Let’s celebrate Throwback Thursday with a post I wrote all the way back in 2012 (how have I been blogging so long?).
I don’t often bring old post back but this one struck a cord with a lot of women. Second, there was some room for updating. And third, I get asked the questions all the time:
“Why do I weigh more today than yesterday!?
How is it possible that I’ve gained weight even though I’ve been so diligent about my training and nutrition?!”
The Great Weightroversy: Why You Gained Weight While You Were Sleeping
I have great news for you…
You did not get fat overnight.
I repeat: You did not get fat overnight.
Let me tell you a little story I bet you can relate to:
I have a client that recently weighed herself. She knows that stepping on the scale is a terrible idea, and really has no reflection on her body… but for whatever reason she felt the need to place two bare feet on the scale just a week after her previous weigh in.
The number staring back did not reflect the hard work she has been putting into her fitness and healthy eating choices.
It was 5 pounds in the wrong direction. Yes, she gained 5 pounds in a single week.
At first, she shrugged her shoulders and moved on trying not to be affected.. But it weighed on her mind (seriously didn’t mean for the pun) and she began to go over what could cause what seemed like overnight weight gain.
This beautiful woman isn’t the first this has happened to.
There have been times when I have weighed myself one day, hopped on the wretched thing the next day just to see an incredibly higher number blinking back at me.
I mean this sort of thing doesn’t happen to my husband, but then again, I also don’t recall my husband ever stepping on a scale… that’s besides the point.
The point is…
Why does weight fluctuate so much?
— Is it possible to gain 5 pounds in a single day? —
The short answer? Yes.
In fact, a woman’s weight can fluctuate as much as five to ten pounds… A DAY!
As annoying as it is, our weight can change not only day to day but hour to hour. Have you ever weighed yourself in the morning and then at night? I’ll bet you 10,000 burpees that you weighed a little more at bed time.
Am I right?
But why? That’s the real question, isn’t it?
The short answer… Because weight sucks.
It’s sole purpose is to bring women down. To make us feel as if we’re not good enough, thin enough, fit enough…
That little number that blinks up at us after a few seconds of standing has the power to lift us up or bring us down.
All it is a number.
What is weight anyways?
It’s a physics equation of mass x gravity. <– That’s the one equation I actually memorized from college physics.
And since the force of gravity goes down the farther away you go from earth, your weight goes down the farther away you are.
Want to know how to instantly lose weight? Take a shuttle into space. Silly but true.
What Does Your Weight Tell You?
And no matter what number we see, are we ever truly satisfied?
I want you to remember that a number does not reflect anything about you or your body. It does not tell you how much of your physique is muscle or fat, it doesn’t tell you how beautiful you are, it tells you diddly squat.
But that’s all explained in this post.
When you hit a goal number, do you think that suddenly your life will be better or happier?
Happiness is a state of mind, not a body size. I truly believe you have to love your body, respect your body, no matter what size you are in order to get the goals you want.
Without self love, you will go about it all the wrong ways (calorie restrictions, over exercising, fad diets, etc).
Loving your body, means doing things the right way… and learning about your body is one way to make that happen. So let’s get back to weight fluctuations.
That’s not the answer you were looking for, was it?
You want to know the cause of your sudden gain so you can breath a sigh of relief knowing that you did not gain 5 or more pounds of fat over night.
The good news is that unless you consumed 14,000+ calories extra over the past day or two, then the weight gain is not fat.
Keep in mind that a single pound of fat is around 3,500 extra calories.
To help put 14,000 calories into perspective, that’s the equivalent of 15 tubes of Pringles, or…
- 24 Big Macs
- 6 Large Cheese Pizzas (Papa Johns)
- 27 Starbucks Venti Caramel Frappuccinos
And I’m just going to go out on a limb here and assume that you did not eat 14,000 calories of food extra over the past day or two. Correct?
So let’s get to it… the reason for gaining instant weight.
The 4 Reasons Why Your Weight Can Change Overnight
I do not weigh my clients if they’re on their period or getting ready to start within the next day or two.
Water retention, constipation, and extra chocolate fixes can cause the number on the scale to go up more than we want to see, especially when we’re already moody as is.
