Vacation fat is not what it seems

I have good news of a sort for anyone who has returned from a southern vacation, only to find an additional 10lb mysteriously affixed to your waist (or hips, bum, boobs, wherever you store your spare lard).

Can there be any good news in this situation? After all, your vacation is done, you’ve significantly increased your likelihood of a malignant melanoma, your relationship is screwed because you just spent a week cramped in a hotel room with your significant other and now you’re fat. Well there is. Apparently the fat bit at least is not entirely your fault. During my random browsings of the interwebs I came across an article from the Boston School of Gravitational Science that indicated there may be a scientific explanation for your increased girth on return from the southern climes, and it is not all attributable to the free bar and all-you-can-eat buffet.

The BS article I saw said that scientists have discovered an increased gravitational pull closer to the equator. The effect causes body mass to increase the further south towards the equator you go, effectively making you heavier. They call this Residual Gravitational Transference (RGT). The residual part means that the effects take some time to reduce once you head north again, so the scales might actually be lying to you when you get home. Now, I’m not going to say that this gives you licence to binge on your vacation – clearly excessive consumption has a big part to play in your growing girth, but there is a percentage of that monumental mass that is attributable to science. And that’s not all. The same BS article I read suggests the effect is exacerbated the closer you are to sea level – and even more so if you are over water. This last part has to do with being closer to the Earth’s magnetic core. Over water, the reduced density of the water means that the gravitational pull is that much stronger. Now, apparently if you happened to be down south when there was a full moon, then the counter-pull of the moon’s gravity likely offset the RGT factor for your time in the south. On the other hand, if you didn’t experience a full moon then the weight gain through RGT could be as significant as 0.5 lb for every 100 of latitude, for every 72 hours, assuming no lunar offset.

I know the math is confusing. The BS science behind this is quite new, and they want to make it easy for their readership so I did the math using their calculator. Basically if I head from Nova Scotia (latitude 450 N) and spend 9 days in Cuba (latitude 230 N), then all things being equal and assuming no moon, I will gain 3lb in weight, purely through the dynamics of RGT. And I can expect that 6lb to take at least another 9 days to reduce back to zero gain. The even scarier part in all this is that the effect of weight gain is actually amplified by RGT also. The North to South ratios stay the same, so for every 10 degrees of latitude there is a 5% increase in the relative weight gain. This piece they called Equatorial Weight Transference (EWT). So, back to my example, my 3lb weight gain is further impacted by a factor of 20%, for a total gain of 3.3lb. Now that doesn’t sound much, I know, but this is before any additional Marguerites. And, the even scarier piece, the effects of RGT apply to any new weight gain when away. The extra weight is not increased, because it was gained at the southern latitude and altitude, but the effects of RGT mean it will be so much harder to shift when I go north again. And remember that all these effects are exacerbated by altitude, so your sea level resort is adding to your waistline, purely by location, and that cruise ship? You will get fat just by stepping aboard.

So there you have it. There is at last a scientific explanation for your post-vacation girth. I would be interested to hear if anyone has actually seen these effects in action and can attest to the veracity of this BS theory. Oh – sorry, just found the author so you can Google him. Dr Loof Lirpa – a Latvian I believe.

(and by the way – this is my A post for A to Z 2015 – as in April Fool’s, and also a response to today’s Daily Prompt)



  1. I have seen these effects in action over the past 6 weeks here in the northeast. We had feet of snow, massive amounts of wine and home-made mac & cheese? What would Dr. Loof Lirpa attribute this to? Antarctic pull?


    1. Well without the extensive research conducted by Professor Loof I can only speculate that the intense cold has slowed your metabolism such that the calorific value of your mac n cheese is amplified calorifically.


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