I received this question below from a Nutrition program client. I get questions or concerns like this frequently so I asked if I could copy and paste our email correspondence so that everyone could benefit.
Hi Dr. Alli,
I hope you are well. This past week was not too bad. My weight remained steady throughout the week, I hit my macros +/- 10g every day, then Friday night happened. I had some guests over for dinner and watch the Blue Jay game afterward. I kept within my macros for a while but a few glasses of wine and beer later, throw in some unhealthy snacks and voila, the next morning my weight went up to 150 lbs. Saturday went pretty much the same way only this time we went to my niece's house to watch the game and eat. A repeat of Friday night. This morning I stepped on the scale and to my horror it read 154.4 lbs. Is it possible that my weight can go up that quickly by slightly overindulging, consuming 4 glasses of wine and 2 bottles of beer and some peanuts and popcorn? My other measurements seem to be unchanged. Can it be that this is lean mass? I'm hoping this is the case. I ran 5.5k today to shake off the guilt. Lol. Attached please find my pics for the week. Thank you.
Your bodyweight fluctuates everyday. Seeing a fluctuation from morning to night, or from day to day is normal. We are looking for a specific trend over time (whether your goal is to gain or to lose). Think of it this way: weigh yourself without anything in your hand, and now weigh yourself holding a 1.5L bottle of water. The number of the scale went up, right. But obviously, you have not accumulated fat simply by drinking water.
To gain ONE pound of fat, you need to consume 3500calories MORE than your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure). You did not eat 17,500 calories in one night. The scale could be a reflection of the weight of the food still in your stomach, and/or some water retention from the sodium in the peanuts and popcorn. One or two days of being back on track, and the number on the scale will be back to normal.
Building muscle, or lean mass does require an increase in calories, but if you go overboard and eat too much, you will move into the fat storing process. The key is to eat the correct amount of calories and macronutrients to enable muscle building, but not fat storing.
Don't fret! One or two days is merely living your life. Get back on track and your body will respond in a favourable way.
The goal of IIFYM is to learn that there are no forbidden foods, treats can all be portion controlled to allow you to satisfy that craving while still hitting your targets. Portion control, not restriction!
- Dr. Alli