Fluctuations on the weight scale can be frustrating. Even though you are on a custom diet plan and are doing everything right, it’s not uncommon to see scale numbers jumping around on a daily basis.
Before we outline the common reasons behind these fluctuations, I want to discuss the practice of frequent weighing, or being a slave to the scale.
Weighing yourself on a daily basis is a slippery slope. It can create doubt, due to daily weight changes. I strongly recommend that you only weigh yourself once a week. These weekly snapshots will create a more reasonable look at how your fat loss program is progressing.
So, getting back to the point of this article: Why does our scale weight fluctuate each day? Here are some major reasons.
6 Reasons Why Your Scale Weight Fluctuates
1. Time of The Day
It is best to weigh yourself at the same time each day. We tend to get heavier as the day moves on, and are generally lightest in the morning.
A single gallon of water weighs 8.35 pounds. Since most of us are concerned with staying properly hydrated, we rarely slack off and under-drink our water.
So even if you only drink a half gallon of water per day, your weight will be fluctuating up and down as you drink, and then make subsequent bathroom trips. For this reason it is best to weigh yourself around the same time each day.
Your best bet is to weigh yourself first thing in the morning. If that isn’t possible, weigh yourself before bed.
You might not be aware of this fact, but placing your scale on different types of surfaces can change the reading. For example, when I place my scale on a carpet, my weight drops by 12-15%. When I move it back to a firm surface, I instantly gain all this weight back.
Different types of surfaces have varying degrees of “spring”, or compression. The more a surface compresses, the less likely you are to obtain an accurate scale reading. For this reason you want to place your scale on a fat, hard surface.
If this is not possible, place the scale on the same type of flooring each day. This will reduce some fairly substantial weight fluctuations.
Complex or simple carbohydrates intake plays a major role in weight fluctuation. When you consume carbs, your body responds to the increase of blood sugar levels by diluting your blood stream with more water.
In addition, eating more carbs leads to more intra-cellular water. Excess carbs are stored as glycogen. For every 1 gram of glycogen that is stored, your body also stores 3 grams of water.
If you are not eating the same amount of carbohydrates each day, your weight will fluctuate up and down. For this reason it is best to weigh yourself weekly rather than daily. This will reduce the impact of daily fluctuations, and the possibility of a larger scale weight change.
As with carbohydrates, unless your sodium intake is the same each day your weight will tend to fluctuate more noticeably. An increase in sodium results in a temporary increase in water retention. On the other hand, decreasing your sodium can result in the flushing of water.
Sodium (and potassium) is an electrolyte. When there is a high concentration of electrolytes in the blood stream, we will want to drink more water. With this extra water in our system, the kidneys can then maintain a more consistent electrolyte concentration.
This extra water also leads to some cellular bloat. Water will flow from cells that have lower levels of sodium, to ones with higher levels of sodium. This process takes place via osmosis, and is the body’s method of balancing levels of salinity.
The result: a temporary weight increase.
Not everyone is on the same waste cycle. It is very common for women to become constipated due to travel, poor sleep, slight dehydration, increased stress levels and as a part of PMS. Try these 7 natural constipation relief remedies straight from your kitchen.
While maintaining proper water and fiber intake can help to minimize constipation, it can still occur and mess with the numbers on the scale.
This seems like a trivial reason but it’s not. There can be one, two or even three pounds of difference to your scale weight if you are not weighing yourself wearing about the same thing each day.
Try to way yourself wearing the exact same thing, when possible. I recommend weighing yourself while only wearing your underwear, or in underwear and a bra.
Daily weight fluctuations are normal. Eating the exact same thing each day is not only boring, and darn near impossible. It is also not a healthy and balanced way to live.
Do your best to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Manage stress, improve your sleeping habits, reduce consumption of junk foods and sodium rich diet sodas, and stop being a slave to the scale.
When you do weigh yourself, do it at a consistent time, wearing about the same thing, and placing the scale on the same surface. This will reduce some degree of scale fluctuation.