Why Does Your Weight Fluctuate

I enjoy weighing myself everyday. I am also probably an exception to the rule because weighing yourself can lead to a lot of negative emotions as well.

I like to see how the previous days food, water, stress, and digestion effects my weight from day to day. It gives me a snapshot of what is going on. The more data points I get the more information I can piece together. I don't place my value on the scale or let whatever the number is affect my self confidence in any way. But I know there is a long road for others to get to that point. It is key for you to understand what causes your weight to fluctuate. I'm not asking you to weigh yourself everyday like I do. But if weight loss is something you are trying to accomplish then you have to learn how to separate your feelings from the number on the scale.

If your goal is weight loss, it can be easy to celebrate when you see the number on the scale fall by a few pounds one day, then worry when the scale jumps by a pound or two the next day. But what do these fluctuations in weight tell you?

Short-term fluctuations in weight are normal and generally reflect changes in your body’s level of water. It’s not possible under typical circumstances for your body to gain or lose several pounds of fat over the course of just a few days. Components like diet, exercise, weather, and your bathroom habits are all factors that can change the level of water in your body and cause the number on the scale to change, too. So you freaking out is the last thing you should be doing.

For example, eating salty food causes your body to hold on to extra water. Until your body clears out the excess salt and the water that comes with it, your weight will increase by a few pounds. An intense, sweaty workout can cause your weight to decrease by several pounds from the fluids you lose as sweat. Once you are fully hydrated and your level of body water is back to normal your weight will increase again.

Your metabolism can also influence your body’s water balance and cause fluctuations in weight.

How your body handles carbohydrates gives us the best example of this. As part of normal metabolism, your body stores a small amount of carbohydrate that is used to maintain steady blood sugar levels between meals and to power muscles during exercise. This reserve of stored carbohydrate, called glycogen, attracts and holds extra water. When your body’s glycogen reserves are full, your level of body water will be much higher than when your reserves are depleted. This is why your nutrition and exercise habits are so important. They both can lead to changes in the body's level of stored glycogen. Because normal variations in your body’s glycogen stores affect your level of body water, weight fluctuations are part of normal metabolism.

It is normal for your body weight to fluctuate by several pounds over the course of a day and even in a week. This doesn't mean that weighing yourself isn't helpful. You just need to keep things in perspective when doing so. Tracking body weight is still a good tool as long as your mindset is in a place to take it the right way. If stepping on a scale makes you feel frustrated, hopeless, or sparks other negative emotions then staying off the scale might be the best action to take for now.

If you want to teach yourself how to approach weighing yourself the right way then you should have a few things in order first.
1. Be discipline in preparing your meals or have some consistency in your nutritional regimen.
2. Have consistent exercise habits. It doesn't matter if it is one day or a week or seven. It could be 30 minutes per session or 60. You need to have some solidity in your program.
3. Don't place your self worth into a number on the scale. You are amazing already.

Start by checking your weight less often. Once a week or once a month for example. That way you will have a good idea of your progress while limiting the distracting influence of short-term fluctuations in weight and less mind games.

Some things you should consider if you are going to weigh yourself is:
Weighing yourself on the same scale all the time.
Weigh on same day of the week.
Weigh at the same time of day.

The goal is to get the most consistent measurement as best as you can.

Watching the scale drop by a few pounds only to see it rise again by the end of the week can feel discouraging. But when you know what your scale is really telling you, it’s easy to avoid being distracted by short-term weight fluctuations and stay focused on your long-term goals.

The scale is a tool. That's it. Stay away from it until you can view it that way.