Done with Dieting Episode #25: How did I gain 5 lbs Over the Weekend?

Has it ever happened to you where you had a weekend where you indulged a bit only to get on the scale on Monday & be completely discouraged?!? As you get on the scale, you see that your weight is up – 5 lbs?!?

All of your hard work down the drain! 

It feels like you’re starting back at square one

What happened? 

Is it possible to gain 5 lbs over the weekend? The answer is yes – and no.

I mean, clearly it is, because so many of us have had this experience. But is it truly fat? BUT more importantly, what can you do to get rid of it?

In this episode, I’m sharing the exact steps you need to take in order to shed that 5 lbs before your next weigh in.

If you want to take the work we’re doing here on the podcast and go even deeper, you need to join the Feel Good Sisterhood - my six-month group coaching program! The Feel Good Sisterhood is currently open for enrollment for a limited time, so click here to learn more.

For even more resources on becoming healthier, get my free download: 8 Basic Habits that Healthy People Do. If you do these 8 things on a consistent basis, you will be healthier than most people you know, and your body will right-size!

I am so excited to hear what you all think about the podcast – if you have any feedback, please let me know! You can leave me a rating and review in Apple Podcasts, which helps me create an excellent show and helps other women who want to get off the diet roller coaster find it, too.

What you’ll Learn from this Episode

  • Why you shouldn’t feel discouraged if you gain weight after a holiday weekend or a weekend of fun.
  • What causes weekend weight gain.
  • What steps you can take to get rid of it.

Listen to the Full Episode:


Full Episode Transcript:

You are listening to the Done with Dieting Podcast Episode number 25.

Hi, I’m Elizabeth Sherman, former corporate high tech executive turn life and weight loss coach. But it wasn’t that long ago that I was searching for that perfect diet, the one that would finally be the golden ticket to lose the weight that I so desired.

Fast forward past tons of failed diet attempts, exercise fads and painful lessons learned, and although I still have not reached the state of Nirvana, body love, my relationship with food exercise in my body is infinitely better than it was not only when I started this journey, but even as recently as three years ago.

The journey that has allowed me to ditch my scale, stop logging my food and exercise, eat food that I didn’t prepare and easily maintain my weight – something that I never thought was possible for me.

I created the Done with Dieting podcast to give you simple, easy to do and sustainable strategies to help you do the same without all of the drama that I went through.

If you’re a woman who’s looking to create a better relationship with food and her body, get off the diet roller coaster and free up a bunch of headspace spent on calories, how you should look what you should eat and beating yourself up for not doing what you think you should be doing. You are in the right place.

Let’s get started.

Hello everyone, and welcome to the show.

So, this past weekend was 4th of July weekend, and I’ve always found it really interesting. I think that there are two camps of people. People who gain weight during the summer and people who lose weight during the summer. And I totally think that it depends on, well, clearly it depends on what it is that you are eating during the summer.

So those folks who tend to gain weight during the summer, I think that what happens with them is that summer usually they’re a little bit more social. They’re going out to more barbecues and hanging out with friends more.

Whereas people who lose weights during the summer tend to eat more seasonally. And since there is such an amazing plethora of wonderful fruits and vegetables during the summer. That’s what tends to fill up their diet during the summer.

And so, this weekend was 4th of July weekend, and I think that we tend to get together with a lot of our friends and have barbecues and be a little bit more social. And summer barbecues and summer holidays really lend themselves to a healthier type of diet. When you think about, what we’re doing when we’re getting together over the summer.

What tends to happen, is we have grilled meats, like burgers and hot dogs and chicken and things like that. And we tend to have more vegetables, like salads with maybe some pasta or maybe some grains and you know, green salads as well. Sometimes those salads have a mayonnaise dressing, sometimes they don’t. And so anyway, my point being that for the most part during summer get together, we can usually eat pretty healthy.

