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Sudden Fat Gain or Water Retention? How to get rid of it?

Posted on December 09 2017

Sudden Fat Gain or Water Retention? How to get rid of it?

You are a month into your diet staying perfectly on track and begin to see great results. You finally see the ab definition coming through, the muscle separation in your legs, the indents and cuts in your arms, and you begin to see firsthand how all the hard work is finally beginning to pay off. You feel more motivated to upload pictures to your social media and share the results you achieved to your followers. 


Lately, no matter how consistent you’ve been on your diet, you have been craving a bag of potato chips, or a whole pint of creamy delicious cookie dough ice cream to yourself one night. The days go on with the diet and in one moment it finally hits you...  you decide you are going to drive to the nearest store and buy yourself some goodies to indulge in.


So you do it… you begin to devour an entire bag of chips, a pint of ice cream, and even order a pizza to arrive while you are finishing up the other snacks (because who doesn’t like pizza??). After eating everything, you feel great because you finally were able to fulfill your cravings and eat the things that you once couldn’t while on your diet. You then head off to sleep and say you’ll start back up tomorrow and continue your fat loss journey. 


The next morning, you wake up and see yourself in the mirror and my god… are you in shock! The abs you began to see coming through are completely gone, the cuts and muscle separation you once had has been washed away, leaving you with a soft look. You begin to panic and regret the mini cheat you decided to have the night before. You step on the scale and see that you have gained 8 lbs within a day. Seeing your efforts go down the drain has discouraged you to continue your diet because you feel that you will be starting back on ground zero. 


So what exactly happened? Did you gain fat? Or are you just really bloated? Let’s take a closer look. 


For the record, unless you are putting yourself in a 3,500+ calorie SURPLUS in a single day, you wouldn’t gain a single lb of fat or more in a day of eating. The truth is, majority of people do not even reach this surplus. People forget that everyone has a resting metabolic rate and even when you aren’t doing anything, you burn up to 500+ calories a day depending on your bodyweight. The more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn at rest. Most people get fat from a compounded surplus over an extended period of time. They put themselves at a 400-500 calorie surplus every day, and by the time the week ends they are at a 3,500 calorie surplus which would be the cause of gaining 1 lb of fat. 


Knowing all this info, the scenario stated above regarding the cheat meal, would be a case of heavy bloating/water retention. Any weight increase of 5 or more lbs in a single night just screams water weight, and should provide some sense of mental relief when you see the number on the scale. This heavy weight increase is caused mostly due to the high sodium intake along with a copious amount of carbohydrates, which cause excess water to be retained within the body and spill over into the subcutaneous layer. It is important to know this information because many dieters tend to get discouraged and quit after they see one cheat meal blow their physique, when all they need to do is double/triple their standard water intake to flush out the excess sodium & water retained in their body. 


So next time you have a cheat meal and gain a ton of weight in a single night, don’t be shocked. Remain calm, understand that it’s simply water retention, and start chugging that water! After about 1-3 days you’ll notice the bloat going away and will return right back to your regular physique! 


(Author, @chris_giraldo)

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