Everybody will get sick eventually. No matter how hard you work to take care of yourself it is inevitable that a cold or the flu will sneak through. The body can become extremely efficient and fight off most of it, but you’re not perfect. So, you get sick, your body adapts, fights it off and regains its strength or even comes back stronger.
My first thought when I get sick isn’t about what I’ll do about missed appointments at work or meetings I won’t be available for. One of my current jobs (that shall remain nameless) isn’t really one I care that much for so a few days off is pretty sweet. I welcome the break from work. My apprehension comes when it comes to what it will do to my body. I think, “Oh my god. I’m going to miss my gym time!”
Being very active and regularly exercising, I enjoy the benefit of rarely getting sick. Unfortunately when I do get sick its usually quite significant. This past winter I had come into contact with what I thought was for sure some version of the bubonic plague. It was terrible. Rundown, congested, a cough that would not stop and lasted over 2 weeks, and constant fluid in my lungs causing me to wheeze day and night. I had previously had a couple bouts of pneumonia so that also crossed my mind.
Is this going to be another bout of pneumonia? Not even kidding but people die from stuff like this, don’t they?
The wheezing would annoy me so much that the mere sound of it would prevent me from sleeping.
What in the hell is that noise?..Oh, wait..its coming from me.
While getting my body healthy, drinking plenty of water and missing several workouts for 2 weeks and then some, I noticed that what I had lost in strength seemed to be replaced by water weight.
I thought my diet remained the same. If anything I had been eating less, but my weight grew 6 lbs in a very short time.
Part of this was just how I react to sickness. Some people lose weight, others like me seem to want to retain water. Some doctors told me it was a result of inflammation, others said it was just the excess water I was taking in. When I looked at things closely I think it was mostly diet.
No. I was eating less, but I was consuming a lot more carbohydrates and specifically a lot more breads and a ton more sweets. When I looked back at my actual diet log I saw that there was a daily sugar fix, sometimes less sometimes more but it was a weight gremlin plotting, adding pounds to my diet. I simply craved simple sugars. I took in these simple sugars, spiked my insulin, craved more sugars, took in more sugars and the cycle continues.
Was all of this a fat gain?
Every 1 gram of carbs holds roughly 3 grams of water. 1 gram of water weighs 0.00220462. lbs, seems like a very small number right? You can easily have a favorite ice cream treat that is in the 100-150 grams of carb range. Lets say you eat clean all day but indulge at night and have this treat. Now lets say you go over on carbs about 150 grams for 5 days in a row. All of a sudden you are at 750 grams.
Each of those grams (750) holds 3 grams of water.
3 * 750 = 2250 water grams
2250 *0.00220462 (lbs per gram of water) = 4.96 lbs.
You could easily show a 5 lb gain on the scale in one week. Some days I ate less, some days I ate more, but most of those days I ended up eating something super rich in simple sugars. Of course I would eat it quickly, further aiding my insulin spike.
My sickness did eventually stop. I got better and I got stronger. I took my time, did not panic and resumed my workouts. Slowly but surely the weight came off. I think it was about 3 weeks and I was back to normal weight. I could have probably done it in half that, but I had no urge to rush it.
So if you find yourself in a similar situation, you are not alone. Take a deep breath, step back and look at the entire picture.
- Are you truly staying on your diet?
- How has your sleep been?
- What is your water intake?
All of the above can drastically change when you’re not feeling well. Don’t let temporary weight gain stop you from your long-term weight goals.