Over indulgence on Thanksgiving day is something almost everyone does. This one day can be the excuse used by many a person attempting to lose weight to just quit on their plans until the holidays are completely over.
Why would anyone let a single day in a month be enough reason to quit on themselves?
Thanksgiving was yesterday – today is a new day.
Do not give up on your weight loss endeavor because you might not have done so well yesterday – family and friends can put a lot of pressure on you to eat junk.
What you should be doing today instead of stewing over the number you saw on your bathroom scale this morning is to be crafting a plan to do better for Christmas, and then New Years Eve. All is not lost because of a single days worth of over indulgence!
Do not step on your scales the day after a holiday!
Look, you need to know that most of the weight gain you might see on your bathroom scale this morning is a result of water retention instead of a gain in body fat. You may, or may not have had control over the sodium content of the foods you ate yesterday. If you ate with others who prepared your Thanksgiving meal, you had almost zero control over the sodium used during the cooking process – all you could control was how you salted the food on your plate.
Again, I want to remind you that drastic weight fluctuation you may have seen this morning is due to water retention rather than fat tissue gain. Let’s say you might have weighed in two pounds heavier this morning – if we look at this with logic, we know it takes roughly 3500 extra calories beyond one’s TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) to create a pound of stored fat. Therefore, to gain two pounds of fat overnight, one must eat an additional 7000 calories beyond their TDEE.
Ask yourself – did you even eat close to 7000 calories yesterday?
If you know that you didn’t, quit worrying about your gain this morning!
It would be difficult to eat enough extra calories to gain just one pound of body fat overnight. Surely your over indulgence was not that bad was it?
Watch your sodium intake!
One pound equals just 15.34 fluid ounces of water or 450 ml. So, if you have simply 1 liter of extra water in your system, that’s more than two pounds of extra water weight.
Are you aware that consuming 400 milligrams of sodium, the amount in a single gram of table salt, causes your body to retain an extra 4 cups of water, which equals roughly 2 pounds? It usually takes a couple of days after returning to normal sodium consumption for the body to flush out the excess sodium through your urine or from sweating. You can help to speed up this process by drinking more water and by getting in a good sweaty workout.
Carbs will cause you to hold onto water also!
The over indulgence of carb laden foods yesterday also contribute to water retention. If you want to avoid water retention, you have to avoid the consumption of too many carbs – especially simple carbs found in those delicious desserts. Those simple carbs are also why you can get on the scale and it looks like you’ve gained 5 pounds.
I can assure you that you did not gain 5 pounds from one meal.
Actually, for every gram of carbohydrate you consume and your body keeps to use as energy, your body hoards 3 to 4 grams of water to help store the energy (glycogen). It is not just the desserts which cause us to retain water. The sugar hiding in so many things in our pantries is a culprit for water weight. You’ll want to check all canned goods, frozen foods, and condiments for added sugar. Not only is sugar a carbohydrate plain and simple, but also, when you eat too much sugar, your insulin levels go up. For diabetics, high levels of insulin may also cause your kidneys to retain water and sodium, which will also contribute to that increase on your bathroom scale the next day.
Beating back Thanksgiving Day over indulgence.
First and foremost, come to accept that you will experience water retention some of the time. This happens to me, you, and everyone else, it just happens. We’re humans, and our bodies are more than 50 percent water. Sometimes we’re going to indulge in something a bit saltier, a few more carbs, or a slice of birthday cake.
When we do indulge, and the scale suddenly reads higher or your pants feel a bit snugger than last week, it’s a normal occurrence for everyone! This doesn’t mean you’ve gained that much body fat. Just chill out and relax, don’t panic. All you have to do is look at the situation rationally, and understand that you are human and weight fluctuations are a normal part of life for everyone.
- Drink more water. You might assume that drinking more water will just add more water weight. However, the opposite is true. If your body feels starved for water, it will hold on to whatever water it has. If you’re retaining water, make sure you drink more of it, especially if you’re also eating salty foods. It also helps to limit tea, coffee, and alcohol, all of which can be dehydrating.
- Avoid foods high in sodium and simple carbs. It’s not so much the salt-shaker on your table you have to worry about, but salt used as a preservative in some processed foods, contributing to roughly 70% of our salt intake, according to the CDC. All of your processed, packaged foods are going to have more sodium simply because [the manufacturers] want them to stay on the shelf longer. Cook from scratch when you can, using non-processed items like fresh fruits and vegetables. If you do need a packaged item, read the label and compare sodium and added sugar content across similar products. Many processed foods are loaded with added sugars as well as salt.
- Exercise regularly! Physical activity is key to losing water weight. Not only will you be sweating out some fluid, but you’ll also get thirsty and want to drink more water. Exercising stimulates blood flow and improves blood circulation. This reduces buildup of fluid throughout the body, especially in the legs and feet.
To clarify water retention weight:
To be clear, we’re talking about water weight as “bloating” and not chronic water retention, which indicates a malfunctioning of your kidneys or hormones. Bloating is sporadic, usually triggered by diet or lifestyle, and can be remedied without a trip to the doctor — though the kidneys do play an important role. The kidney is a dynamic organ. It decides whether to hold on to water. If you’ve had too much salt the night before, then your kidneys will hold on to more water to dilute or correct that salty imbalance – then they flush it all out.