Just between us, when I noted that, like clockwork, I dropped 2 lbs. in the last 2 weeks by doing exactly what I teach, I knew I had to share it with you. This has come on the heels of a 2 lb gain I experienced last month.
You see, even my weight pops up a couple of lbs from time to time. It’s true.
And I can always pinpoint exactly how it happened.
Now, you can say “2 lbs, big whoop!” and you’d be exactly right. Yet 2 lbs can become, well, you know. On its way to 3, 4, and 5 lbs. Or more.
Luckily I know exactly how to easily and quickly reverse weight gain (Which as you know was not always the case, lo those 50 lbs ago!) without hunger or working out like a maniac. That’s why my weight hasn’t dropped only to balloon again over the past 13 years as it did (repeatedly) for the several decades before that.
How I gained 2 lbs in 2 weeks and lost 2 lbs just as easily.
I could have called this article “How I lost 2 lbs in 2 weeks”and it might have caught your attention.
Yet just as important to the story of how I easily lost those 2 lbs is how easily I gained those 2 lbs. This is important for a couple of reasons.
- so you can see how easy it is to put on the lbs even with seemingly small changes to your diet.
- so that you can see that I am not an alimentary automaton or textbook whole food, non-processed. I can wiggle and stray with the best of them. Not as much, and definitely not as far and as often as I used to in my heftier days. Yet even within the plant-based guidelines, quality makes a difference when it comes to your weight.
Setting the stage
Just 2 weeks ago we returned from 14 days on one of our favorite scuba adventure destinations. We rent a house with a kitchen which suits me just fine because then I can make the food that I like.
- Breakfast: a big bowl of muesli with chunks of papaya piled on top.
- Lunch: giant salad of chopped cabbage, dark greens, carrots, beets and all their friends with beans all over the top; big tomato sandwich with hummus on whole grain bread
- Dinner: alternating brown rice and pasta with a mountain of steamed mixed veggies on top
Exemplary, right? So what’s the problem? It was the little add-ons that slipped in that added up to make the difference.
How to gain 2 lbs in 2 weeks
- the dark Dutch chocolate with hazelnuts that there are stacks of in the market, even in the far-flung desert islands of the Dutch Antilles.
- the sweet almond paste-infused bread that looked like a fun taste adventure and ended up being a regular side to our morning muesli. We started calling it ‘tunnel of fudge’ bread. I should have known.
- the peanut sauce I made several times for our rice and vegetables at dinner. Now, I could have peanut sauce 3 times a day and be one happy camper, yet it is so high in calorie density that it is easy to go over your daily needs.
Add the peanut butter sandwiches that are an airplane meal and transit standby, and you’ve got the fuel for extra avoir du pois. I’d thought that perhaps the thermogenic energy demands of being in 81 degree water for several hours a day – a weight loss tip from Tim Ferris’ The 4 Hour Body – would burn it all up.
Where did those lbs come from?
At first, my reaction was “Gee, how could a few treats add up like that?” It’s easy for us to whitewash the truth and let the extra bites become an innocent blur.
But that doesn’t help us. Besides, I’m an all-cards-on-the-table kinda girl and when I looked back and took a reality snapshot, here’s exactly what jacked those numbers on the scale up.
- dark chocolate is extremely calorie dense at over 2,000 calories a lb. At 50% fat, that translates to about 50 calories for every chunk of chocolate the size of a mini candy bar. Probably not problematic if you have half of one every now and then. Yet readily available chocolate can easily turn into a regular bite once, then twice, a day. Trust me on this one.
- peanut butter is 100 calories a tablespoon, and even stretching it with lime juice as I did for peanut sauce, it is quite the chunk of energy with change when it hits the plate every day.
- almond paste – our ‘tunnel of fudge’ bread? Who knows?
It’s easy to see how these high calorie – which always translates to high fat – foods can quickly add up to 500 calories a day. There’s a lb a week. It’s not a mystery. It’s rocket science.
What I did to drop those 2 lbs just as quickly
- I chucked the chocolate
- I tossed eating tunnel-of-fudge bread
- I put peanut butter sauce on hiatus
- half of my daily plate, perishable veggies
- the other half of my daily plate, starchy vegetables and whole grains
- salad or soup before lunch or dinner
- 2-3 fruits and some beans every day
- I maintained my workout schedule as usual.
There you have it! It took about a week or more for anything to show up on the scale, but I expected that. I just know that’s how it’s going to be, so I’ve cultivated a peaceful, beneficial relationship with the scale and it has become my friend. It is just a tool that reflects progress when I follow through.
Word of caution: Don’t let the loophole distract you
The point is it’s actually easy to avoid weight gain once you’ve got some simple tools in place. And it’s comforting and confidence-building to know that when weight gain does happen, you just take the formula and apply it.
How this story can help you keep your weight in check
Next time you feel a tightening of the belt, or the scale shows a new number climbing upwards and you are scratching your head about where it all came from, take a closer look at what you have really been eating for the past 2 weeks.
It’s easy to gloss over it with “I only had a few little pieces of chocolate!”, or “I only had pastry a couple of times” blahblahblah. It all adds up and shows up.
When I sat down and noted that my ‘treats’ had become regulars, it was quite clear how it happened and where weight gain came from.
This puts the power back in your hands. Whining about it or denial don’t get you any closer to your health, weight loss and body composition goals.
And if you still can’t find the culprit, keep a food diary for a few days and you’ll find out exactly where the extra calorie density is slipping onto your plate – and into your mouth. It doesn’t get there by itself.
Celebrate that you have the solution!
The good news is you can eat to your fill every day on delicious, high fiber, whole foods that keep you trim. The rules of satiety are on your side and are pulling for you to become naturally thin.
It is not hard to become a body-controlled eater, where you can maintain a trim and energetic physique with your natural hunger and fullness signals as your guide. It’s a great way to live.
If you like this article, please forward to a friend. Share it on facebook, twitter, and social media. And I’d love to hear your thoughts. Scroll down to “comments” and click on “add one”. A window will then appear within which you can share your thoughts. Thank you!
Lani, I have to stop right now and tell you how much your article today means to me. This is why I have so much trust in what you share – because you just tell it like it is. I appreciate how you make it sound really simple and now that you mention it, it is. Telling this story give me inspiration to take more responsibility and it’s a good time too, going into this part of the year.
Sheri, will you’ve made my morning especially on this one as I really put it out there from my recent experience. Authenticity is where it’s at and if there’s anything you can glean from my experience, well, that is such good news.
thank you so so much for stopping in and sharing your thoughts. It means a lot!
Lani – is your muesli store bought, or do you make it yourself, and if so, how much of what ingredients?
Hey Leslie, the kind we were using was from the Netherlands as the island where we were in the Dutch Antilles is – well, Dutch! I’ve seen some good brands here, though – Bob’s Red Mill for one! I haven’t made it myself. Me lazy cook! 😉