The Whoosh Effect – Reason for a Sudden Big Drop in Weight
Sometimes people notice that their weight hasn’t been falling on the scale for a while (a week or more) even though they’re eating right and exercising regularly and then they see it fall a considerable amount (0.5 to 1 kg or more) quickly like overnight and which makes them wonder why. People even get concerned that have they lost so much muscles which wouldn’t be the case because so much muscles (the actual fibers) don’t get lost so quickly. This quick weight loss is the Whoosh Effect and in this article we’ll talk more about it.
When we’re in a caloric deficit, our fat cells start to lose their triglycerides, however, our fat cells might replace them with fluid due to various reasons shared below and hence the body’s weight doesn’t change that much on the scale even though there’s fat loss because the fluid also has weight. Even the body’s appearance doesn’t change much for a while as the fat cells retain their size due to fluid perhaps becoming a little bit smaller. Weight loss is not linear and happens with plateaus and drops as the body releases fluid stored in the fat cells from time to time.
Reasons for Fluid Retention in Body
These are some possible reasons for the body to release fluid slowly:
- The body releases the fluid used to maintain the previous weight slowly because the person might regain the previous weight.
- The body releases the fluid from fat cells slowly because it can cause electrolytes imbalance if it reaches the circulatory system fast.
- The body prevents dehydration as it loses weight by holding on to water since the person might be in a place of water scarcity and which is actually favorable for survival.
Also, long-term stress can increase the hormone cortisol, which directly influences fluid retention and water weight. This may occur because stress and cortisol increase a hormone that controls water balance in the body, known as the antidiuretic hormone or ADH.
Body’s water retention also increases with the deficit of calories. The more the deficit, the more water is retained in fat cells when losing weight. This is because when we lose weight fast, our non fat cells lose part of their fat (that helps regulate the water levels in cell). So the body finds a way to retain water since our good cells are in danger of dehydration and which it achieves through fat cells.
The Whoosh Effect
If the body has been retaining fluid for a while from a few days to a few weeks then the body could expel a significant amount of fluid by eating a large meal because that meal can act as a re-feed and allow the fat cells to release the fluid. This is also why when someone who’s in high stress and has a lot of fluid stored in their fat cells eats a big meal then they might experience a big drop in weight and stress. When someone experiences a sudden, big weight loss then this could’ve happened and which is known as the Whoosh effect.
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Abhinav Malhotra is an award-winning personal trainer, coach and sports nutritionist in Dubai, UAE. He also offers online services to clients around the world. A personal trainer par excellence, Abhi has worked with the world’s leading fitness chains, supplement brands and founded his own fitness academy in India. He has achieved successes for many clients from all backgrounds and has trained the Indian Army Rugby Team. He is the first International Kettlebell Sport athlete from India.