Saturday, January 24, 2015

Does Your Weight Fluctuate?

Every so often, you get the urge to hop on the scale and see where you're at, wondering where your relationship with gravity lies.  Maybe its up, maybe its down.  Who knows how gravity is going to affect you today. Quick physics lesson- The pull of gravity is different at different latitudes, so if you want to weigh a little less, move closer to the equator, or weight a little more go towards the poles.
9 times out of 10 I'd be willing to bet that your mood the rest of the day is going to be a result of what that scale tells you.  The problem is, it doesn't tell you the full story of what's going on in your body.
Before we get to what's going on in your body, lets first take a look at what makes up your scale weight?

  • Muscle
  • Bone
  • Waste
  • Fat
  • Glycogen Storage
  • Water

and let's take a look at what it's not measuring 

  • Sleep Quality
  • Stress
  • Health
  • Strength

Still think it's a good way to measure your progress?  Those are some variables that'll play with the number on the scale.  Yea, to a degree it can show you if you're trending towards your goals, but the mirror, pictures, how you feel and how your clothes fit are better indicators of success and progress.

Weight is going to fluctuate.  It's just how the body works.  It's going to change depending on what time of day it is, what you ate, what you drank, what you wear, what the weather is among many other reasons.  

Here's a little run down of how much your weight could fluctuate in a day.
from Dr. Melina Jampolis, who wrote The No-Time-To-Lose Diet:

For every 16 oz of fluid you consumed, that's an immediate gain of
1 pound

Need to poop?  Being backed up can cause a weight retention of as much as
2 pounds

Air pressure changes in flights that take 4 hours or longer will actually increase fluid retention typically to the tune of
2 to 3 pounds

Have a high sodium dinner and you'll likely find yourself waking up heavier by
2 to 3 pounds (Maybe more)

That time of a month?
Hormone fluctuations for up to a week leading into your period, or for the guys truly connected to their wife's pregnancy, expect a water weight gain of up to
5 pounds

So, if you're a thirsty, constipated, frequent flier, with a penchant for pizza and heading to that time of month, expect a quick shift in the scale of up to:
19 pounds !!

What if you worked out?  Doing any sort of strength training is going to lead to some water gain, not necessarily water retention associated with bloating, but water gain within muscle cells. Sometimes that water retention can last for 4-52 hours.

That's some intense weight gain right there!  Not necessarily fat gain and most likely completely temporary. But the stress and freak out over the tiniest increment will still happen without a thought as to why it might have happened. 

So don't freak out over every little half pound or pound(s) gain or loss.  If you're doing your work, which means eating well, exercising, and adding in daily movement, then you should have nothing to worry about. 

Remember its not about weight loss.  It's about changing your body composition and about fat loss.  

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