2

votes

Always slim down on holiday, eating crap food?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created December 15, 2011 at 11:53 AM

I do not understand at all. Recently I took a trip to Southern Asia, and lost 7 pounds over 2 weeks (but did go up 2% bf according to my scale - I look good though...).

I was eating almost no protein, lots of grains, and curries with minimal amounts of coconut milk in them. I think most of it was broth and spices. It was a classic low-fat, high-carb diet, and I was lucky if I got one egg a day. Meals were generally rice and curry or noodles and curry or bread and curry, 3 times a day. I had 3 milky teas a day also.

Exercise-wise, all I did was walk around a little (probably less than I do at home) and lots of bending over to pick up leaves and things and throw them into a truck, for 90 minutes 5 days a week.

I only slept around 7 hours a day because the sun would come up super early and things would get noisy.

Were my losses all muscle? I don't understand how I could have lost any fat but I do notice smaller thighs and upper-arms. The weird thing is that I also lost weight on vacation a few months back on a similar diet, with lots of milky tea/coffee and Middle Eastern fare (more meat, but still a lot of bread and hummus, plus alcohol mixed with sugary drinks).

I don't know if this is a sign that a higher carb diet works for me, or if it's just because of the increase of Vit D from being outside way more coupled with the extremely low cortisol and high contentment of being on vacation that caused me to lose a few pounds. I did sleep less but I woke up better rested. I certainly don't see though how results were coming slow with my IF, weight-training, hot yoga, 9-10 hour sleep a night routine but with vacations weight just drops off. Do you think the conditions of my vacation (mood, sunlight, and lack of stress&technology in particular) made a large difference?

How should I use these experiences to hack my current routine, if at all?

Bfa1c9eacfc94a1b62f3a39b574480c6

(3700)

on May 13, 2012
at 11:40 PM

Great writing on that second paragraph.

9ffe43c6c5990ed710c7c49b12d6ee7f

on December 16, 2011
at 02:34 AM

I believe I've found my accepted answer.

9ffe43c6c5990ed710c7c49b12d6ee7f

on December 16, 2011
at 02:33 AM

I was also thinking dehydration, but then the rise in bf% on my scale changed my mind (plus I'd been drinking water by the liter). Generally fat and water get shown as the same on it, so I always have lower bf%s in the morning when dehydrated.

94a4a87e3d2e1e9160b6ed77678b4bea

(1311)

on December 16, 2011
at 01:14 AM

Interesting - whenever I travel in SE Asia I end up stacking on weight due to the lack of protein, good fats and way too much carbs and they love putting a lot of sugar in and on their foods (especially marinated meats in Vietnam). Maybe you just aren't sensitive to these things!

Dfada6fe4982ab3b7557172f20632da8

(5332)

on December 15, 2011
at 05:30 PM

Loss of water and glycogen pumping up the muscles does not mean that the muscle has atrophied.

Dfada6fe4982ab3b7557172f20632da8

(5332)

on December 15, 2011
at 05:29 PM

Which can cause health problems long term, but which we should be robust enough to cope with for a couple of weeks and doesn't necessarily tell us anything about how our weight will be affected short-term.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on December 15, 2011
at 04:10 PM

if you had all that diarrhea that was probably your weight loss right there!! A good bout of stomach upset will tip the scale temporarily, for sure.

724ba4f39f7bbea7f74b45c0a79615f2

(1968)

on December 15, 2011
at 03:47 PM

Yeah, totally agree with the premise, but in practice, most diets have been hijacked with fake fats, MSG, refined bleached flours, and other neolithic short-cuts, especially in poorer countries, just because it can be so extremely cheap.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on December 15, 2011
at 03:46 PM

You can maintain muscle with a very small amount of protein and physical exercise.

Cf4576cbcc44fc7f2294135609bce9e5

(3125)

on December 15, 2011
at 03:35 PM

crystal i agree with you, i loose muscle pretty fast through inactivity and regain it just as quickly with resumption of exercise

Ab5da2cf814773d1e7454460dd069617

(20)

on December 15, 2011
at 02:39 PM

I completely disagree. My muscles atrophy pretty quick (ie: weeks) if I'm not eating enough protein along with no resistance training. I could see if the diet was the same, but the level of activity changed how it might take a while though.

