If you have embarked on your fitness journey with the goal of losing weight, the reward for your hard work is watching the pounds come off as you creep closer and closer toward your target weight. Your determination can drive you to your scale too frequently, however, which can put you on an emotional roller coaster as those numbers on the scale seem to rise and fall no matter how religiously you work out or how precisely you calculate your caloric intake. Find out why your weight fluctuates from day to day and how you should weigh yourself for a more accurate assessment of which direction your weight is trending.
It's Just One Number
Whether your goal is to lose weight or maintain your achieved target weight, you may be relying too heavily on what the scale tells you when you step on it. Put things into perspective by thinking about what that number on the scale indicates. It is a measurement of the weight of your overall mass. It does not indicate how much of your weight is muscle versus how much of your weight is fat, and even a number that indicates your ideal weight does not tell you the whole story as to how healthy you actually are. If you obsess over that one number, you will actually be disconnected with your true body awareness. You will not be focused on your overall health status. While weighing yourself is helpful to track your progress in your quest for ideal weight, the number is only one piece in the puzzle of overall health and fitness, and a number of factors can cause that number to fluctuate from day to day, no matter how diligently you follow your nutrition and exercise regimens.
If you have been conducting a faithful relationship with your scale every day, you have probably noticed that your weight could be five pounds more one day and three or four pounds less the next. Since a single pound of fat equates to 3,500 calories, it is safe to sigh with relief in the knowledge that your Saturday dinner indulgence was not the likely cause Sunday's five-pound increase in the number on the scale. Weight fluctuations can occur as the result of the following:
- Digestion backup
- Water retention
- Hormonal changes, such as those that come from increases in stress or from menstrual cycling
- Excess sodium intake
- Excess sugar intake
Even weighing yourself at different times of the day from one weigh date to the next can reveal normal fluctuations in your weight. Just as these factors are powerful enough to cause your weight to fluctuate back and forth, that number on the scale can have a powerful enough impact to make or wreck your day if you continue to weigh yourself too often.
Weekly Weight Check
Stow that bathroom scale out of sight, and instead of weighing yourself on three, five or seven days every week, choose one day of the week on which you will pull the scale out of exile for a weekly weight check. If you like to relegate a weekend day as your treat day, consider weighing yourself every Friday morning. Consistency is crucial for these weigh-in sessions, so be sure to practice the following tips:
- Weigh yourself on the same day of the week.
- Weigh yourself in the morning before you eat or drink anything and after you urinate. If you typically have a bowel movement first thing in the morning, then have a seat on the porcelain throne before you step onto the scale.
- Either wear the exact same clothing or strip down completely every time you weigh yourself.
- Write down or enter your weight into a log.
Once you have entered four weekly weights into your log, begin to institute an averaging system. Each week when you weigh yourself, calculate the average of that day's weight and those of the previous three weeks. Log your averages as well as your weekly weight. As you also log in these averages from week to week, you will be able to confirm whether or not you are staying on track toward your ideal weight goal. Ladies, you can expect your weight to fluctuate over the course of your menstrual cycle. By averaging four weeks of weight readings, these normal fluctuations are taken into account.
Losing weight can be challenging. Achieving your ideal weight, optimal health and peak fitness takes hard work and sacrifices. Naturally, you want to see positive results from your dedicated efforts, but seeing normal day to day fluctuations on the scale can lead to disappointment, frustration and anxiety. By weighing yourself once a week and focusing on the four-week averages, you can spare yourself those feelings of stress and defeat, and you will probably observe that you are doing a good job with your nutrition choices and fitness routine. Such a realization will inspire you to continue on your fitness journey toward successfully achieving your weight loss doctor's recommended goals for weight loss and better health. For more help, reach out to weight loss clinics in your area.