My scale definitely is a he, so now I leave my nightie on when weighing myself in the morning. He can't be trusted to not peek. I don't want him seeing my chubby body for fear he might decide I weigh a bit more than I did previously. After all, he isn't such a nice guy. In fact, he's a dirty, rotten, lying scoundrel. He'll whisper sweet nothings to me one moment (145 lbs.) and a few hours later takes back those cherished words (147 lbs.) It's more than frustrating, it's downright unfair!
In all seriousness, why does our weight fluctuate so widely within a given day? The simple fact is scales don't tell you the whole story about your weight loss progress. Here are just a few things that can increase your weight, causing it to fluctuate 3 or more pounds in one day:
- Water. Because the body is about 60% water, fluctuations in your hydration levels can change the number on a scale. If you’re dehydrated or have eaten too much salt, your body may actually retain water, which can cause scale weight to creep up. Similarly, many women retain water during menstrual cycles, which is another thing that can make that number change.
- Food. Weighing yourself after a meal isn’t the best idea simply because food adds weight. When you eat it, your body will add that weight as well. It doesn’t mean you’ve gained weight, it simply means that you’ve added something to your body (something that will be eliminated through digestion over the next several hours).
- Muscle. Muscle is more dense than fat and it takes up less space, so adding muscle could increase your scale weight, even though you’re slimming down.
- Glycogen. Some glycogen is stored in the liver and some is stored the muscles themselves. This energy reserve weighs more than a pound and its packaged with 3-4 pounds of water when it's stored. Your glycogen supply will shrink during the day if you fail to take in enough carbohydrates. It's normal to experience glycogen and water weight shifts of up to 2 pounds per day even with no changes in your calorie intake or activity level. These fluctuations have nothing to do with fat loss, although they can make for some unnecessarily dramatic weigh-ins if youre prone to obsessing over the number on the scale.
Measurements tell you a story that the numbers on the scale just can’t. Strive to lose inches and let the scale numbers fall where they may. Measure yourself monthly and get a truer picture of your weight loss than anything that scoundrel of a scale can tell you.
So don't get upset with yourself if your the scale stands still or shows an increase. Chances are it has little to do with how well you stuck to your eating plan or how nasty that darn scale can be.