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Water weight is coming off fast; A few thoughts on MyFitnessPal.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014 by  
Filed under Daily Blog


The first day of my 2014 cut went extremely well! After a few weeks of too much junk food and too much alcohol, it felt awesome getting back to a healthy diet.

Yesterday’s blog garnered a fair number of comments on Facebook, and I made the following comment in reply:

I’m feeling great! I almost forgot how much fun cutting can be. I really enjoy getting super strict, tracking my diet and exercise and making health and fitness not just something I do everyday, but a top priority.

That about sums up how I am feeling right now!

As expected, the water weight is already starting to come off. My starting weight (yesterday morning) was a very bloated 185.4 pounds. I drank a little over 1.5 gallons of water yesterday, and my body was still holding onto water when I went to bed last night: my scale weight last night just before bed was 189.6 pounds! I expected that, but I also know from experience that my body would quickly start letting go of that water…

Sure enough, I woke up to urinate a total of SIX times last night. Added to that, night sweats. Both of those things will go away after another couple days of clean eating and consuming lots of water.

My scale weight this morning was 183.6 pounds. That’s correct: I lost six pounds of water weight over night, which is a net loss of almost two pounds over the past 24 hours.

If you’re wondering why our bodies store excess water after consuming junk food, there’s a pretty simple explanation. Junk food is typically very high in sodium, and when you consume all that salt your body stores extra water to maintain its preferred sodium balance. That’s why after a heavy splurge meal you’ll often notice a 3-5 pound (or more) weight gain the next morning. Some people think the best way to deal with water weight is to drink less water, but that’s actually completely wrong and will prolong the bloating. The way to get rid of extra water weight is to drink lots and lots of water; doing so will flush the extra sodium from your system, and your body will shed the excess water along with it.

I’ll continue to shed the excess water weight as the week wears on. Water weight loss the first week of a diet is why we often see dramatic scale weight changes during that time. By next week I will settle into a scale weight loss rate of about 2 pounds per week.

I have to say, I’m really impressed with MyFitnessPal. Despite a few minor shortcomings, with some tinkering I’ve been able to get things set up just the way I like. The user interface is very intelligently designed: it’s super easy and intuitive to dive in and get started, but there’s lots more functionality if you want to dig deeper.

The heart of MyFitnessPal is obviously logging meals, and they absolutely nailed that. The food database is massive! Logging food is really fast and easy. I love that I can save complete meals and give them a name. For example, my lunch is almost always the same seven items: a grilled chicken breast, salad greens, a tomato, a tablespoon of olive oil, brown rice, chopped green onions and a tablespoon of Sriracha. I saved all of those things as “Usual lunch”, and now adding all seven items to a meal just takes a couple clicks. Adding recipes is also very fast and intuitive.

After yesterday’s ride I decided to check out the cardio logging aspect of MyFitnessPal. I searched for “cycling”, and the following list came up (click to enlarge):


MyFitnessPal’s “Add Cardio Exercise” interface.


I was impressed that MyFitnessPal had preset speed ranges for road cycling, and even a mountain biking option. Of course these presets don’t take into account many external factors (bike weight, riding solo or in a paceline, terrain, wind, etc), so I don’t put a lot of stock in the estimated calories burned. I also find it a little perplexing that they lump “16-20 MPH, very fast” together; 16 MPH is not “very fast”, and a world apart from 20 MPH. My average speed was right at 20 MPH, so I selected “> 20 MPH” option (which they somewhat annoyingly call “racing”, but whatever), and the system estimated that I burned 1,400 calories. Um, I don’t think so. For comparison, Strava estimated that I burned 785 calories, which is probably closer to the truth.

So when you log exercise, MyFitnessPal adds those calories to your daily total caloric target. In other words, MyFitnessPal indicated that I should have consumed 3,600 calories yesterday (with the note “You’ve earned 1,413 extra calories from exercise today!”) That is crazy, I’d never lose weight eating that many calories per day. So I’m ignoring that aspect of the site, and sticking with my own caloric targets.

Overall I think MyFitnessPal is an excellent site. It’s free, it has a fantastic mobile app and an absolutely massive food database. Meal logging is simple, fast and easy. The web site itself is very fast, and the user interface is clean, intuitive and easy to grasp. Also, the social aspect is extremely well integrated and motivational (please feel free to add me as a friend!)

I’m out of time… more tomorrow! 🙂

John Stone Fitness Comments

10 Responses to “Water weight is coming off fast; A few thoughts on MyFitnessPal.”
  1. Yeah, I was thinking the same thing about your calorie expenditure. Is there a way to edit the calories burned to what your garmin states? That bothers me about Strava as well, it always adds 30-40% to what both my Garmin 410 running watch and 510 cycling computer state for calories burned.

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  2. Steve that’s going to vary a lot based on activity level for the day, how I’m feeling, my performance on the bike, how fast the weight comes off, etc. Past couple of days have been around 2,300 calories with fairly short 33 kilometer rides. I’m feeling real good so far. Harder/longer rides will probably see my calories closer to 3,000 for that day.

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  3. I was feeling the lack of carbs by the end of the day today. I thought I could get a head start. Opps. I will fix. MyFitnessPal can’t comprehend what we do. It does appear to be useful to see the ratio of what I am eating. I have never paid this close attention to numbers.

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  4. Yeah, MFP is really good at what I need it for: food logging. I think the guided weight loss stuff is probably okay for the average person who wants to lose weight and doesn’t have any idea what to do. More serious athletes can’t go by those rules. The good news is you can turn off the guided stuff and do your own thing.

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  5. I’m glad I read that. A few days after NY’s, I had a couple of nights where I had to get up and go to the bathroom around 6 or 7 times also, and it destroyed for the next day just being tired, and I couldn’t figure out what it was, we always have a weak coffee around 7 (don’t go to bed until midnight), I thought it might be that. In reflection, it coincides with the end of the xmas markets here in Germany, meaning, the ceasing of eating 2 Bratwurst & rolls a day + various sweets, and back into the “routine”. I get it now, thanks!

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