Be prepared for that ‘fat day’ when it arrives — and it will

Bloody hell. From one day to the next, the scale says you’re four pounds heavier. Clothes that were flattering last week inexplicably make you look rotund today.

What the hey is going on?

Seemingly overnight, you’ve expanded to new diameters and are now as wide as you are tall. And no matter what angle you scrutinize your body, all you observe is a sea of flab.

Make no mistake about it: You are in the throes of … a fat day.

No one is immune. A fat day can strike out of nowhere, regardless of size. I’ve watched size 2 women freak out that their arms abruptly turned elephantine. (In fact, I’ve been that woman). And I’ve seen men who were fine with their size just yesterday suddenly view their stomach as a full-blown paunch.

The good news is, it’s almost entirely in your head. It’s not really a fat day. I consider it more of a “bloated, lousy self-esteem” day — and lord knows, we’ve all been there.

How to cope:

First and foremost, stop critically gawking at yourself in the mirror; it only makes things worse. I speak from experience. In younger year fat days, I would fixate on my (insert pretty much any body part here) and critique it from every angle, growing more disgusted by the minute.

1. Put down the hand-held mirror and walk away from the full-length mirror. Neither are doing you any favors in this time of crisis.

2. Step off the scale — and throw it out the window, if need be. Repeatedly weighing yourself on a fat day, or any day, creates unnecessary hysteria. You did not gain four pounds of fat overnight. More than likely, you are retaining water.

Many things can bring on the bloat: medication, stress, dehydration, high salt intake. Counteract the bloating by drinking lots of water while cutting back on sodium. Potassium also helps reduce water retention, so feast on bananas, spinach, dates and avocados (now there’s an appetizing smoothie). Marvel at your body’s profound ability to puff up like a blowfish, then take solace in the fact that it will dissipate.

3. Don’t retreat to a baggy pair of sweatpants and an oversized t-shirt on a fat day, as this will only make you feel more corpulent. Now more than ever, you need to feel attractive. Wear clothing that makes you feel polished, even glamorous. Style your hair. Put on a little mascara and rouge (men, you don’t have to take it this far). Apply a bronzing lotion or sunless tanning cream, as a soft glow does wonders for limbs that appear pale and inflated. Hold your head high. You are still beautiful — you’re just temporarily expressing the inflated rendition of yourself .

4. Finally — oh yes, you knew I’d throw this in — exercise. Nothing strips away negative feelings about your body like a solid workout. You’ll finish with a sense of well-being and accomplishment, and you will feel stronger and lighter all-around. If nothing else, you’ll lose about a pound in sweat.

If you are in the midst of a fat day, remain calm. Ditch the scale and that evil three panel mirror. Stay hydrated, cut back on salt, get a substantial workout in, then dress to kill.

Your body will be back to its deflated self in no time.

Catherine Bongiorno, lifttolosefitness@gmail.com, is a Mukilteo personal trainer and nutritional therapist who owns Lift To LoseFitness &Nutrition, www.lifttolose.com.

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