However, you probably noticed that there were foods available to you, like maybe brownies or cookies or cakes or things like that. That aren’t normally part of your diet. And so, you know, we want to indulge in those types of foods when they become available to us, especially if they’re delicious.

So, it can be a little disconcerting when we get on the scale on Monday morning after we’ve had a long weekend and we see that the scale shows us that we’ve gained five pounds. It’s like, “what the heck is going on here?” We’ve been good, meaning we’ve been adherent to our nutritional needs. We’ve been eating tons of vegetables, we’ve been eating tons of protein, we’ve been getting in our water, and we’ve been staying away from those hyper palatable foods like brownies and cookies and cakes, and those things that are tasty during the week.

And we’ve been working really hard at trying to be healthier. And then it feels like in one fell swoop. The rug is taken from under us, and we’ve gained this five pounds and it’s like, ” oh my God, what the heck has happened? Why is it that I can’t maintain my weight?”

And so, what I want to offer you today, is to stick with me for this episode. Because I want to share with you why that train of thought is not only unhelpful, but it’s just not true. And when we believe that we’ve gained five pounds of fat over one weekend, it makes us want to give up. And really, there are other things at play here.

So, let’s let me start off by saying that it is almost impossible to gain five pounds of fat in a weekend. A three-day weekend, even in a week. It’s quite literally almost impossible. I’m not going to say that it is impossible because I’m sure that if you’re having some sort of metabolic problems, it’s possible.

However, for most people we cannot gain five pounds of body fats in a weekend. And let’s just do a little math. Let’s just do a little math to prove that point, okay? Now, One pound of fat or muscle is roughly equal to 3500 calories, okay? Now we don’t know that that’s true in everybody, but it’s the rough rule of thumb that we use to calculate what our metabolic needs are.

Now let’s say, that you are a 150-pound woman. That may be plus or minus for you, depending on how active you are. You will need 1500 to about 2200 or more calories per day, just to maintain your weight. So, the more active you are, the more calories you burn and therefore you need to take in more calories, okay?

So, if we were to take 1500 calories to 2200 calories per day and multiply it over three days, what that comes out with in terms of math is 4500 calories. So that’s 1500 times three to 6600 calories. So that’s our range of the number of calories that we need just to maintain our weight over the course of a weekend, alright?

Now in order to gain five pounds, I would have to take in an additional 17,500 calories, okay? Now I got that number by taking 3500 and multiplying it by five. So again, 3500 calories is equal to one pound and that one-pound times five, if we gained five pounds would be equal to 17,500 calories. Which is what we would need on top of the 4500 to 6600 in order to gain that weight, right?

Because the 4500 to 6600 is just our base calories. That’s how many calories our body burns just in a regular day. So, this is 17,000 above that, which breaks down to anywhere from 22,000 calories to 23,600 calories per day. That’s how many calories we would need to eat over the course of the weekend. Which if you break that down over the course of the three days, what that means is every single day you would have to eat somewhere around 7,350 to 10,000 calories per day, okay?

And not only that, but the body just doesn’t gain or lose fat that quickly. What tends to happen, at least for me, and many of my clients is that we tend to gain or lose fat over the course of like a two-week rolling window. And what I mean by that is that if I weigh myself today, if my weight has fluctuated over the past week or two, what that means is my weight today is kind of a reflection of the past two weeks of my eating.

And so, why this is a good thing, is that it just proves that no one day of eating really good, quote-unquote, or eating really bad, quote-unquote, really makes a bunch of a difference. What really has the impact on our weight is consistency.

How we’re eating over the course of a period of time. And so, if every day we’re eating more than our body needs, then we’re going to gain weight. Or if we’re slightly decreasing the number of calories that our body needs in a day, we’re going to lose weights.

But one day of overindulging doesn’t really make a heck of a lot of difference. So, you might be asking yourself, “well then Elizabeth, what the heck has happened?” Why did I gain so much weight over this weekend? The answer to that is “WATER.” Our body fluctuates with water so much, and there are a number of reasons that cause us to gain and lose water weight.