Thanks to changes in the hormones, oestrogen and progesterone, your body holds on to water. This causes both bloat and weight changes starting the week (or so) before your period.
Oh, and then there’s the constipation.
Many women suffer from being “stopped up” right before or during your period. If you’re not “going” then your undigested food is just sitting in your intestines and colon.
Have you ever weighed a full meal? How about 3? They can add up!
Food for thought.
If you suffer from constipation during your period, make sure you’re hydrating your body fully, consider taking a fiber supplement, and make sure to stick to a whole, clean diet. rich in fruits and vegetables.
Remember the client I mentioned at the start? Let’s get back to her.
We sat down and began talking about her normal day to day regimen. She was counting calories and staying in a healthy zone, yet her weight had jumped up.
After asking what her “normal” meals were, she replied by telling me Ramen Noodles were her go to for lunches.
That’s when I experienced my “ah ha” moment.
1 serving of Ramen (each package has 2 servings) has a whopping 830 mg of sodium. And because most people consume an entire pack, let’s just go ahead and say at lunch alone, my client was taking in 1660 mg of salt.
Crazy sodium intake = crazy water retention = rapid weight gain.
Just how much weight can you gain?
Well, a high sodium diet can lead to the body holding on to 1.5 liters of water.
Two cups of water weighs a pound! There are 6 cups in 1.5 liters of water… So that’s 12 extra pounds that can be reflected on the scale. Just from eating too much salt!
To avoid water weight, drink more water (crazy but true) to help flush out the extra sodium. Also eating potassium rich foods (potassium) is a diuretic and can help out: bananas, spinach, beets, and cantaloupe are great choices.
What happened to my client? Within a few days of giving up the Ramen, she was down 5 pounds.
Don’t let the word “carb” lead you to think I am anti-carb. I used to be, in fact it took years for carbs to be okay in my diet. I was a carbophobic. But the truth is, carbs aren’t the devil, they’re a necessity.
The trick is to get high quality carbs.
Here’s the deal…
Your body wants to store carbs away for energy. Carbs are broken into glycogen which is a very easy energy to use. It’s easy to store and readily available.
Here’s the issue…
When you eat more carbohydrates than what your body needs, or simple carbohydrates that are broken down too fast to be managed properly, the carbs (sugar) get stored in your muscles and liver.
They then wait until your body needs a quick burst of energy, perhaps during a workout, a run, to get up the stairs, etc.
But it’s not just the carbs (aka glycogen). Just like salt, water is pulled in as well and each gram of stored glycogen also pulls in about 3-4 grams of water…
So you get the extra weight from the stored glycogen and water.
What’s a woman to do?
- Limit refined and processed carbs like pasta, white bread and of course pastries.
- Focus on good carbohydrates like whole grains, oatmeal, quinoa, and fruits.
And finally, your workouts could be causing your weight to go up.
Have you just started weight training or a new workout program that is leaving the muscles sore and newly challenged?
When you workout, what happens? You cause micro tears to develops which leads to the body creating new muscle fibers for strength and tone.
When this happens, the muscles become inflamed during the recovery process. Extra blood flow and water are pushed to the area to help speed up the process and one of the side effects is, you guessed it, weight gain.
Anytime inflammation is involved, there may be a few extra pounds blinking up. Avoid feeling discouraged by not weighing yourself within the first 48 hours post a hard workout.
Just Give The Scale Closet Time
The next time you think your weight is way off, think about these four things before you let it get you bent out of shape.
Keep in mind that these reasons for weight gain are all temporary! If you feel like you’ve been living off sandwiches and pasta, change over to a few nights of veggies and chicken. Drink 2-3 liters of water per day and feel the bloat (and weight) go away!
Also remember, the scale stinks… and it’s better to rely on things like how your clothes feel, body composition and overall confidence in yourself.
The most liberating thing I’ve ever done was smash our scale! Try it, it’s freeing!
To help take it in that direction, just give your scale some alone time by placing it in a closet or someplace you won’t see it. Out of sight, out of mind.
And if you do weigh yourself, always weigh in the morning. This is the time you’re more likely to see a number you like or at least won’t create a look of shock.
No, rest assured, you DO NOT get fat overnight.
- Do you weigh yourself more than once a week?
- What’s a normal fluctuation for you?