The Weightroversy: Why Your Weight Fluctuates So Much

by TaylorR

No, rest assured, you DO NOT get fat overnight.

Yesterday morning we had our weekly weigh-in and body fat check in at boot camp. One of my clients has been really kicking butt at workouts, eating right and staying motivated.

When she stepped on the scale, she was pretty confident that she would see some changes. And she did… 5 pounds heavier.

At first she just shrugged it off and moved on but I could tell it was weighing on her mind (no pun intended… hahaha). So at the end we talked about what was going on.

She isn’t the first person this has happened to, there have been plenty of times when I have weighed myself one day, the hopped on it again the next day and seen an incredibly high number looking back at me.

What gives… it doesn’t seem to ever happen to my husband. Did I really gain freaking 5 pounds in a single day?

Why does weight fluctuate so much?

Because weight sucks.

Okay, that’s not really the reason but I will be honest, I hate gauging fitness success by weight since it doesn’t take body composition into consideration. But that’s all explained in this post.

It’s not crazy for a woman’s weight to fluctuate as much as 5-10 pounds. Our weight, as annoying as it is, fluctuates not only day by day but hour by hour.

Reasons You Weigh More Today

PMS.

I don’t ever 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.

Source

Too much sodium.

Two weeks ago I had a client upset because her weight had creeped up. She then told me she had been eating Ramen noodles for lunch. Ramen = crazy sodium. I told her to cut them out and of course the following week she was 5 pounds lighter.

Sodium holds on to water… two cups of water weighs a pound. Hold on to extra water and see the weight go up. 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.

Storing away carbs.

Don’t let the word “carb” lead you to think I am anti-carb. I used to be, but as a vegan it’s something I have to rely heavily on. The trick is to get high quality carbs.

Here’s the deal… your body wants to store carbs away for energy and it really loves to. Storing up to 15 grams at a time. When you eat more than what your body needs, the carbs get stored in your muscles and liver… where they hang out until your body needs the extra burst of energy. But it’s not just the carbs (aka glycogen), each gram of stored carbohydrates also puts away about 3-4 grams of water….

So you get the extra weight from the stored glycogen and water. Fun times.

Avoid refined and processed carbs like pasta, white bread and of course pastries. Focus on good carbohydrates like whole grains, oatmeal, quinoa, and fruits.

Just Give The Scale Closet Time

So the next time you think your weight is way off, think about these three things before you let it get you bent out of shape. 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. 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 site, 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 can tolerate looking back at you.

  • Do you weigh yourself more than once a week?
  • What’s a normal fluctuation for you?

 

  • http://glistenup1.tumblr.com/ Rebecca

    That’s awesome to know! I weigh almost every morning! I have Crohn’s Disease and if I’m having a rough week, I can fluctuate from 130lbs to 122lbs. I usually find my happy weight is between 124 & 128, but I don’t sweat it because I know it fluctuates that much quite frequently. If it goes above or below those boundaries though, I feel like something is wrong. Thanks for the great article!

    • http://www.theartofweightlifting.com TaylorR

      Rebecca I am sorry you have to deal with Crohns! Definitely don’t sweat the sudden changes, it seems like you have a great grasp on your body and how it fluctuates. It’s only when you see the slow and steady creep that it’s time to think about real weight gain. Thanks for reading!

  • Jennifer

    I also didn’t see you mention muscle mass. I know when I first got into real workouts and weight training before I loss fat I initially gained muscle which weighs more than fat and so I gained but then as the fat decreased I actually stabilized so I didn’t get super thin I lost inches and weighed a little less—but I also had more muscle. I appreciate the other things you mentioned I am learning to gauge things better.

    • http://www.theartofweightlifting.com TaylorR

      That is a good point. I mentioned it in the link I posted in the page on why the scale stinks in general. A lot of women first see their weight change going up when first adding weight training and then after about 3-4 weeks, it starts to go down as fat is burning off. Thanks for reading!

  • http://betterbodiespt.com Greg

    Just to be clear, the quality of the carb you ingest isn’t going to affect how much weight you gain from glycogen replenishment. Rather, it will be the quantity of carbs you ingest that will dictate how much glycogen & water you hold on to. Other than that, spot on…good article!

    • http://www.theartofweightlifting.com TaylorR

      Thanks for clarifying Greg. Though I personally believe through the research that I have read the the quality of carb do play a role. Processed versus natural carbs definitely take a different toll on the body.

  • http://fromfittofigure.wordpress.com Michelle

    Oh yeah my weight will fluctuate about 3-5lbs depending on the day! I normally don’t weight myself everyday…only once a week because it’s very easy to become obsessive about it. Great post!

  • http://eatrunsail.blogspot.com Elle

    This is such great advice.. it does happen to me occasionally and I chalk it up to sodium. I hardly every eat those kind of carbs anymore.

    Thanks so much.

    • http://www.theartofweightlifting.com TaylorR

      Same for me, its normally because of a sudden craving for the salty stuff! Thanks for reading.

  • http://www.lovelifesurf.com Christine @ Love, Life, Surf

    “Because weight sucks” << Yes! I don't weigh myself often because I know that I can become fixated on the number. I try to gauge my progress on how I feel and how my clothes fit. I do step on the scale every few weeks though just as a spot check but my weight does fluctuate within a 5-7 pound range and has since I can remember.

    • http://www.theartofweightlifting.com TaylorR

      Yup Christine, I am the same way. As long as my jeans zip up easily and they aren’t getting tight in the thighs I am happy. :)

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  • http://google.com why kids love cats

    I wanted to thank you for this very good read!
    ! I absolutely loved every bit of it. I have got you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post…

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  • kristina

    Thanks this article has put my mind at ease. I didn’t know if it was normal for my weight to go up and down 7 to 10 lbs a day. I have always battled my weight my entire life. I recently lost 150 lbs and have kept it off for almost a year and a half. So thanks for letting me know it is normal to fluctuate.

    • http://www.fitwomensweekly.com TaylorR

      Congrats on your success!

  • Heidi

    Two years after you wrote this, it’s still helping people. Thanks for keeping me motivated. After a couple weeks of consistent workouts and better eating, I have been pulling my hair out watching my weight creep UP instead of down. Only 3 pounds, but I still stand there on the scale, asking the Weight Gods, “Why? From WHERE?! It should be going DOWN!”
    Knowing my period has a lot to do with it helps, and also knowing that others go through this, too. My clothes are fitting better, so it’s got to be my cycle and hopefully, muscle weight.

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