Life & Living

Chantel Heath

INSTAGRAM: @chantelheathfitness


I’m a 41 year old mother of two & Personal Fitness coach. I work one to one, in person & online with clients aged 18-80. My specialisms include pre & postnatal training, cancer rehab, pilates, & GP exercise referrals. I run fitness classes online and in person in the Suffolk Coastal area. I am also a Mental Health First aider.

Weekend Weight Gain

Many people I speak to tell me that they struggle with weekends. ‘I’m really good all week with my food and exercise, but then at the weekend I have a takeaway and a few drinks and gain 3 or 4 lbs!’ Then they find themselves in a cycle of ‘being good’ again all week to shift the extra pounds from the weekend.

But what’s actually going on here? Is it really possible to gain 3 lbs after a takeaway and a few cheeky wines?

Let’s first start with some numbers.

In order to gain a pound of body fat it is estimated that we need to consume around 3600 excess calories (over and above your normal daily intake.) Bear in mind this is a general figure, and other factors affect fat loss and gain, however if we use these figures, in order to gain 3 lbs of body fat over the weekend you would need to consume 10,800 excess calories! To put that into perspective, an average Chinese takeaway may be in the region of 1500 calories, and a bottle of wine in the region of 700 calories. So even if you had two takeaways and a few bottles of wine it’s unlikely you would have consumed enough to gain 3-4 lbs of body fat!

So what is the cause of this change in what the scales say from Friday to Monday? Faulty scales? Heavy earrings?. While either of these are possible, these are some much more likely causes.

Carbs and sodium.

Carbs are yummy and a necessary
part of any healthy diet. But for every
1g of Carbs eaten your body retains 3g of water. Sodium also has a similar effect. Yummy rice, noodles and naan could be the culprit!

You are dehydrated!

Which I know sounds a bit counterintuitive, but mild dehydration causes your body to retain the water it does have!

You did a big workout!

The soreness you get after a hard workout is caused by microtears in your muscles (which is how they get stronger!) this process leads to temporary inflammation and excess fluid forming.

Your period is due.

Apart from the hormonal changes which may make you retain water, you may also crave carby and salty foods, see above!

You need to poop!

I don’t think I need to explain this one, do I? As Peter Kay once said ‘You’ve put on a pound? I poop a pound!’

You ate later than normal.

Meaning you may still have undigested food on board. It can take around 36 hrs for food to pass through your entire digestive system.

So what do we take away from this?

Don’t beat yourself up about it! The chances are the extra couple of pounds on the scale are due to the reasons mentioned above, meaning they are temporary and reversible. To illustrate the point look at this picture of me! The scales just tell us how much weight is standing on them, not what it’s made up of!