why does my weight fluctuate so much
Hi Panzene -- First of all let me congratulate you on beginning what sounds like a great exercise and strength training program. You are absolutely correct in your assumption that your weight fluctuations are mostly due to water weight. Basic laws of physics would not allow you to gain four pounds of fat in such a short period unless you ate an extra 14,000 calories (each pound of fat contains 3,500 calories). Mild dehydration may cause fluid retention, which can increase scale weight, which may be one of the reasons your weight dropped with increased water intake. Another reason may be due to the fact that training muscles, especially if you are new to weight lifting, causes micro tears in the muscle, which is how muscle is built. This can lead to fluid retention in the muscle itself for a couple of days. I'm not sure if you trained with weights or dropped your water intake on the third day, but this could have led to the increase or may just represent your stabilized weight (which would indicate a one-pound loss in three days, which is great). Your weight can also be affected by carbohydrate consumption, so if you decreased your carbohydrate intake during the initial two days and then had a high-carbohydrate dinner the evening before the third day, this could have led to water loss and then gain because stored carbohydrates, like muscle, also hold water. This is why low-carb diets seem to work so dramatically in the early stages -- stored carbohydrates and water are lost in addition to fat and muscle.
Daily water fluctuations, which are more common in women because of hormonal changes throughout the month, are one of the main reasons that I tell my patients not to weigh themselves every day, especially if they are just starting an exercise program. I prefer that they track their measurements regularly, which are a much better indicator of fat loss and muscle gain. If you are starting an exercise program and find that you are steadily continuing to gain weight over time, evaluate your diet closely for hidden or extra calories. Some people find that exercise increases their appetite, so they may be consuming even more calories than they are burning thereby gaining muscle and fat at the same time. I find sports drinks and energy bars to be common sources of extra calories that may be getting in the way of fat loss. It is important to remember that most people cannot gain more than one to two pounds of muscle per month, so the increase in the scale in 24 hours could not represent actual muscle gain. Other potential causes of short-term weight gain are increased sodium intake (eating a salty dinner the night before can cause a jump in scale weight), constipation and even long-distance travel, which may cause fluid retention and dehydration. So my advice is to stop weighing yourself daily, watch your calorie consumption, and focus on inches rather than pounds for now.
You step on the scale in the morning and the digital numbers flash quickly like a slot machine. Cue imaginary drumroll andБTa-da!
The result is a happy one, and itБs automatically a good day! All those workouts and weekly are finally paying off. But then, you decide to weigh yourself before you go to bed, and the scale shows a four-pound weight increase What the what? RELATED: Did you really gain four actual pounds over the course of a single day? HereБs what you need to know about that shifting number on the scale. The Truth About Weight Fluctuation When it comes down to it, water is a main culprit in weight fluctuation. Daily or hourly changes in weight are often due to how much H20 youБve got inside. БThroughout the day, our body will hold onto fluids as we eat and drink,Б says Kelly Hogan, MS, RD, CDN, clinical nutrition coordinator at the Dubin Breast Center at Mount Sinai Hospital. БJust two cups of water Б and thereБs water in food, too Б can add an extra pound. Б And that has nothing to do with your percent of or muscle. Wondering why you feel lighter after a super sweaty class? While you may weigh less immediately after an intense workout, you might weigh more if your muscles are hoarding fluids. БResistance training or even trying a new workout can result in fluid retention if the muscles are worked hard,Б says Hogan. БPart of the bodyБs response when repairing microscopic tears in muscle is fluid retention. Б RELATED: Keep in mind: When you see that number quickly go up and down on the scale, itБs certainly not pounds of fat magically appearing or disappearing.
БIt [is] physiologically impossible to gain or lose three to five pounds of fat overnight, no matter what the scale says,Б Hogan says. RELATED: What you eat, drink and do during the day plays an important role in how much you weigh. If you eat a lot of, you retain fluid, causing you to feel bloated and potentially see a higher number on the scale. Similarly, carbohydrate intake can influence how much water our bodies hold, since our bodies need additional H20 to store glycogen (carbs) for energy. To save each gram of glycogen, we need three grams of water. БThis is why endurance athletes who carb-load tend to gain water weight in the days leading up to their races, and why people on low-carb diets lose weight so quickly at first,Б Hogan says. Water Weight Gone Wrong Another sneaky source of temporary weight gain:. While body builders and fitness models often intentionally cut down on water before competitions or photo shoots to show off more defined muscles, depleting your body of liquids can actually make you retain water. БWhen we donБt drink enough fluids, our bodies hold on to whatever water we do have in us to maintain fluid balance,Б says Hogan. БThen, our kidneys excrete fewer fluids via urine because theyБre training to maintain that balance, and that can make the scale go up. Б Plus, the rapid, intentional weight loss tactics used by body builders certainly arenБt your best bet for sustainable weight loss. So drink up, and your body will find its liquid equilibrium. (Just make sure youБre not rehydrating at.
Alcohol is particularly dehydrating, so you may see the number on the scale creep upwards after a night on the town. ) RELATED: How to Weigh Yourself If youБre going to put a lot of weight (pun intended! ) into the number on the scale, take a consistent and calculated approach to assess how much your body is actually changing. For starters, do it on the same scale, in the same place and at the same time every week. Wear as few clothes as possible, since heavy jeans or belts will make your measurement less accurate. Also try to go to the bathroom beforehand. (YouБll weigh less after you pee or have a bowel movement. ) When it comes to frequency, you might even want to consider weighing yourself just once or twice a week instead of daily, so youБll avoid the mind games that come with constantly fluctuating numbers. The Bottom Line While the scale can be a useful tool to hold yourself accountable, it shouldnБt be the only way you assess how healthy you are. Your weight may not budge, but you might be making healthy changes to your diet or potentially building muscle. БRemember to look at the big picture,Б says Hogan. БProgress over one or two months says a lot more than a few days or even a week. Б Check in with how your clothes fit, or take weekly measurements of your stomach, thighs, hips and arms. What other amazing things can happen to your body? Check out these that are just as sweet as seeing the scale change.
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