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Food/Nutrition Columnist Author: Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, CDN, RD, Food & Nutrition Columnist - Last Updated: Sep 7, 2017 - 10:06:33 PM

You Gained 4 Pounds Since Yesterday? I Doubt It!

By Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, CDN, RD, Food & Nutrition Columnist -
May 7, 2017 - 8:13:38 AM

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( - Any day when you are eating goes out of control will cause you some immediate regret, but lasting weight gain? Unlikely. Everybody has a day when they eat too much. When it comes to food, every now and then, a little insanity is normal.

Most people believe they’ve gained pounds from this misadventure. The truth is they haven’t. They may be up a few ounces but with sensible eating and a little exercise those few ounces will come off in the next couple of days.

Not convinced? When you get on your scale the day after eating too much, you see a weight gain of 2 to 4 pounds. I’m suggesting ounces. You see pounds.

Theoretically, you need to eat 3,500 extra calories to gain a pound. But, 3,500 extra calories is a lot even on your best overeating day. And, many of those calories will be used to keep you alive and moving. Occasional overeating is not nearly as devastating as you think.

The calories you eat don’t automatically go to your hips and belly. Most of the calories you eat are used to keep your body functioning, others are exhaled as carbon dioxide or lost through body fluids such as urine, stools, sweat and tears. If you overeat repeatedly, some of those extra calories will be stored as fat to be used in the future. If this storage goes unused, over time it can add up to extra pounds. But overeating one meal or even one day will not make you chubby, just don’t make it habit.

So where does the morning-after weight gain came from? Often the foods you overindulge in are high in carbohydrates (pasta), sugars (dessert) and sodium (most food eaten away from home). All of these tend to make you retain water. Your quick weight gain is mostly fluid retention, which will disappear in a couple of days.

Here are the calorie counts of some tempting common splurges:

· 1 plate of cheese fries with dressing = 3010 calories

· ½ gallon rich chocolate ice cream = 2296 calories

· 12 pieces of rich assorted chocolates = 1320 calories

· 1 pound porterhouse steak = 1284 calories

· 2 frozen daiquiris = 786 calories

· 1 slice of carrot cake with cream cheese frosting = 484 calories.

None of these add up to the 3,500 calories needed to gain one pound.

Don’t turn a little detour into a catastrophe. If you have an out-of-control eating day just say “oops” and get right back on track eating commonsense portions and being active. When you are painting yourself into the picture of a slimmer, healthier person, occasionally you’ll find yourself coloring outside the lines. Don’t punish yourself for mistakes. Fasting, drastically cutting calories, vowing never to eat another piece of cake, or adding an uncomfortable amount of exercise sets the stage for failure.

Forget willpower, try these strategies.

· Eat the right foods most of the time.

· Be active on most days.

· If you drink do it in moderation.

· Appreciate that habits are hard to change but not impossible, give yourself some time.

· Set your own health and weight loss goals; don’t let someone set them for you.

· Think about what, how and why you eat.

· Examine the links between what you eat, your emotions, and situations to find triggers that cause you to overeat.

· Watch the clock. Eating too often or going for long stretches without food are equally poor habits. Most people need the structure of regular meals and snacks rather than spontaneous nibbling.

Self-esteem is calorie free – have all you want.

© NRH Nutrition Consultants, Inc.
Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD, CDN is a registered dietitian and the author of 30 books. Available as eBooks from iTunes and Kindle/Amazon:

Diabetes Counter

Calorie Counter

Protein Counter

Healthy Wholefoods Counter

Complete Food Counter

Fat and Cholesterol Counter

Available in print from Gallery Books:

Most Complete Food Counter, 3rd Ed.

Your Complete Food Counter App:

For more information on Jo-Ann and her books, go to:


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