Written By: Devon Kroesche, CSN Social Media Intern
Memorial Day Weekend is less than a week away, and many of us are packing our bags and headed to the beach for the first time in quite a while. Others may have plans for a backyard BBQ and pool party with friends. This unearths a wave of mixed emotions: the obvious excitement for a weekend getaway from the daily grind, and perhaps some lingering anxiety about donning a swimsuit and revealing your “beach body”. Maybe you are hitting the gym a little harder than usual this week, maybe you are cutting out carbs or added sugar or dairy or whatever elimination you think will help you drop a few pounds because, after all, it is “crunch time”. It doesn’t matter how grueling it may be to have a green salad with no dressing for dinner and drink a gallon of water per day, because you want to get that perfect beach picture with your friends. Does this internal dialogue sound familiar?
This past week while waiting in line at the grocery store, I saw the same tabloid-y magazines promising you every juice cleanse under the sun to help you lose those 5, 10, or even 15 pounds by Memorial Day. Here is my main issue with this type of media content: IT IS NOT SUSTAINABLE.
Let me be clear: it is entirely possible to lose 10 pounds in one week, technically. However, weight loss that is that rapid is not true fat loss. Rather, it reflects water loss that has no real positive effect on health or body composition whatsoever. You are merely depleting your body of glycogen, which are your body’s short-term energy stores that are designed to give you energy and stabilize your mood. Depriving your body of these stores is not only unhealthy and unhelpful, it also increases the likelihood of you losing your temper over the most minor inconvenience during what should be a happy and relaxing weekend.
Perhaps even more importantly, those couple pounds you dropped will certainly return as soon as you abandon the crazy restrictive diet, leaving you feeling defeated.
Here’s the thing: the short term gratification of knowing you are a few pounds lighter pales in comparison to the fun you could be having while leading a well-nourished life.
Allow me to suggest an alternative plan for this week: Ditch the scale. If only for this week. Stick to a balanced and nutritious diet, and keep your workout schedule consistent. Drink water instead of sugary drinks. Get an extra serving of veggies in at dinner instead of focusing on cutting certain foods out of your diet. Keep your portions appropriate and your plate balanced. Try and log at least 7-8 hours of sleep. It has been my experience that treating my body well makes me feel the most confident, regardless of weight change.
The reality is that you will not see substantial progress after a week of consistent nutrition and exercise. What you will notice is a boost in confidence and the motivation to continue your healthy habits. And isn’t that a lot more valuable than that temporary sense of satisfaction knowing the scale said you were a few pounds lighter?