The Reason Most Diets Fail

A Story About Water Retention

January 8, 2020


3 min read

A Story Based on True Events

Imagine you’ve been working hard at your new diet and you’ve made great progress. You’re down 5 lbs in 5 weeks. You decide you deserve a day off your diet, so you have a few beers with a burger and fries. You go to bed satisfied and ready to get back to your diet tomorrow.

The next morning comes, and you step on the scale. You’ve gained 5 lbs. WHAT?! From one cheat meal, you’re back to your starting weight. You feel defeated. If you can undo 5 weeks of hard work in one meal, what’s the point?

This actually does happen, and I think it’s the number one reason most people don’t diet successfully. There’s good news: The weight you put on is not fat, it’s water.

Water Weight

When you overeat, your body stores up extra water along with the extra food. Water is heavy. I’ve personally experienced weight fluctuations of up to 8 lbs after a weekend of eating and drinking whatever I want. The water weight disappears after a few days of eating properly again. You didn’t undo all that hard work!

Can you imagine being the person in the story? How discouraging would it be to work so hard to lose weight but to be able to gain it back in a moment? I have a feeling that is the number one reason most people aren’t successful with their diets. They think they’ve put all their fat back on in a split second, so they give up and go back to their old way of eating. If only they were aware that it’s just water that will go away after a few days. If more people knew about this, I think we’d see a lot more successful dieters. So spread the word!

A Happy Ending

Continuing our tale from above, you decide to stick to your diet again for a few days and you notice something amazing: the next day you weigh yourself and you’re 2 lbs lighter! You are a little more encouraged and sure enough, after 2 more days you’ve completely flushed out all that water weight and you’re back to your pre-cheat meal weight. You’re actually a little lighter than before!

You realize this is doable after all, and resolve to keep at it until you’ve reached your goal weight. You live happily ever after.

The End

This is also a true story that does happen. Once you put on water weight, your body gets rid of it quickly, shedding up to 8 lbs in 2 or 3 days in my experience.

Bottom line: don’t get discouraged after cheat meals or vacations. It’s just water weight! Your body will flush it out rather quickly and you’ll be back in action in no time.