• Emily

How Much Weight Can You Actually Gain in a Day?

Whether it's a Thanksgiving feast, an indulgent Saturday afternoon, or a cruise ship buffet we've all experienced what it's like to be way too full.


And although it feels like you've gained 10 pounds in one sitting, rest assured, you didn't.


I wanted to explore the science and facts about short term weight gain, so I did some research and here is what I found.


I hope you find it as interesting as I did!


To gain one pound of fat you have to consume 3,500 calories more than you usually eat (not adjusting for any physical activity).


Here is an example:


In addition to a 2,000 calorie day, you would have to eat:


A double hamburger (500)

Three beers (450)

Large French fries (550)

A plate of deluxe nachos (1,030)

Large Onion Rings (480)

A king-size candy bar (500)


Is it just me, or does that list of food make you feel a little sick too? But the point is that a 5,500 calorie day would be a lot of food - even junk food!


**It's also important to remember that eating a pound of food (i.e., a pound of deli turkey) will not translate directly to a pound of weight gained. Once digested, this likely will have no long term effects on your weight.**


But my intention is not to advocate for overeating. My point is that it takes time to gain a pound even if your scale fluctuates from one day to the next.


There are a number of reasons for weight fluctuation (which I will go into during a later blog) but some of the key reasons are hydration, digestion, and salt retention. But a higher number on the scale one morning doesn't mean that you gained a pound, or three, in the last 24 hours.


One of the dangers of misinformation regarding weight gain is that individuals "give up" on trying to stay on course with a balanced diet and exercise routine.


Once they start with that double hamburger they assume they're already going to be disappointed with what the scale says tomorrow. So, instead of minimizing the damage by reducing calorie intake the rest of the day, they use it as permission to go off the rails.


But if they knew just how much it took to gain a pound overnight they would realize that just the burger is hardly something to panic about.


Avoiding long term weight gain is about consistency. It can't be ruined by one day or even one week of bad eating. However, when we enter the realm of negativity and don't believe that we can succeed in our health journey, the likelihood of returning to good habits decreases dramatically.


So even if you do eat too much, stay positive. Forgive yourself for being human, and make a plan to get back on track. And yes, you can get back on track - despite what you think the scale is telling you.


If you find yourself struggling with consistency or self-defeating thoughts when it comes to weight, you do not have to "just live with it". There are proven methods for establishing weight loss goals and sticking to them.


Contact me today for a free coaching consultation and you can learn all about it!










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