As you’re following a medical weight loss plan, or any weight loss strategy, you want to see those numbers on the scale gradually getting smaller. So it’s no wonder that you feel perplexed and frustrated when they don’t seem to budge. Or, even worse, on some days the number might go back up! What’s causing this, and what should you do about it?
It’s important to remember that numbers on a scale don’t tell the entire story regarding changes within your body. Yes, we aim to see that number gradually decrease over time. But that doesn’t mean the progress will always appear even, or that “plateaus” (during which you don’t appear to be losing weight) won’t appear. These things happen. But to a large degree, they’re due to the fact that scales simply can’t measure everything going on within your body. It doesn’t mean your medical weight loss plan isn’t working.
Consider all of the different factors that can influence the number you see on the scale:
Sweat. If you’ve just finished an extra strenuous workout, especially on a hot day, you’ve probably lost some “weight” through sweat. It’s not the type of weight loss that changes your body composition, but it still shows up on the scale.
Sodium. Eating a meal high in sodium can lead to a bloated feeling as you retain water, and that water retention might show on the scale too.
Hormonal fluctuations. Stress hormones can impact fluid retention, metabolism, and digestion, leading to fluctuation numbers on the scale. Women’s cyclical hormones can also contribute to water retention, so many women way more on their first day of their cycles than at any other time of the month.
Actual weight of food and drink . Whatever you put into your body has mass too, until you digest it. So it’s going to show on the scale. If you just drank two big glasses of water, guess what: You’ll see an extra pound on the scale.
Bowel movements. As you might have expected, food weight is eventually expelled. But if you’re constipated, that can add a bit of weight until you’ve used the bathroom.
You can probably see why it can be so important to weigh yourself at the same time and under the same conditions (as much as possible) each time. Also, don’t stress too much about weighing yourself daily. Focus on weekly or even biweekly weigh-ins instead, and you’ll see gradual downward progress as your medical weight loss plan progresses.
Avoiding constant weighing can help to reduce stress. But if you need more support, call our office to schedule a consultation.