Updated: Jun 8
Are you in the habit of weighing yourself every day? If so, you have probably noticed that the number on the scale varies from day to day. While it is definitely possible for you to have actually gained or lost weight, most likely, it's reflective of your daily life.
If you maintained a strict set schedule where you ate, drank, worked out, and weighed yourself at the same time every single day, then you would notice that your weight would be relatively stable over time. But who is actually able to live a life like that or wants to?
So if you don’t abide by a very strict schedule, what causes the little yet frustrating weight fluctuations every day, and what can you do about it?
Food and Beverages
Food and drinks supply our bodies with calories and nutrients, and they can play a big part in our health and fitness goals. They also have an actual mass unrelated to their calorie count, which can affect your body weight short term.
For example, if you drink two cups of water and immediately step on the scale, you would be a pound heavier due to the liquid mass of the water, but you would not have taken in any calories. This is why the most accurate time to weigh yourself is first thing in the morning before you eat or drink anything.
Sweat and dehydration can create a pseudo weight loss or temporary weight gain from carbohydrates and sodium.
Dehydration or water loss can cause relatively quick weight fluctuations. Doing hard or longer workouts than weighing yourself afterward can show weight loss because you have shed water weight. However, it is necessary for optimal health and fitness to replenish the lost liquids, so once you rehydrate, the scale would show weight gain.
If you’re training for a race or competition, then you are probably familiar with things like carb loading. It is a process where you have a high carbohydrate intake to load your body with glycogen to burn while training or competing.
It's a great way to ensure adequate energy availability, but each gram of carbohydrate stored is paired with 2–3 grams of water. So when the carbohydrate is burned off, the 2-3 grams of water will be burned off as well, resulting in a temporary weight gain and then loss.
On Monday’s most of us start with tons of health and fitness motivation which unfortunately declines slowly as the week goes on. We all do this, so if you weigh yourself later in the week and notice that the number on the scale has gone up, don’t attribute it to true weight gain. The only way to remedy this weekly flux is to be consistent and practice healthy eating habits seven days a week.
The stress hormone, Cortisol, can be elevated after workouts or mental stress. One of the things this hormone does is increase the inflammation in your body. This increase of inflammation can mess with your digestion, fluid retention, hunger, and your metabolism.
The best thing to do to help with weight gain from Cortisol is by working on reducing lifestyle stress with relaxation techniques and a high antioxidant diet.
Weighing yourself each morning can offer insight into your weight fluctuations and give you a better understanding of how your body reacts to things. However, the frustration that comes with seeing a constantly changing number on the scale can lead to a negative association with your weight. But it's important to keep in mind that it's not the day-to-day that matters; it's more the long-term trend.
So instead of weighing yourself every morning, try committing to an average weekly weight. Weigh yourself each morning, write it down in your journal, and then at the end of each week, add the daily weights up and divide by seven. Do this over the course of a month, and take a look to see if your weight is trending up or down.
If you would like help with tracking your weight to make sure you are on your way to achieving your health and fitness goals, make sure to ask us at your next personal training session. We are here to help you be successful!