I just returned from a monster weekend getaway in Tokyo with my wife. It was our first trip away from the kids so I decided to eat with reckless abandon. It all started on Thursday afternoon at the Hong Kong airport where I was eating and drinking my face off and it did not end until Sunday night on the flight back home (still drinking cheap airplane wine and eating crappy airplane food)
I did not get in a single workout (I don’t count the walking we did while shopping) nor did I count any calories or track any macros the entire time. The only thing I did was continue my IF protocol of skipping breakfast which is second nature to me at this point. It was a weekend of pure indulgence and utter freedom.
In an effort to study the fallout, I decided to run an experiment so as soon as I got back home I tracked my weight gain and subsequent loss. Here is a rundown of my sinful long weekend:
Thursday, May 12th:
Starting Weight 153.6 lbs. Last workout before my trip – pull day/heavy deadlifts. As soon as I got to the airport the eating began:
Late lunch at Café Deco: Caesar Salad, Full English Breakfast (2 eggs over easy, 2 sausages, 2 strips of bacon, potatoes, 2 pieces of toast), 1 glass of wine.
Plaza Premium lounge: 2 Beers + fries and snacks.
Flight to Tokyo: 2 large glasses of wine + in flight meal.
Late night dinner in Tokyo @ Denny’s across the street from the hotel for a Japanese Hamburger steak meal + another beer.
Friday, May 13th:
Work lunch @ Shunju: Wagyu beef meal bento set.
After lunch meeting @ Old Imperial Bar: 2 pints of Yebisu Beer
Happy hour work drinks @ Drunk Bears: 1 Beer + 2 vodka soda with cranberry.
Baccarat bar: 1 beer
TUSK in Roppongi Hills: 1 beer
Dinner at Sushi Shin: 22 piece sushi omakase + 2 small bottles of sake.
Late night Ramen snack at Azabu Ramen + side dish of curry
Saturday May 14th:
Sushi lunch at top of Tokyu department store in Shibuya. + 1 Beer.
2 more beers while walking around shopping in Daikanyama.
1 beer in the Executive Lounge @ Hilton Shinjuku.
6 course Teppanyaki Dinner @Ukaitei Omotesando: 1 bottle of wine + 1 glass champagne. + dessert and pastries.
Back to the St. Georges bar @ Hilton for a nightcap: 1 martini + 1 double Yamazaki.
Sunday May 15th:
Sushi lunch at top of Takashimaya: 8 Pieces sushi + 1 beer.
2nd Lunch @ Haneda Airport: Tonkatsu Pork Cutlet Curry + 3 gyozas + 3 Yeibisu beers.
Flight back to Hong Kong: 3 large glasses of red wine + in flight meal.
As you can see, it was literally unfettered gluttony all weekend.
Zero regard for calories, macro-nutrients and just by looking at the restaurants I ate at, you know that dietary fat and sodium were way high while my protein was way down from what it normally is. In fact I almost ordered Pizza Hut after we landed just to cap off a heavy binge weekend and would have but it was too late by the time we got home. Pizza Hut was closed and the fat gods had spoken…enough was enough. Now for the fun part:
Sunday May 15th , 8pm:
Weigh in as soon as I got home at 160.2lbs. A full 6.6 lbs heavier than when I left for the 3 day weekend. That’s 2.2lbs per day of weight +fat gain/water retention.
My rough estimation is that 5lbs of that is water retention/bloating from the booze and heavy carbs. 1.6lbs of that could be actual fat gain.
Monday May 16th, 6am:
Weigh in at 158.8lbs. Slowly coming off now. Luckily Pizza Hut was closed last night and I stopped eating (and drinking) at 6pm Hong Kong time on the flight back. This means I will have fasted a good 18 hours by lunch today. I also forced myself to wake up and get a heavy squat in which will help.
The strategy from here for the next two days will be to bring dietary fat all the way down and keep macros in check today (up protein since it is a work out day). I will up fiber intake as well to ensure a bowel movement in the next 48 hours to flush out a lot of the crap.
Everything else will stay the same and the important thing is to bounce right back on the wagon and continue diet adherence as if the weekend hadn’t even happened.
8pm: Weighed in 155.6lbs. A dramatic decrease by merely getting a heavy lift in, drinking tons of water to flush out the system, and cleaning up the diet. Nice.
Tuesday May 17th, 6am:
Weigh in at 156.8lbs. Edged back up a bit due to the higher intake of calories yesterday post Squat Day. But still trending in the right direction.
Remember the key is to bounce back onto diet and training as if the trip had never happened. I mixed in some fasted cardio this morning (30 min steady state spin bike) followed by a longer 23 hour fast (skipped lunch today).
8pm: Weighed in at 154lbs. What a difference 48 hours makes back on the training program & calorie restrictive diet.
Wednesday May 18th, 6am: Weigh in at 153.9 lbs. Finally back to pre-Tokyo trip levels. The weight gain of the trip is but a distant memory (though I likely gained some fat). It is push training day which will keep my metabolism churning.
So what is the purpose of this post? No, it’s not because I think you give a shit about my fantastic getaway trip to Tokyo and how much I ate (although if you want restaurant/bar recommendations see the links above). The purpose of the post is three-fold:
- It doesn’t f#$%ing matter what the scale tells you. As I just demonstrated in a matter of 5 days I both gained and lost over 6 lbs. Water retention + high sodium + bloating from alcohol + small fat gain all contributed to this. This is why your weight can fluctuate so dramatically based on the time of day and what your diet has been like and why I tell people to stop freaking out over daily fluctuations in weight. Weigh yourself once a week and track your progress over a 2 week rolling average. Trend is your friend and that is all you should care about over a longer period of time.
- Weight Loss vs. Fat Loss: It drives me nuts when I hear people talk about “dieting” and “weight loss”. You are missing the point here. What you should be concerned with is FAT LOSS. Weight doesn’t matter. This is why I hate the antiquated bullshit body fat measurement of the BMI. Every year when I get my physical done I am in the “fat” category based on the BMI reading because of my height and weight. Let’s focus on what matters and that is fat loss.
- Freedom in Fitness: Your level of fitness DOES matter. I’ve been at single digit body fat for a while now and it was very easy for me to bounce right back after a weekend of gluttony. All the painstaking days of counting calories and tracking macros has allowed me the freedom to do these “binge weekends” without sweating every meal and food choice because I know I am at a level of fitness and have the discipline that allows me to easily bounce back with little to no fat gain. It DOES get easier when you are leaner. 3 months of hard work for a lifetime of freedom.