082bf04a7486991c5e573a66f1404b3e

(813)

on December 15, 2011
at 02:32 PM

It takes closer to 3 months than 2 weeks to even begin losing muscle due to "underuse" (pari pasu) (unless you're coming off steroids :P)

9ffe43c6c5990ed710c7c49b12d6ee7f

on December 15, 2011
at 01:55 PM

I actually agree quite a bit with the second paragraph, and I think that was very well put. I trust the wisdom of traditional diets as well, and tried to veer my eating towards the rice and curries much more. But of course, many of the foods I was served also had things like margarine, added sugars, msg, refined flour, and corn starch. By crap, I was casually referring to fact that this stuff wasn't the high quality things geared towards health that people would traditionally eat. "Cheap and cheery" might be another way to put it.

9ffe43c6c5990ed710c7c49b12d6ee7f

on December 15, 2011
at 01:50 PM

This sounds entirely plausible (and unfortunate). I am a female, wanting to lose that last bit of extra padding. Gastro symptoms - diarrhea once while there coupled with stomach discomfort, a lack of appetite and stomach sickness the last 3 days, and then another session of diarrhea since I've gotten back (4 days of it). I attributed this at first to the spicy food and then to eating street food, and not being used to the new bacteria. Though 4 days is a lot, most sites say normal stomach flu viruses can last up to 10 days.

B3e7d1ab5aeb329fe24cca1de1a0b09c

(5242)

on December 15, 2011
at 01:09 PM

Oh, are you male or female?

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5 Answers

4
Dfada6fe4982ab3b7557172f20632da8

(5332)

on December 15, 2011
at 01:21 PM

I think vacation has a big impact psychologically. No matter how energised and well I'm feeling normally, the release when I'm formally off work is still massive. Your body may have been enjoying some proper recovery time. It's likely to be almost all water anyway, which can swing all over the place with a change in diet. High-carb isn't necessarily bad either, if you're coming at it from a functioning metabolism.

In general, I'd hesitate to call any traditional diet 'crap food'. It's typically real food, and with millenia of wisdom behind the combination of foods and spices etc. and is likelt to be quite sustainable. The agriculturalists survived after all, if not at the peak of human potential. Conventional wisdom only really went wrong when we tried to retrofit foods to what we thought our bodies needed by reductionism, looking at the individual biological processes rather than judging by the overall effect on the body.

724ba4f39f7bbea7f74b45c0a79615f2

(1968)

on December 15, 2011
at 03:47 PM

Yeah, totally agree with the premise, but in practice, most diets have been hijacked with fake fats, MSG, refined bleached flours, and other neolithic short-cuts, especially in poorer countries, just because it can be so extremely cheap.

9ffe43c6c5990ed710c7c49b12d6ee7f

on December 15, 2011
at 01:55 PM

I actually agree quite a bit with the second paragraph, and I think that was very well put. I trust the wisdom of traditional diets as well, and tried to veer my eating towards the rice and curries much more. But of course, many of the foods I was served also had things like margarine, added sugars, msg, refined flour, and corn starch. By crap, I was casually referring to fact that this stuff wasn't the high quality things geared towards health that people would traditionally eat. "Cheap and cheery" might be another way to put it.

Dfada6fe4982ab3b7557172f20632da8

(5332)

on December 15, 2011
at 05:29 PM

Which can cause health problems long term, but which we should be robust enough to cope with for a couple of weeks and doesn't necessarily tell us anything about how our weight will be affected short-term.

Bfa1c9eacfc94a1b62f3a39b574480c6

(3700)

on May 13, 2012
at 11:40 PM

Great writing on that second paragraph.

1
B3e7d1ab5aeb329fe24cca1de1a0b09c

(5242)

on December 15, 2011
at 01:09 PM

If you've lost weight and your body fat percentage really has gone up then I wouldn't say the diet worked for you. That would be body decomposition. I don't think you would of just lost muscle, but both fat and muscle, though you may have lost more muscle than fat.

Did you need or did you want to lose weight?