So, I pulled out a quote from a scientific American article, which I’m going to link to in the show notes. And that is that water accounts for about 60% of a person’s weight. And for an average person, this represents 42 liters or 11 gallons. Muscle has more water in it than fat does, okay. So, the more muscle you have on your body, the more you’ll see that fluctuation. Whereas if you have a higher fat percentage, then you will see less, but you’ll still see a fair amount.

Now for most people, water turnover or the amount of water that is lost and replaced by the body averages about two to three liters or 1/2 to 0.8 gallons per day, okay. And now a 1/2 to 0 .8 of a gallon is equal to four pounds or six and a half pounds. That’s a lot of pounds, right?

Now the amount of water can change depending on several factors, including exercise and environmental stress. And aside from normal daily water loss in the form of urine, the major source of body water loss is sweat, okay?

So, let’s break this down a little bit. There are about eight different reasons why your body would gain water weight over a weekend. Most of the time is probably going to be one of the top three, the first three, but there are a number of different reasons why we would gain water weight, and shed water weight, okay?

So, the first reason is hormones. As younger women, we probably noticed that our body weight would fluctuate a lot at different points in our cycle. For some people that happens, you know, in the days before their cycle, for others it happens during their cycle. But for everyone it’s a little bit different. It’s just a little bit different for each of our bodies.

And so, as you get to know your body and know when your body gains weight due to your normal fluctuation of your reproductive cycle. Then you will start to notice that you gain and lose weights or water in associated with that. So, you might feel bloated for example during different points within the month.

And that really doesn’t have anything to do with what you’re eating or anything like that. It just is a natural part of the way that the body works. Now, even if you are in menopause. We still have hormonal fluctuations over the course of a month. And so, you’ll notice that your body will naturally gain and lose water weight during that cycle of the month, okay? So that’s the first reason is hormones.

Now the second reason is salt or sodium. When we take in a fair amount of sodium or salt, we tend to gain what our weights. It makes sense, right? Salt attracts water. Now, if you’re used to making most of your meals at home, and then you go out over the weekend, restaurants tend to have a lot more sodium in their meals, then we add to our own meals.

And so that excess amount of sodium the body, all of a sudden just takes it in. And so, you’ll notice that after eating a high salt meal, that maybe your rings are a little bit tighter. And so that also goes to other areas of your body as well.

The third reason that we would gain weight over the course of a weekend has to do with starch or carbs. Now this is actually really kind of interesting because if you normally eat a lower starch diet and then over the weekend, eat more starchy foods like breads or cakes or pastas or things like that, you’ll notice that you’ll gain weight.

Because when the body stores starch or carbs in the muscles, for every gram of starch that the body stores, the body will also store two grams of water along with that. We store carbohydrates in our muscles. And so again, the more muscle mass you have, the more carb storage you have and so therefore the more fluctuation you have with your muscles.

This is also why we will often lose a bunch of weight after we go on a low carb diet because the body is using up those carbs in our system. And so, it’s there for flushing the water as well. And so, notice that if you go on a low carb diet, you’ll get some quick wins in the first week or two. But then you may find that you stall a little bit, which is really just again, water weight. Not that it’s bad, but it’s just an explanation.

Now, those first three reasons are mostly why we would gain weight over the course of a weekend. Are hormonal fluctuations having an influx of salt or sodium in our diet and then also having an influx of carbs or starch in our diet.

Now, number four is having a lack of water, and I know this doesn’t make any sense. But when the body doesn’t get enough water, it’s not flushing itself, and so the body holds on to that water. And so, one of the best ways to get rid of this water weight then is to drink water.

Now, reason number five is about injury or inflammation. Now this is actually really interesting. Many people, when they start an exercise program will get really frustrated because they’ll get on the scale and they’ll be like, “okay, I’ve been working out every day and now I’m gaining weight. What the heck is happening?”

