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You step on the scale and rejoice. You’re down three pounds this week! Then, the next day, you step on the scale again… Now you’re up two pounds? You’ve only lost one pound? What is going on?
This scenario is frustrating, and all too common for those following a weight loss plan. What causes these weight fluctuations, and how do you know if you’re really losing weight?
Water. You’ve heard the term “water weight” before, but what does it really mean? Think about what you’re weighing each time you step on the scale. You’re not just measuring your body fat; you’re weight everything inside your body. Theoretically, you could drink half a gallon of water just before your weigh-in, and add a pound to your final measurement. Obviously that doesn’t mean that you’ve gained a pound of fat!
The simple truth is that our food and water impacts the number we see on the scale, so your weight could appear to fluctuate from one day to the next. This is especially true if you eat something very salty, which will cause you to retain water temporarily.
Your workout schedule. You’ve followed your eating plan precisely, and you’re exercising regularly. In fact, you finished a difficult workout yesterday, and you’re feeling proud of yourself. But you might not see instant results on the scale, because intense exercise (particularly weight lifting) triggers a bit of inflammation and water retention. You’ll see results over time, though.
Your menstrual cycle. Yes, the old wives’ tales are true: Women do retain water just before their periods are due – sometimes as much as five pounds! If this is the case, avoid weigh-ins during that week of the month, if you find fluctuating numbers discouraging.
Your bathroom habits. To put it delicately, anything “retained” in your digestive tract will impact your final weigh-in number. So, if you’ve been suffering from constipation, that could affect your weight a bit. Hopefully you will remedy that by eating plenty of fiber-rich fruits and veggies, which are probably a staple of your weight loss plan anyway.
These are just some of the (usually temporary) factors that can lead to weight fluctuations. If you’re feeling frustrated by the numbers you see on the scale, give us a call. We’ll make an appointment to discuss your weight loss plan, and help you get back on the right track.