There are a large number of reasons for scale fluctuations; the scale fluctuates and our scale weight changes daily whether we are working towards fat loss goals or not.
If you are like many, you feel emotionally impacted by small, inconsequential tenths of a pound, data readings that should be viewed as a matter of biology more than anything else. This is an area of great focus between coach & client in many cases, the freeing of oneself from the emotional relationship with a tool that does not define our entire health journey
At PLT Nutrition, we don’t ask our clients to weigh daily, we suggest 4x per week; every other day, and this enables us to adequately track their average weight. If someone prefers to weigh daily with no emotional attachment, that is of course perfectly fine.
Here are some common factors that can contribute to scale fluctuations:
1. Water Retention: Water retention is a common cause of temporary weight gain. Factors such as higher than normal salt intake, hormonal changes, certain medications, and even weather conditions & travel can affect fluid balance in the body.
2. Food Intake: Consuming a large meal or eating foods high in sodium or carbohydrates can lead to temporary weight gain due to increased water retention. Similarly, a period of restricted food intake or following a low-carbohydrate diet can result in weight loss.
3. Exercise/Strength Training: Strength training causes mini tears in your muscles, which is how muscle growth occurs. These tears, however, can lead to fluid retention in the muscle and cause a weight gain immediately after your workout. This may last for a few days and could explain why you weigh more after you lift weights. Everyone knows the ‘day after leg day’ scale situation right?!
4. Alcohol: Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it increases urine production and can lead to increased fluid loss. This can result in dehydration, causing your body to lose water and reduce overall body weight. Alcohol can also interfere with the body's hormone regulation, leading to decreased water retention. As a result, your body might release excess water, further contributing to a temporary reduction in weight.
5. Hormonal Changes: Hormonal fluctuations, particularly in women, can influence water retention and body weight. Menstrual cycles, pregnancy, and menopause can all contribute to scale fluctuations.
6. Digestive System: Variations in digestive processes, including the amount of food in the gastrointestinal tract or the rate of digestion, can affect weight measurements. Waste material in the digestive system or constipation can temporarily increase weight.
7. Medications and Supplements: Some medications, such as corticosteroids or certain antidepressants, can cause weight fluctuations as a side effect. Additionally, certain supplements or vitamins may influence water balance or metabolism, affecting weight measurements.
8. Stress and Emotional Factors: Psychological factors, including stress, anxiety, and emotional eating, can impact weight. Stress hormones can affect metabolism and appetite, leading to weight fluctuations.
9. Time of Day: Body weight can vary throughout the day due to factors such as food and fluid intake, bowel movements, and physical activity levels. Weighing yourself at different times of the day can yield different results.
PLT Nutrition focuses on long-term trends, averages, overall well-being, and body composition changes rather than day-to-day fluctuations.
It's important to be aware that scale fluctuations are naturally occurring even when following the PLT Approach or any other healthy lifestyle and approach to fat loss.