There are a lot of factors to consider, total calorie intake as well as your calorie expenditure. How well do you tolerate bread/gluten? If it irritates your gut wall enough it will stop you absorbing everything you're eating, so you might be putting the normal amount of food in your mouth not absorbing the normal amount.

You can lose muscle from a lack of use as well as a lack of protein, do you usually do some resistance exercise that you didn't do on vacation? You may have just experienced some de-training, which can be exacerbated on a low protein diet.

Did you experience any gastro like symptoms?

I've traveled a lot through Asia, and I typically lose weight as well, though I put it down to a highly irritated gut (I do a whole lot better without grains) and walking all day most days.

B3e7d1ab5aeb329fe24cca1de1a0b09c

(5242)

on December 15, 2011
at 01:09 PM

Oh, are you male or female?

082bf04a7486991c5e573a66f1404b3e

(813)

on December 15, 2011
at 02:32 PM

It takes closer to 3 months than 2 weeks to even begin losing muscle due to "underuse" (pari pasu) (unless you're coming off steroids :P)

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on December 15, 2011
at 04:10 PM

if you had all that diarrhea that was probably your weight loss right there!! A good bout of stomach upset will tip the scale temporarily, for sure.

Dfada6fe4982ab3b7557172f20632da8

(5332)

on December 15, 2011
at 05:30 PM

Loss of water and glycogen pumping up the muscles does not mean that the muscle has atrophied.

Ab5da2cf814773d1e7454460dd069617

(20)

on December 15, 2011
at 02:39 PM

I completely disagree. My muscles atrophy pretty quick (ie: weeks) if I'm not eating enough protein along with no resistance training. I could see if the diet was the same, but the level of activity changed how it might take a while though.

Cf4576cbcc44fc7f2294135609bce9e5

(3125)

on December 15, 2011
at 03:35 PM

crystal i agree with you, i loose muscle pretty fast through inactivity and regain it just as quickly with resumption of exercise

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on December 15, 2011
at 03:46 PM

You can maintain muscle with a very small amount of protein and physical exercise.

9ffe43c6c5990ed710c7c49b12d6ee7f

on December 15, 2011
at 01:50 PM

This sounds entirely plausible (and unfortunate). I am a female, wanting to lose that last bit of extra padding. Gastro symptoms - diarrhea once while there coupled with stomach discomfort, a lack of appetite and stomach sickness the last 3 days, and then another session of diarrhea since I've gotten back (4 days of it). I attributed this at first to the spicy food and then to eating street food, and not being used to the new bacteria. Though 4 days is a lot, most sites say normal stomach flu viruses can last up to 10 days.

0
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on December 15, 2011
at 04:15 PM

I'm with the others in wondering whether or not this was a good change. It may have been if you in fact lost some fat and the rest of the change was water. It could also have been dehydration from your intestinal issues. Let's assume good things happened.

For many people, the protective responses of the body to everyday stresses and strains can get in the way of weight loss, particularly if you don't have that much to lose.

As AndyM said, the release from that when you're on vacation should not be underestimated. I was under treatment for gum disease once and it was improving but very slowly. I went on vacation and it improved by leaps and bounds. The funny part was that the periodontist told me that would happen; he said any patients who went on vacation always came back much improved.

When I was still working, we all noticed that people who came back to visit a few months after their retirement always looked younger. I'm not sure I did THAT but I certainly noticed a lessening of daily stress.

9ffe43c6c5990ed710c7c49b12d6ee7f

on December 16, 2011
at 02:33 AM

I was also thinking dehydration, but then the rise in bf% on my scale changed my mind (plus I'd been drinking water by the liter). Generally fat and water get shown as the same on it, so I always have lower bf%s in the morning when dehydrated.

0
E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on December 15, 2011
at 03:46 PM

People get fat from dietary fat, if your diet was very low in fat its pretty obvious why you lost weight.

9ffe43c6c5990ed710c7c49b12d6ee7f

on December 16, 2011
at 02:34 AM

I believe I've found my accepted answer.

0
Cf4576cbcc44fc7f2294135609bce9e5

on December 15, 2011
at 03:32 PM

the human body has what is called a third space water supply. i could be in a foreign land you drank less water than normal and are dehydrated but compensated.

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