What's The Woosh Effect?
If you've been experiencing a weight loss plateau, you've probably been feeling down and discouraged. However, I do have some good news for you; you may be about to lose a few pounds at once!
This is because of the woosh effect, which was first scientifically documented during the Minnesota Starvation Experiment. This study put its participants on a diet of around 1,500 calories a day as well as forced them to undergo rigorous exercise in order to study the effects of starvation. Curiously, these conditions aren't so different from the restrictions suggested by many typical weight-loss diets!
During the beginning of this experiment, the men's weight came off in predictable one or two pound increments. However, as the study went on, their weight loss became increasingly unpredictable. Often, the men would remain the same weight for days or even weeks, then lose 2-5 pounds seemingly all at once. Dieters and fitness experts eventually started calling this phenomenon a "woosh."
A common myth about the woosh effect is that it is caused by fat cells filling with water as you lose weight, which then gets released in one big "woosh!" This is at best a vast oversimplification, yet the woosh does seem to have something to do with the water retention that is inevitable during dieting, and especially during diets that restrict carbohydrate intake.
Evidence for this includes that more women than men report experiencing these wooshes, and women are also more prone to water retention due to their hormonal fluctuations. Other common causes of water retention include excessive salt intake, stress, overtraining, and excessively low calorie intake.
Some dieters have also found that wooshes can be triggered by eating a higher carbohydrate cheat meal, which can trigger their body to release extra water. However, this strategy will only work if you've been eating at a significant deficit for quite a while, and it will only result in a shift in water weight as it slows down your actual fat loss. Your progress will show up on the scale eventually either way.
Before a woosh, some dieters notice that the fat they are about to lose has become "squishier" or warmer to touch. The leaner you are, the more noticeable these effects will be. Some also find that they are experiencing more severe cravings and hunger than usual, which could be the body's last-ditch effort to keep the fat from coming off for good. Others may find themselves peeing more, experiencing night sweats, or even dealing with diarrhea; after all, all that water has to go somewhere!
Despite their silly name, wooshes can be quite a serious matter; it can be utterly maddening to follow a diet perfectly and yet see the scale refuse to budge. However, if you just keep on following a balanced, dependable diet like 123, there may be a woosh waiting for you just around the corner...