That seemingly benign device that rests on your bathroom floor can dramatically affect the way you feel, your attitude and your self confidence. From elation and euphoria (as the needle drops) to the depths of despair (as the numbers tick up), the scale can totally do a number on your esteem. But what you probably don’t know is how often your scale lies. If you’re one of those people who weighs themselves routinely, you probably have noticed that those numbers fluctuate…a lot. While the number is technically the truth, the story behind the number is often a lie. Especially if you’re trying to lose weight, you may obsess over the smallest changes the scale gives you, but what you may not realize, is that number sometimes has nothing to do with fat gained or fat lost.
In fact, your weight can fluctuate up to 5 pounds in a day. That means if you weigh yourself in the morning and then again at night, you could witness a relatively dramatic difference. The problem comes into play if you equate that difference with fat pounds and even worse let those changes impact the way you perceive your body. Because, while it’s totally possible to lose or gain a pound of fat in a day (exercise biggest loser style and starve yourself // one trip to the nearest burger joint), it’s relatively unlikely. There are, however, a bunch of reasons (aside from fat) that the scale moves. Intrigued? Check out my Top 5 Reasons Your Weight Fluctuates.
1. Water Habits: Drinking fluids or being dehydrated (which causes fluid retention) can make you temporarily heavier; sweating, going to the bathroom or taking a diuretic can temporarily make you lighter.
2. Your Clothes: I know this might sound silly, but it’s an important point to remember. If you weigh yourself in your birthday suit in the morning and a pinstriped suit in the afternoon, your clothing, jewelry, and shoes can add up to 5 pounds. Be sure to weigh yourself the same way (dressed or undressed) for best accuracy.
3. Colonic Activity: The last time you passed a bowel movement makes all the difference when it comes to your weight especially if you’ve taken in a large amount of food. It’s best to weigh yourself after using the bathroom.
4. High Carbohydrate Meals: Foods that are rich in carbs can cause a little water log! That extra water retention may cause your scale to artificially inflate for a short time.
5. Hormones: Ladies, this is for you! Especially right around the time of your period, hormonal changes can cause increases in your weight. That bloated feeling can bloat the reading on your scale. Don’t stress! The added weight usually disappears a few days after your period ends.
So instead of falling into the trap where you obsess over numbers (that lie anyway), obsess instead with getting your body as healthy as possible by eating clean and exercising regularly. Focus on the way you feel and how you feel in your clothes. Remember, you are more than a number on a scale and while you might have some extra fat to lose, you are not fat.
You are fabulous.