A “Graphic” Look at the Holiday Season

The holiday season is over, and for any health-conscience person, that brings a small (or large) sigh of relief. I do say that with a couple caveats: first, Valentine’s day is next month, but Chad and I have never really celebrated that holiday. Second, we do have another significant change coming up in our daily lives…we will be spending a week in Walt Disney World! [This will no doubt effect what we eat and drink and also how much exercise and activity we get–I’m sure there will be stories to share!]

Chad had his first true post-holiday weigh in today, and was down 9 pounds! Now, if this was any other week, the dietitian-wife would be quite concerned, but knowing my client as I do, there are a few reasons I am not worried.

  1. Our normal diet is quite healthy and we eat little of the processed foods that are known for their incredibly high salt content. (And yes, restaurant foods, even if not highly processed, are high in sugar and salt.)
  2. As we have mentioned in previous posts, we had decided to not skip the culture of food that accompanies the holidays, and enjoy the seasonal treats.
  3. We have had a varied exercise routine lately, though Chad has done a great job of keeping as active as possible by snowshoeing, working out in hotel gyms, even dancing! However, it hasn’t been quite enough to keep up his previous rate of loss.
  4. Now that we have had a bit more normalcy in our lives, Chad has done a great job sliding back into his pre-holiday eating and exercising habits.

So, yes, we are past the roughest spot of the year, but what about the loss of 9# in one week? As you may have read, Chad is able to lose several pounds in a week when he really focuses, and would lose 3-4 pounds per week early in 40 by 40, which was above his goal of 1-2 pounds/week. With his dedication to getting back on track, I am not surprised he had a big week of loss. Also, though it is “fuzzy” science, I do know that some of his loss was due to the extra salt and fluid being flushed out of his body. As a small experiment with a super-tiny data set, we weighed him not only the Wednesday after Christmas, but also the next day. He had lost one pound in a day! This pound, as well as the 9 pounds lost this week, cannot be attributed to the strict rule of “calories in/calories out,” as he would have needed to have deficits of 3500 calories in 24 hours, and 31500 calories over the past week, respectively. His exercise and food records bear out that this was definitely not the case.Screenshot_after holidays

After resuming his regular diet and exercise habits, and a bit of a “drying out” period, you can see he was able this week to achieve his lowest weight of 40 by 40, 330.8#. [Please note: The process of getting rid of extra water weight is NOT a diet plan. Tampering with your salt and fluid balance and/or retention can lead to cardiac difficulty. Some are predisposed to this condition, which is why Americans in general should eat less sodium than is in the current American diet.]

Finally, looking at the graph, you can see how holidays can wreak havoc on your weight! This is something we were expecting, given all the special occasions and traveling we had done, but seeing it really drives the point home. It is because the contrast is so stark, it makes us all the more determined to “take the straight and narrow path” (Name that Disney movie song lyric!) whenever possible.

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