You can usually tell when I have strayed from the path of nutritional righteousness because I don't twitter what I am eating. This is invariably a combination of being too drunk to remember / be capable of taking a photograph - and in any case too ashamed to post it.
A couple of weeks back I went out on a celebration that was always doomed to result in excess. The day after excessive drinking, for me, usually engenders comfort eating, so it's often a 48 hour deal. Day 1 - too much alcohol and bad food while I'm drunk. Day 2 - comfort food to mitigate the hangover.
I have highlighted those days in red in the food/exercise chart at the bottom. On the graph they are blank because I didn't weigh myself for pretty much the same reason my Twittering stops.
I wanted to post this as an illustration of how weight can fluctuate wildly without any significant change to body composition. If you look at my own chart for the last few years, you can see it is littered with spikes in weight that quickly decline.
In this case, it took 48 hours to gain 7 pounds, then 10 days to lose them. To gain a pound of fat it takes about 3500 calories. Did I over consume by about 25,000 calories in 48 hours? Clearly not. Nor did I manage to under consume by 2,500 calories per day in the days that followed.
I suspect a big chunk of the extra weight was water retention from increased sodium intake. Another big chunk would be sheer volume of food in my intestines. The 3-day conveyor belt of end-to-end digestion simply had more stacked on it thanks to my celebratory gluttony. And yes, maybe I did manage to eat and drink 3,500 - 5,000 extra calories, a lot of which would have been stored as fat.
As I've mentioned before, it's this transition from poor food to good food that is often responsible for the initial weight loss people report at the start of some kind of diet. This is quickly followed by disillusionment when the pace of change does not continue.
You can probably tell from the chart that I was pretty rigorous about my recovery effort, so for others this might have taken longer.
My advice would to avoid these binges - but if you are unable to, these 3 things can help speed the return to normal over a couple of weeks.
1. Regular fasts
2. Strictly Paleo/Primal
3. Regular short, intense workouts
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