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Thoughts on periodic rapid weight gain/weight loss

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 30, 2012 at 10:30 PM

I've been eating primarily paleo since last sept, sometimes more on the Mark Sisson end of the spectrum, sometimes more whole30-esque. I've lost about 40 lbs of fat, which was much needed. I no longer eat this way primarily for the weight loss, but it is a definite perk and I think contributes to my overall well-being.

A few times I have fallen off the wagon (typically on vacation) for a week or two -- I start out with a beer, then figure hey I've already had gluten, why not have a brownie?, then I think hey I'm in Key West I should have Key lime pie for gods sake, and then things spiral gradually out of control. I'm bad about working out on vacation too (I do crossfit 2x week at home), so that doesn't help. When this happens, I inevitably gain 5-8 lbs. I then snap out of it, clean up my diet, go back to the gym, and lose the 5-8 lbs in a week or two, an then continue on my overall downward trend of weight loss.

So my question: is this "bad" in some way? Is it yo-yo dieting thats f-ing up my metabolism? Or just some fluid fluctuation related to carbs? Is this a pattern I should try to break? I'm currently "recovering" from a Cape Cod vacation (hello fried seafood and salt water taffy and gelato!) and I found myself thinking "sure I'll gain a few pounds but I can drop it easily" making it that much easier to rationalize a nice glass of rum punch with dinner.

Thoughts, experience, suggestions appreciated!

*edited to fix iphone-related typos and unhelpful autocorrects

D7ec5ab98a0b971f9e24b4e654abfa7d

on August 01, 2012
at 01:40 AM

Although I find the idea of "calories in the body" very amusing -- Like they are little critters running amok! -- this answer makes no sense, is irrelevant to the question, and your username is a bit suspect...

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 31, 2012
at 12:36 PM

look it up, you will see that I am correct.

D7ec5ab98a0b971f9e24b4e654abfa7d

on July 31, 2012
at 01:54 AM

no my only acute reaction to certain foods is feeling kinda gross and bloaty for a short time. thanks for the reply!

D7ec5ab98a0b971f9e24b4e654abfa7d

on July 31, 2012
at 01:53 AM

Interesting! I had a vague idea that lower-carb = less fluid on board, but didn't realize it was related to glycogen... will research, thank you!

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5 Answers

1
E0f5cc680bb8ae31c07abeb706d70a15

(370)

on July 31, 2012
at 04:00 PM

I'm personally of the opinion that vacations and holidays are the times when you SHOULD indulge a bit. Those are times that are meant to be spent with family and friends enjoying yourself and having a good time, and food is one of the things that contributes to that happiness. Now to be clear, there is a world of difference between letting yourself have a slice of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving and spending a week-long vacation doing nothing but stuffing your face.

Recently, while on a family vacation in Florida, I fell victim to this mindset (ate about 20 chicken wings while out to dinner with the family one night, 2 hotdogs/hamburger/potato salad at family BBQ the next night, among many other things) and actually ended up in the ER at 2am from a gull bladder attack.

Point being, I think your day-to-day life is when it's important to stay the course eating-wise and special occassions like vacations and holidays are when you should indulge a bit, as long as you do it in moderation. Don't make the same mistake I did, nurses tend to laugh at you when they ask the reason for your ER visit and you respond "Hot wings. So many hot wings."

1
C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 30, 2012
at 11:00 PM

Most likely the sudden weight gain and subsequent weight loss is related to you being in a carb depleted state. When you have a sudden excess of carbs, your body stores them as glycogen, which must also store excess water to stabilize it. The body can store 400-500g of glycogen, and about 3-4 times that much in water tied to the glycogen. I would try to avoid falling off the wagon as far, but overall it isn't really going to hurt you a lot in the long run. Good Luck!

D7ec5ab98a0b971f9e24b4e654abfa7d

on July 31, 2012
at 01:53 AM

Interesting! I had a vague idea that lower-carb = less fluid on board, but didn't realize it was related to glycogen... will research, thank you!

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 31, 2012
at 12:36 PM

look it up, you will see that I am correct.

1
363d0a0277a8b61ada3a24ab3ad85d5a

(4642)

on July 30, 2012
at 10:38 PM

I fall victim to the "gateway" foods and fall down the slippery slope. I try not to, but it is hard to have something and then not try to justify another indulgence for me. So I try to avoid it. One thing I do allow myself, is to indulge on Thanksgiving and Christmas. I just let myself have whatever I want on those days, and then think nothing of it afterwards. A long vacation is a little harder, I tend to IF on vacations, it helps make more time for everything else, and it ultimately limits the damage. I would say if this was a regular occurrence, then you should probably avoid the slippery slope, but if it is for 2-3 vacation weeks spread through the year, it probably isn't doing much damage, unless you have some sort of autoimmune issue or reactions to certain foods.

D7ec5ab98a0b971f9e24b4e654abfa7d

on July 31, 2012
at 01:54 AM

no my only acute reaction to certain foods is feeling kinda gross and bloaty for a short time. thanks for the reply!

0
378af6ece25ad31de87a51fac67e4747

on January 12, 2013
at 09:39 PM

I'm so thankful you posted this question, as I lost 8 lbs doing two back-to-back Whole30s, then went on vacation and ate anything and everything I wanted and was unable to workout. So I gained 7 lbs in two weeks. I started a third W30 11 days ago and have not yet lost the weight. I was beginning to wonder if Paleo won't work for me anymore. But the glycogen explanation makes sense. So I'll stay the course resuming my exercise program as well as eating 100% clean and never go that far off the wagon again.

-2
Aa42ec1be146496f1bf8cd61da8e4b65

on July 31, 2012
at 12:01 PM

many people have a wrong belief that fasting helps in reducing weight, but it actually depletes the essential vitamins and minerals present in the body. Physical exercise helps in reducing the amount of calories present in the body. It is necessary to work out as hard as possible depending upon the amount of excessive calories present in the body.Drink as much water as possible, as it helps in diluting the concentration of excessive chemical substance present in the body.

D7ec5ab98a0b971f9e24b4e654abfa7d

on August 01, 2012
at 01:40 AM

Although I find the idea of "calories in the body" very amusing -- Like they are little critters running amok! -- this answer makes no sense, is irrelevant to the question, and your username is a bit suspect...

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