Gaining a couple of pounds over a weekend is a common occurrence, but registered dietitian and nutritionist Taylor Grasso emphasizes the need for skepticism when you see a sudden change on the scale. Grasso explains that gaining one pound of fat requires consuming 3,500 calories above your maintenance calories. The likelihood of consuming that many calories over a weekend is slim, meaning the increase in weight is likely not due to fat gain.
Instead, Grasso identifies the four primary causes of weekend weight gain, which usually involve temporary fluctuations in weight:
- Increased sodium intake: Consuming foods with higher sodium content can lead to water retention, causing temporary weight gain. This doesn’t necessarily mean fat gain, but rather an increase in bodily fluids.
- Higher carbohydrate consumption: Weekend indulgences in carbohydrates can also result in water retention due to glycogen storage, which binds to water molecules, causing a temporary scale increase. Grasso assures that carbohydrates themselves don’t lead to weight gain.
- More alcohol consumption: Alcohol can lead to dehydration, prompting the body to retain water. This can result in feelings of bloating and inflammation, leading to a short-term rise on the scale.
- Natural bodily functions: Weight fluctuations can be influenced by natural bodily processes. For example, women may experience weight gain during menstruation, and reduced bathroom frequency can also cause temporary weight gain in both men and women.
Grasso suggests not putting too much emphasis on the number on the scale. Instead, she advises focusing on nourishing your body with a balanced diet, emphasizing protein and vegetables, and staying hydrated. It’s important to remember that weight doesn’t determine your worth, and small fluctuations shouldn’t trigger reactive dieting or negative body image. Prioritizing overall well-being and maintaining your regular routine is key.