Thanksgiving Weight Experiment

Written by: Brad Pilon

I live in Canada. And, Thanksgiving in Canada is a lot like Thanksgiving in the US… it involves a LOT of eating.

So for fun, I decided to track my weight over this joyous occasion eating festivities.

It started Friday morning at 174 pounds.

I spent the day doing dinner prep (it was our turn to host Thanksgiving dinner). I did manage to get some rock climbing in during the morning, and was also able to sneak away for a quick shoulders work out around 2 PM.

I opened the wine at 3:30, guests arrived at 4, we started eating at 5.  I ate, but I tried to keep it somewhat under control. I also drank, but kept that under control too

I was able to say “enough”…. twice. Once after my first piece of strawberry rhubarb pie and then once again after my much larger piece of apple crumble with coconut whipped cream

Guests were gone by 9 ish, we were done cleaning by 10:30 and I stepped on the scale at around 11 PM:

177 pounds.

The next morning I woke up at around 8 AM (the kids slept in!) and I stepped on the scale:

172.5 pounds.

(A pound and a half lower than yesterday morning.)

Was it my metabolism? My leptin or thyroid hormones going out of control from all the extra food? No, it was probably a change in water weight.

For the rest of Saturday I ate leftovers, made soup, ate pie, played with the kids, ate pie, watched Monster High movies with my daughter and went to the local farm (Dyments in Dundas) for their annual Thanksgiving festivities. No workouts, no real movement to speak of…

I stepped on the scale that evening at:

179 pounds.

Yikes.. I do NOT like being that close to 180!  Oh well, at least my weight may drop over the night.

The next morning I weighed in at:

177 pounds.

Too high for my liking – goes to show that the weight loss the morning after a big day of eating is only temporary…  Nature will always catch up to you

At around 1 pm on Sunday I started fasting, that evening before bed I weighed

178 pounds.

The next morning I was 19 hours into my fast when I stepped on the scale

175 pounds.

I finished my fast around 12:30 with a family lunch, but I ‘kept it light’ that evening I did a legs workout, while still keeping the eating on the lighter side. We used up the leftovers, and cleared the kitchen of any suspect food….

That evening I weighed in at

176 pounds

The next morning I weighted


Right back to normal for me.

If you look at all the weight fluctuations you see wild changes in weight, however if you remove the evening weights the story becomes a bit more clear:

174 —> 172.5 —> 177 —> 175 —> 174

If you remember that these are snapshots of my weight change – one three-second period of time over a 24 hour period.

Really, My weight never moved from a baseline of 174 by more than 3 pounds at any given time. And 3 pounds is a fairly normal weight fluctuation for a 5’10” male.

The same goes if you only track the evening weights

177 —> 179 —> 178 —> 176

In fact, the only reason the weight swings seems so extreme is that we are comparing morning ’empty’ weights to varying degrees of evening ‘full weights’.  The truth is your weight changes by the minute – food has weight, water has weight, different foods affect how your body handles water, alcohol does too, as do the circadian rhythms of your hormones.

Weight is a transient moment in time snap-shot of nothing more than the weight of your body. In other words without other metrics weight is a very, very poor indicator of what is going on inside of your body, and it is certainly NOT an indication of the inner workings of your metabolism.

In fact, if you consider my morning waist measurements through this process

32.5 —> 32.75 —> 33 —> 33 —> right in-between 32.5 and 32.75

You see even less fluctuation (at least in my eyes) I generally don’t worry unless my waist gets above 33.5 – and even then ‘worry’ just means I go back to fasting for 24 hours twice per week.

The moral is your weight changes. Fluctuations are OK. Upwards trends are something you need to control, but fluctuations happen.

And women – your weight will also fluctuate with your menstrual cycle – so you have daily fluctuations AND monthly fluctuations to contend with.

So treat weight for what it is… just one of many measurements you make on your body – one that is a quick snapshot, that doesn’t define how your body looks, how your metabolism is working, your hormone levels, or your self worth.

It’s an number worth tracking, but the trends are far more important than the actual number.



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