel – hell, it’s just too damn easy to end up back at square one.

BUT WAIT!

It’s really OK because…

One Day Taken in Isolation isn’t a Big Deal

Now, I know what you might be thinking:

“My scale weight’s up, so I must’ve put on a whole bunch of fat”

But here’s the deal.

A day or two of overindulgence can’t derail your fat loss any more than a couple of stellar days at work will get you a raise, a promotion or a transfer to head office.

Don’t believe me?

Well, just check out this from the app I’ve used to track my bodyweight daily for the past 18 months or so.

Yep, in early December, I put on an incredible 5 lbs in just 48 hours!

Was I surprised?

Oh, yeah.

But I didn’t freak out because while it’s possible to put on that much weight, that fast…

…it’s impossible for it all to come from fat.

After all:

Rapid and dramatic changes in bodyweight (either up or down) usually come from nothing more exciting than changes in body water levels.

Keep in mind that our bodies are something like 60% water by weight – so a 200-lb man contains around 120 lbs of water.

That’s more than 14 gallons!

And that number isn’t constant.

Have a big meal that’s high in salt and carbohydrate, and your bodyweight can just skyrocket.

All thanks to changes in how much water weight you’re carrying.

(Some weight-class athletes take this to the extreme, losing 20 lbs or more for a weigh in, then regaining it all within the hours prior to competition)

So here’s the good news:

I can’t gain 5 lbs of fat in 48 hours and neither can you

I can’t gain 5 lbs of fat in 48 hours and neither can you Click To Tweet

Why?

Because it requires a level of hedonic excess that would bring Elvis Presley to his knees.

Don’t believe me?

Well, here’s how much food somebody would have to consume in addition to their normal diet to put on that much weight, that fast:

  • One Quadruple Bypass Burger® (containing 4 half-pound beef patties, 20 slices of bacon, and 8 slices of cheese served in a bun coated with lard)
  • Twenty cans of beer
  • Twelve slices of Pizza Hut’s Chicken Bacon Parmesan – Large Bacon Stuffed Crust Pizza
  • Five cups of Häagen-Dazs Rocky Road ice cream
  • A Starbucks Venti (20 oz) whole-milk caramel brulée latte

Remember, that’s in addition to their normal diet.

Now, the reality is they probably wouldn’t put be able to keep that volume of food down.

Or in.

Bottom line?

It’s impossible to put on a significant amount of fat in just a day or two

OK, maybe ¼-½ lb of fat gain is possible, but that’ll tend to be lost in the background noise of daily weight fluctuation.

So, what does that mean for you and me?

1. Daily weighing is your friend

Now, here’s one of the worst feelings in the world:

You exercise, you stick to your diet, and you do all the things you know you should.

And guess what happens over the week?

You actually gain a whole bunch of weight.

Why?

Simply because last week’s weigh in caught you on a “good” day, and this week’s on a “bad” one.

And that can be enough to make some folks quit there and then.

On the other hand, if they’d weighed everyday, those blips would’ve been seen for what they really are.

So, get in the habit of weighing yourself daily – it can be a real game changer.

2. One meal, one big night out or even a day of relentless eating can’t really do much in isolation

OK, think of it this way:

Working out just one time or brushing your teeth a couple of times per month will do pretty much zip for you over the long haul.

What matters most is what we do over a succession of days, what we do habitually.

After all:

Radical change comes from time-spaced repetition of little things that make a difference

– Donny Epstein

And it works the same way for weight gain.

Ultimately, nobody got overweight or blew their fat loss out of the water because they really went for it at Christmas or Thanksgiving.

What makes or breaks our fat loss is all the little things we do consistently an all the other days.

You know, the days we don’t even think about, let alone remember: March 26, September 14, November 18.

So, here’s the bottom line:

If you make enough headway the overwhelming majority of the time, the occasional little blip won’t make a damn bit of difference.

Whether that’s at Christmas, New Year or whenever.

That means we get to ignore all that nonsense about “surviving the holidays” and “inevitable weight gain”.

Even better, we really can have our cake and eat it.

– Tim

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Images: BigstockErik Charlton – Evian Overload

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