When we start a weight training or a new exercise routine, the process that our muscles take in order to get stronger is called hypertrophy. And when we start exercising, our muscles have tiny little tears in them. The way that the body repairs these tiny little tears is through patching on more muscle fiber. It’s a very rudimentary explanation, but it kind of works. But when we exercise, we create these tiny little tears in our muscles.

And when we do that, we create inflammation in our muscles. That’s why we get sore the next day, is because our body needs to repair these tiny little muscle tears. We’ve injured ourselves. And so, when we start exercising, we get these tiny little tears, which is basically inflammation. The body then goes, and it floods the muscles with extra blood and nutrients, right?

So, think about it. If you’ve ever hurt yourself, maybe you’ve twisted your knee or something like that, you see your niece swell up, that’s all fluid. The same thing is happening with your muscles when you start exercising, it may not be as localized as your knee, but the same thing is happening all around your body.

So that’s number five is injury or inflammation could cause you to gain weight. It’s a totally normal and natural thing and nothing to be freaked out about.

Now, number six of one of the reasons why we would gain weight, it has to do with weather. I know, and this isn’t even something that is really within our control. So, in the summer, your body weight can go up by several pounds due to increase body water. And this is accomplished through your body conserving water through hormones. Which allows the kidneys to retain more fluid and reduce the amount of salt in your sweat.

So just be aware that during the summer months when it’s hotter out, you’ll probably notice again that your rings are a little bit tighter and that’s because your body is just naturally holding onto more water.

Now, the last two reasons number seven. You may not have eaten enough fiber to pass through your system. Now that might not be waterway, that might just be food in your stomach. But be aware that would also lead to weight gain, even though it might not be fat. And then finally, if you have food intolerances, sometimes you’ll experience bloating.

Now not all bloating is going to be water weight, but it can be sometimes bloating will be excess gas at which point that would not add any weight to the scale. But it could, especially if it’s inflammation based, alright?

So those are the eight reasons why our body would have such different fluctuations of water. And why our bodies will change a lot in terms of gaining and losing weight, as far as the scale goes.

Now all that being said, I do want you to tune into how you feel and notice how changing your diet over the course of a weekend. So, overeating or eating heavy starch meals or eating processed foods or things like that more than what you would normally eat, will influence how you feel.

So sometimes, when we get back from a holiday or a vacation, and we’ve been eating outside of what we normally eat, we might feel pretty terrible. So, I definitely want you to tune into that and I don’t want to blow smoke up your patootie that eating poorly, isn’t going to affect your weight. It definitely might.

However, it’s probably not going to affect your weight as rapidly as you think that it’s going to. And I definitely want you to take care of yourself and adopt healthy habits. Don’t want you to think that everything is as terrible as it appears.

So now the next question is, what do we do about it? Okay, so I know what you’re thinking, “Elizabeth, it’s Monday morning, I got on the scale; I gained five pounds; I don’t want this five pounds anymore; how do I get it off?” And I’m going to give you the advice that I give to all of my clients. And I’m going to give you the advice that I give to myself. So, it’s a three-pronged system.

First, the best way to get rid of water weight is to drink water. I know it doesn’t make sense, but it’s actually the truth. So, the safer your body feels in having water, the more it’s willing to flush the excess water. So, first thing you’re going to do is drink as much water as humanly possible. So just drink water all the time.

Second, you’re going to want to eat as many vegetables as possible. And the reason why you want to eat as many vegetables as possible is because one vegetables have fiber in them. And the fiber in the vegetables will bind to all of the food that’s in your system and pass that through your system. And then also vegetables are heavy in water content. So, you’re going to be receiving a lot more water that way, and they also tend to fill you up more. So, we want to eat vegetables just to create more bulk in our diet.

And then the third part to that is just be present with your body and be kind to yourself. Don’t overeat. Try to stay away from the foods that you were eating over the weekend, whether they are sugary or they’re starchy or whatever. And really try to be as good to your body as possible. So that’s number three. And then you can weigh yourself in a few days and notice that the weight is coming off.

