Does the scale take you on an emotional roller coaster ride? Does it play mind games with you? Do you notice one day you are lighter and then the next day you’re back up again?
Believe it or not, it is perfectly normal for our body weight to fluctuate daily. It’s when the scales continue to climb upward on a regular basis that you most likely are gaining body fat (or building muscle). Also, just because you show a decline on the scales overnight doesn’t necessarily mean you lost body fat either.
Fluctuations often have nothing to do with losing or gaining body fat but more to do with fluid retention, inflammation, indigestion, gas, menstrual cycle, constipation, hormone fluctuations, etc. For example, when we become dehydrated we lose water weight and so the scale goes down, and in severe cases, it can take quite a drop. Salt contributes to water retention and with high salt consumption you may see an increase on the scale throughout the day or even the next morning. Poor digestion, constipation, and menstrual cycles can cause drastic fluctuations as well. I personally have gained more than 5 lbs in one week just due to my menstrual cycle. If we become inflamed from a poor diet or experience muscle soreness from very hard intense workouts, we may increase the number on the scale. Don’t be alarmed if you gain weight when starting a new fitness routine, especially a vigorous one. As your body builds new tissue and muscle, it requires increased water and blood flow to help make that happen. As you can see, there are a ton of perfectly normal reasons why the scale moves up and down and none of it has to actually do with gaining or losing body fat.
If you are weighing yourself everyday, you will drive yourself crazy. I recommend weighing yourself no more than once a week on the same day and same time. Do this in the morning before you eat, before you shower, and do it naked. This once per week activity will give you a more accurate idea of what you really weigh. If your scale is causing you emotional havoc, put it away and use another way to measure your progress. Other methods involve taking body measurements, using a pair of pants, or keep a personal journal of how you feel and what you are eating. The most important thing is that you choose a method that will give you a way to assess yourself without upsetting you.
Life is too short to be unhappy!