Do you find yourself frustrated by the constant fluctuation of your scale weight on check in day? Don’t worry! You aren’t alone. I have been weighing myself now for about 10 months daily for my current training regimen. Yes you read that right. Every day. As soon as I get up in the morning, use the bathroom, disrobe, then I get on the scale and record my weight. I was taught to do it this way because it is the most consistent scenario to measure your weight on a regular basis. Generally I always get up around the same time each day, haven’t ate or drank anything, have no clothes on, so my weight should be about the same every day right? The answer is NO.
Granted, if you do weigh yourself at different times of the day, wearing different shoes or clothing, or after eating different meals, you will see a difference in your scale weight from that alone.
But lets say you, like me, weigh yourself first thing in the morning and you are still showing inconsistent weight fluctuations. Are you really gaining or losing fat or muscle that quickly? Chances are, no. Daily weight fluctuations are normal and this is why I simply record the number to look at the overall pattern. There are many factors that can make your scale weight jump up or down on a daily basis. So we can’t let it affect us mentally and think that we made poor diet choices or didn’t go hard enough at the gym the previous day. Here are the different scenarios that I have personally noticed over the past 10 months that affect my scale weight.
Hormonal fluctuations. Unfortunately for the ladies this is a real issue. You will notice the scale head upward around certain times of the month. This is why you cant let it bother you as you will notice it will soon regulate itself.
Water retention. I notice quite often that I will see a spike in my scale weight if I didn’t drink enough during the previous day or if I consumed a high sodium meal. Usually a day of proper hydration and diet and my scale weight returns to its norm.
GI delays. Yes that’s right. If you didn’t do your number #2 the day before or whenever you regularly go, this could also cause a little weight gain.
High calorie burned days. Sometimes I will notice a dip in the scale after I had a busy day at the gym where I burned more than my usual calories. If it was a cardio and lift day, for example. I don’t get too excited because I know it will level off the next day or so.
Sickness or illness. You will usually see some crazy fluctuations after being sick. You could be dehydrated, retaining water, didn’t take in many calories. During my flu I lost 4 pounds in a week on the scale.
Inconsistent food choices. I usually eat the same selections of foods day to day. If I keep consistent, my scale weight usually does too. However, if I go on vacation or travel and I change my eating patterns and food selection, the scale gets quite erratic. Once again, I simply record it and move on. It levels off once I get back to normalcy.
Who knows? Every so often I cant quite figure out why the scale weight dipped or spiked. This is why I don’t obsess over it.
So when all factors are considered, it is great to weigh yourself often. However, you want to look at the overall pattern from a bigger picture. For example, how much have I gained or lost over a months time? Even weekly weigh ins can be hard to judge. A better judge of your progress is through measurements and pictures. The scale can be very hard to mentally handle sometimes, especially if you feel like you really are doing well on your diet and exercise regimen. Often through pictures I have seen tremendous progress in my body composition change with very little scale weight difference between the before and after pictures.
Moral of the story: Record your weight for record keeping sake, but don’t dwell on it!