Now a lot of times people will ask me, how often should I be weighing myself? There is a period of time that I weighed myself daily. Today, I don’t weigh myself at all. When we moved to Mexico, I threw away my scale and I haven’t looked back.

But there was a time in my life when I was weighing myself daily and people will ask me, should I weigh myself daily? Should I weigh myself weekly? Or should I weigh myself every other week? Or what? And the answer to that really has to do with, whether you are making the scale, mean something about yourself.

So, if you stand on the scale one day and you go up a half a pound, are you going to use that as evidence of why you suck? And I think that there is some benefit in weighing yourself on a daily basis, so that you can see and connect the dots between what I eat the day before and how that influences my weight.

So, for example, you might notice that if you eat Chinese food one night, then the next day you gain weight because Chinese food tends to have a lot of sodium in it. You might notice that, when you weigh yourself and then you take a beaker from yoga class, or you go exercise that you lose weight.

And so, the advantage to weighing yourself on a daily basis is really starting to notice that water fluctuation within your body. So, you can start to see that over the weekend, your weight increases; if you’re going out to eat a lot; or if you’re being a little bit more relaxed with your diet. And then during the week, as you get back to your normal routine of whatever it is that you’re eating, you’ll start to see that weight number go down.

Most people are their lowest weight on Friday mornings. And the reason for that is because we’ve been eating the way that we normally eat. And then also overnight we are breathing, and when we breathe, we have small little pellets of water that come out of our mouth, and we haven’t drank any water yet during the day to refill our depleted water.

So just be aware that depending on your schedule you will weigh the least on Friday morning. So, for my clients who really don’t want to weigh themselves daily, I do suggest that we wear ourselves on Friday morning.

And so anyway, the point being that, if you weigh yourself on a daily basis, I think that it can be valuable just to be able to see how your body naturally fluctuates in water. And the last thing that I want to suggest here is the biggest takeaway in this whole podcast episode is why you shouldn’t use a gain of weight over the weekend as a reason to give up.

When we see that increase in weights on the scale, it’s really just a water mask. And if you get rid of the water, you’ll see your true weight again. It can be so powerful to keep these words in your head as you stand on the scale and notice that, when your weight has gone up, like really ask yourself, did I eat 3500 calories yesterday, above what I normally ate? The answer is probably no, and so therefore you didn’t gain body fat.

Alright, that’s all I have for you today. I hope that you liked this episode, because I think that it’s something that we all struggle with, especially when it comes to the holidays.

Oh, and don’t forget that if you’re interested in becoming healthier and losing weight with a small group of other women who also want to become healthier and feel good. But are totally over diet myths that we’ve been fed over the course of our lifetime.

Head over to elizabethsherman.com/groupcoaching, that’s all one word, to get on the wait list for my new group coaching program.

You’re not going to want to miss it!

Have a great week everyone, and I’ll see you next time. Bye-bye.

Hey there! Thanks for listening!

If you’re a woman who is done with dieting, but still wants to lose weight, I want to invite you to join me in the Feel Good Sisterhood.

The Feel Good Sisterhood is a 6 month group coaching program where you’ll learn to apply so many of the tools, concepts, and skills that I teach right here on the podcast.

The way the program is structured, you’ll learn crucial skills and tools that will help you to be able to pay attention to what your body needs, therefore ending emotional eating, help you gain consistency and discipline with your eating, exercise, or sleep habits.

As a result, you’ll not only end up feeling physically good, but that will also lead to having more confidence, and finally freeing up all of that mental space currently dedicated to your weight, what you’re SUPPOSED TO be doing, but not doing it, and then the subsequent negative self-talk that happens afterwards.

To learn more about the Feel Good Sisterhood, go to elizabethsherman.com/groupcoaching. There, you’ll be able to send me a message with any questions you have.


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