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The Elimination Weight Loss Diet - Why Weigh Yourself Only Once A Week? (Chapter 6)

Updated on October 30, 2012
The Elimination Weight Loss Diet - Chapter 6
The Elimination Weight Loss Diet - Chapter 6

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Chapter 6 – Why Weigh Yourself Only Once a Week?

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When I first began dieting, more than 60 years ago, I would weigh myself every day to check on my progress. Typically after one day of dieting, I would observe several pounds lost, and the second and third days I would actually show weight gains instead of losses. Needless to say, this was very discouraging.

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I didn’t understand then that true weight loss is a slow process, but water loss can occur very rapidly. This is the reason why many diets can claim dramatic weight loss during the first week of dieting. They simply shift your body’s water retention balance and you lose a lot of water with no real reduction in fat. Remember that it requires the elimination of 3500 calories for your body to lose one pound of fat.

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When my brother played football in high school, it was not uncommon for him to lose 8-10 pounds during the first day of practice in the summer. All of the players would sweat profusely during practice and since they had little opportunity to re-hydrate, it would show up as weight loss. Most of the weight came back overnight when the players had a chance to drink a lot of fluids.

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Over a period of time, their bodies adjusted to this constant weight loss and weight gain and the daily variations became smaller, but they never went away completely. Weighing yourself once a week on the same day dressed the same way minimizes the variation due to water loss and retention.

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Another recommendation that I make is that you wait for three weeks before you make a decision as to whether or not your diet is working. When you are only looking for one pound per week weight loss and variation due to water retention can easily cause up to a 4-5 pound variation, you need to be certain what you are looking at before you make any decisions. If you wait for three weeks before acting, it is more likely that random water retention variation will even out and you will tend to make better decisions.

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Before continuing, let me remind you of what kind of things affect water retention so that you can avoid them or at least understand how they affect you.

1. Things which increase water retention:

a. Foods with high salt content – pretzels, potato chips, French-fries, many processed foods, etc.

b. Drinking alcohol – as little as one or two drinks have a large effect

c. Birth control pills and oral contraceptives

d. Steroid medicines, some blood pressure medications and some antidepressants

e. Hot and humid weather – surprisingly, this causes your body to retain water, however if you work up a sweat you can eliminate some of this

f. Low protein levels in the blood – that’s why eliminating protein from you diet can actually cause you to gain weight.

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2. Things which decrease water retention

a. Foods with little salt content

b. Diuretics Strenuous exercise which results in sweating

c. Eating less food in general - besides the obvious that less food weighs less, you will automatically eat less salt too.

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  In summary, let me repeat that you should resist the temptation to weigh yourself more than once a week and never, ever weigh yourself the next morning after an evening of eating and drinking.

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In Chapter 7, I will explain how charting your weight loss over time can help you to see trends, which are not apparent, when you simply look at tabulated data.

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      Nancy's Niche 

      6 years ago

      Excellent article especially your comment of, "Weighing yourself once a week on the same day dressed the same way minimizes the variation due to water loss and retention." I will try this recommendation. I now weigh every day and the "lose --- gain struggle” drives me crazy. Thanks for sharing this info!

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