Many peoples goal when they start going to the gym is to lose weight. I’m not talking 50-60lbs here I mean those who want to lose 5-10lbs, tone up and increase their fitness levels. The scales is something that is ingrained in peoples minds as the best measure of progress. It can demotivate and depress you like nothing else when the numbers aren’t moving in the direction that you want.
There are so many reasons why there are fluctuations in the scales and it absolutely should not be used as your number one measure of progress. A persons’ weight can fluctuate anywhere from 5-8lbs in one day (more in some cases). Here are some of the reasons why:
1. Weighing yourself at different times of the day
Morning weight and evening weight can vary drastically. In the morning you wake up with no food or water in your stomach. Think about how much you eat/drink during the day and the actual weight of the things you are consuming. This will affect the scales so if you are weighing yourself, doing so in the morning without taking any drinks and after using the toilet is the best time and will give you the most accurate representation of your true body weight.
2. You ate a lot of salt
Sodium consumption also affects your scale weight. Your body will retain water when you eat salt. Different people have different sensitivities to this but if you have a salty meal in the evening, it’s very likely you will be weighing heavier than usual the following morning.
3. You’ve eaten more carbs than usual
Like sodium, carbs will cause water retention. This is not to say eating carbs is bad, but in a similar way to sodium, a carb heavy meal will increase your scale weight in the following hours.
4. Time of the month
Your period can affect your weight for up to a week before you start until day 3-4 of your cycle. Hormonal changes around this time again lead to fluid retention and fluctuations in your scale weight.
These are just some of the reasons that your weight will fluctuate on a daily basis. Other things like not having gone to the toilet and stress can affect the scales too. Unless you have eaten 20,000-30,000 calories you have not gained 5lbs of fat. Using the following methods to measure your progress will prove to be more accurate:
- Measure yourself
- Take progress pictures
- Try on clothes for comparison
- Measure body fat %
- Keep a note of your stamina and energy levels