Wednesday, November 07, 2018

The Whoosh Effect

I have been lamenting about my weight lately.  I am either NOT losing or I am in this vicious cycle on the scales that is just frustrating.  When it happens it makes me throw up my hands in the air and say "why"?   Why in the world indeed.

Let me recap what the 'vicious cycle' that seems to be perpetuating over and over on the scales.  I will be super active on the weekend and will be feeling confident about my next weigh in.  But on Monday, my weight either stays the same or pops up on the scales. All week long I keep myself in check but the scales are NOT friendly.   And then the weekend arrives and boom....my weight drops.  It has made no sense....Friday nights are usually cheat nights (pizza and wings delivered to our door so our Friday tired-selves can do nothing other than answer the door) but my weight drops.  Isn't it crazy?  

I've tried to combat the cycle.  I've pondered.  I've thought.  I've lamented.  

And then....bright and early one morning a few days ago I was reading blogs and I came across a blog post on 3purplethings that had a link to an article and it ALL MADE SENSE!   

What is this magical answer?  It's called the Whoosh Effect

Seriously, I recommend reading the complete article.  However, I know that there are time limitations, so I will recap.    Basically the article starts with the scientific stuff about what happens when we burn fat.....the area that the fat used to be is replaced with water.....and thus you are not showing a loss on the scales when you actually burn the fat because there is water that has filled that void  (I actually knew that after a good workout there is a bit of a water retention issue.)  The weight will eventually drop...when the water is expelled from our bodies.     Furthermore the article clearly says that when you are seeing the weight drop, it is most likely from something that you did a few days/week early because of that water retention thing.  (Ok, this makes sense too...because how many times have I seen a weight loss when I didn't deserve it...but see no weight loss when I really do deserve it?)    Yeah, the article was totally making sense  (Have you gone to read it yet?)   Up until this point, the article was amazing.  But then it actually got better!   The article quoted a study that was completed during WWII...a semi-starvaation diet known as The Minnesota Starvation experiment.   They basically set up a program in which these people were doing hard labor but not eating a whole lot...and should be losing drastic amounts of weight.  After a while, they noticed that the participants would have fluctuating weight all week long..even though they were working hard and eating little. BUT...each week when they gave them a 'cheat meal' (AKA known as a higher caloric meal) that night they noticed these  men went to the bathroom to pee a lot more AND the next day their weight dropped.   Whoosh, the weight was gone.  Somehow for some people that cheat meal triggers that whoosh.   

Can we avoid the whoosh effect?  Nope.  It's just how our bodies work.  However, it is very important to understand that this can be a perfectly normal phenomenon.    Why is it important to know?   Because now that I know and understand that what is happening is perfectly normal, I can stop obsessing about what seems to happen regularly.

10 comments:

Sarah said...

Great recap of the article! That's the way it made me feel too. And now, because of my obsessive tracking of everything, when I have a gain I can look back a few days or even a week and see what I did. And also not feel bad because I know in a few days my body will catch up and I'll show a loss!

I'm so glad it helped put you at ease. I know you've been struggling lately. (((Hugs)))

Rachel Smith said...

That's a good reminder that weight loss isn't such a simple equation. If we stick to our plan, it WILL eventually whoosh away.

MaryFran said...

Thank you!!!

MaryFran said...

Definitely!!! And I needed the reminder for sure!!!

Angel said...

Good explanation and not a way fro us to drive ourselves crazy anymore

jen said...


I need that "whoosh"
I have read that article before a while back, great explanation that I had forgotten about!

mxtodis123 said...

I went for an entire year with the playing around with the same .2. It was -.2. +.2, stay the same,+.2, -.2. stay the same, -.2 and so on. It does get very frustrating. But, the plateau does end one day.

MaryFran said...

I know...it made total sense!!!

MaryFran said...

That’s what I keep telling myself!!

TheAgonyOfBeingFat said...

Yep! I've experienced the whoosh effect first hand so I totally believe it. It also seems to work for gaining weight on my body. If I have a terrible day of bad eating, it shows up on the scale 2-3 days later. Which really sucks when you've been eating well to make up for that bad day and the number on the scale thanks you by going up.