Why does my weight fluctuate so much?
Whether you’re conscious of your diet and exercise regime or not, weight fluctuations happen to most of us every day, for the most minor of reasons. However, it can initially be concerning if you hop on the scales in the morning and see one number, then hop on at night and see something 5lbs heavier or lighter.
To put your mind at ease and remind you that the numbers on a scale are not the be all and end all, here are five of the most common reasons for weight fluctuations:
1. You’re retaining water
Excess water hanging around in your system can trick you into thinking you’ve gained weight. Foods that are high in carbs and salt can make you retain water, as can the hormonal changes right before your period, so a lot of the time a dramatic weight increase in the space of a day or two is actually just water. Fear not: you will pee or sweat it out. If it’s really bothering you, make sure you’re doing aerobic exercise 3-4 times a week, and try not to consume carbs or salt excessively. In extreme cases and if the water retention is causing you discomfort, consult your doctor, who may be able to prescribe something to help.
2. You’ve just eaten
Regardless of how healthy your dinner was, if you step on the scales immediately after eating, it’s going to appear like you’ve gained weight. The food is still sitting in your stomach, you haven’t fully digested it yet, and so it appears on the scales as extra weight. This will soon be adjusted once you’ve pooed (sorry), which brings us to…
3. You’re constipated
If you haven’t been able to poop, you’ll be hanging on to all that food you’ve consumed since your last successful bathroom trip, so you’ll probably see a higher number on the scales. But, worse, you’re probably feeling pretty uncomfortable. Make sure you’re getting enough fibre and staying hydrated, and your bowels – as well as your weight – should regulate.
4. You’ve just exercised
Immediately after you’ve exercised, if you haven’t rehydrated, your weight can drop a pound or two. This is due to a loss in water, so make sure you’re drinking plenty and don’t risk becoming dehydrated.
5. You’re weighing yourself too often
All of the above weight fluctuations can happen in a day, or from one day to the next, and you probably wouldn’t notice them so much if you weren’t hopping on the scales too much. If you are in the habit of weighing yourself, cut it to once a week, and you’ll probably see a much steadier maintenance of your body weight. Life is too short to spend it on the scales.
And remember, if you’re gaining or losing a significant amount of weight without any real explanation, always consult your doctor for advice.