After my first gruelling week of dieting, I had my first weigh in today. I lost 7lbs!! Needless to say I’m over the moon! Although my husband, who has joined me on my crusade, and who has only been doing it for 6 days has lost 12lbs!! I’m sure you can imagine how unimpressed with that I am; especially as he has the most sedentary job possible and I never sit down! It’s always the same when we go on a diet together. He only seems to need to think about losing weight and it falls off him, while I have to slog at it. So bloody unfair!
Anyway, this morning after jumping off the scales, I proudly messaged a friend so she could share in my joy, and her response was, “Well done, but you probably just lost water.” Nothing quite like that to dampen my mood. Mind you, I have heard this said umpteen times before, but never really taken the time to look into this commonly banded about fact. So today I thought I would investigate.
Now I’m no expert, but below are some of the reasons which I have gleaned as to why we might primarily lose water when we first go on a diet.
Apparently our bodies store carbohydrate in the muscles and liver in the form of glycogen. This is our primary source of energy and is readily accessible when we need it. Due to its chemical composition, for every gram of glycogen stored, another 3g of water is also retained. When we restrict our calorie input and reduce our intake of carbohydrate, our bodies utilises their glycogen stores. For every gram of glycogen used, 3 grams of water are also released. This can lead to rapid initial weight loss which can be very encouraging for us newbie dieters.
However, our bodies only have limited supplies of glycogen as most of our energy is stored as fat. The burning of fat does not result in same level of water being released, so weight loss can appear to slow down as we progress with our diets.
When we embark on a diet, we often reduce our sodium intake, which is found in many processed foods. Excess sodium can accumulate in our blood and cause increased water retention. Consequently, when we reduce our sodium intake, water is excreted by the body. Mark Sisson from www.marksdailyapple.com explains that a person eating the wrong kind of diet can retain between 10-20lbs of water both within the cells and the spaces between the cells, depending on the size of the person. That’s a lot of water weight to potentially lose!
So it looks as though my friend could be right: Although I have lost 7lbs this week, probably only a fraction of that is anything other than water!
But I’m determined to look on that positively. Although I may have primarily only lost water weight, that’s still surplus weight that I no longer have to carry around with me. Although all that weight may not be fat, I won’t feel as bloated or uncomfortable as I have been.
It also means that if I have depleted most of my body’s glycogen stores, that I can now start burning fat. I just have to be patient and remember that this won’t be an overnight fix. Being patient is not something that comes naturally to me though, but I will try!
Till next time,