Lose four pounds in a week! It is possible.
Relevant magazines and mysterious diet gurus don’t even have to lie, and still raise false hopes.
They take advantage of the (for most) non-existent distinction between weight loss and fat loss.
A number of things can change the weight without the person losing a gram of fat. The reasons for this are explained in detail below.
Water balance – 1-2 kg fluctuations possible
The amount of water in the body has a considerable influence on the total weight. Around 70% of the body consists of water.
Small fluctuations can therefore have a major impact on weight. Martial artists, strength athletes, and many other athletes who are concerned with weight classes make use of this: Through targeted manipulation of the water balance, they achieve a low weight when weighing in without actually having lost fat or muscles. The water content of the body has a massive influence on weight.
1) Water balance: carbohydrates
First of all, there are carbohydrates. These are processed in the muscles and the liver as glycogen.
Also, every gram of glycogen binds approximately 2.7 grams of water. On average, a person has about 300-400g of stored glycogen. For a well-trained endurance athlete or for bodybuilders with a lot of muscle mass, it can also be 600g.
Weight fluctuations of several kilos due to glycogen deposits are not uncommon. This also explains why low-carb diets, especially in combination with appropriate training, lead to massive weight loss in the first few days. 1 This is not about fat, but water. As a result of the diet, the liver glycogen stores are first emptied. The glycogen stored in the muscles can only be used locally and is not used to maintain blood glucose levels.
2) Water balance: salt
Fluctuations in salt intake can also cause changes in the water balance.
It is not for nothing that bodybuilders cut salt from their diet in the last few days before a competition in order to get “dry”. Experience has shown that it is less the absolute salt content than short-term changes in salt intake that is decisive.
If you normally eat a very low-salt diet and then eat a day full of pizza, fast food, and other sources of salt, you can expect a change in weight the following day. This change has nothing to do with fat gain.
3) Water balance: stress hormones due to a Kcal deficit
Paradoxically, some of them hardly change their weight after starting a diet, or they hit seemingly insurmountable plateaus after the first progress. Instead of being convinced of the pointlessness of the diet, it would be worthwhile to look for the causes.
A diet (especially with a high kcal deficit) is a burden on the body which can lead to the release of stress hormones, including cortisol. Cortisol is known for its water-retaining properties. Any form of physical or psychological stress has the potential to affect the stress hormones. As a result, even neurotically inclined personalities can be prone to greater water retention.
So it can happen that although fat is lost, this is masked by an increase in water weight. The pointer on the scale does not move even though the fat has been removed. Refeeds or diet breaks can help. The body relaxes and normalizes its hormonal environment through the conscious intake of carbohydrates and enough calories. One to three kilos of weight loss “overnight” is not uncommon. The body excretes the superfluous water retention.