Friday, November 18, 2011

The trickery of water weight and the hard second month of weight loss

So yesterday I weighed myself and was pleasantly surprised.

I had lost 15 pounds. In just 25 days!


Flattering, but it's impossible I lost 15 pounds of fat. By my own calculations I should have lost between 5 to 8 pounds (of fat). NO WAY did I blow through 2100 calories per day for 25 days. I would have had to have been fasting on an orbital machine to lose that much fat so fast.

That sill leaves an extra 7 pounds unaccounted for -- this is where we enter the murky world of water weight and the false sense that SUPERFAST weight loss is something that can be maintained over a long period of time.

Here's an interesting article on the subject.

During the first few weeks of weight loss due to dieting, a rapid drop in pounds is normal according to the Mayo Clinic. When you reduce your caloric intake, your body gets its needed energy by releasing and utilizing its stores of glycogen, which is a type of carbohydrate found in the muscles and the liver. Glycogen holds onto water, so when glycogen is used and burned up for energy, it also releases the water it holds onto. This is about 4 grams for every gram of glycogen. This results in the initial "water weight" loss that accompanies early weight loss from dieting and calorie restriction.'s what I'm afraid of. I've been here before. I've lost weight super-fast in the first month, then hit a brick wall and got discouraged at how slowly or not-at-all I was losing weight compared to my first month...then I went back to eating fried butter smothered in maple syrup with a side of beer sauce. The end.

So if you're out there and you're reading this, I want YOU to know and I especially want ME to know...that sustaining such a rapid pace of weight loss is just NOT going to happen unless you're into some really unhealthy eating disorder mojo.

There's a LOT of weight in water: 8.3 pounds in a gallon. Even if you're losing a cup of water per day due to water weight, you'll drop 8.3 pounds in just 16 days. 8.3 pounds of pure water.

It's a good sign. Don't get me wrong. It means we're on the right track and doing the right things. But we simply can't sustain that rate of weight loss.

So, you aware of it, be ready for it, and be ready for the next month to be much more slow going. I'm trying to psych myself up to be prepared for it, too.


  1. Water weight is tricky but and can be decieving, but don't let that stop ya! Like you said, it means you're on the right track. Don't budge from your healthy diet for one second. You just keep on keepin on!


  2. I think if I and others are aware of it, we can mentally prepare for the second month to be harder. And that should at least make the discouragement a little bit less.