Hey Angels and Alphas,
Whether you’re someone who has been on a weight loss journey for years or you’re someone who just stepped on the treadmill for the first time, you probably know that one of the most common ways people measure weight loss progress is through the number on the scale.
And even though there are many better ways you can approach tracking your weight loss progress, the scale will always remain one of those fundamental weight management tools that you just can’t help but stand on.
That being said, we can’t change the fact that a flat, arbitrary number could not really be indicative of day-to-day progress.
As a matter of fact, if you’re someone who weighs themselves every day, you’re probably used to seeing the number on the scale change every day.
While you do lose or gain weight over the long term, your weight is reflective of a combination of things less impactful – simple fluctuations in your day-to-day life. And objective, continuous loss of weight every day is just an illusion.
Let’s talk about a few reasons why this happens and what you can do about it.
First of all, foods and drinks have a physical weight. I’m sure this is incredibly obvious to you, but foods and beverages have a mass completely unrelated to calories which influence your weight in the short term. Drinking two cups of water and stepping on the scale will have you around a pound heavier due to the mass of that liquid, even though it has no calories whatsoever. But this doesn’t mean you’ve actually gained a pound of weight, muscle, or anything else for that matter.
Another thing that can cause quasi-weight increase is your fluid balance due to carbs and sodium. Sweat and dehydration can create losses, but water retention from sodium and carbs can cause temporary weight gain. For example, athletes in pre-workout or carb-loading stages require high carbs to load the muscles and the liver with glycogen to burn while training. While they’re great for increasing energy, every gram of carbs stores around 2-3 grams of water with it.
And third, we can’t talk about weight fluctuations and not mention sweat. A lot of athletes fall for dehydration during long, hard workouts, especially during hot conditions. Dehydration due to sweat can amount to 3 to 5 pounds of body weight, creating more fluctuations. And even if you’re just an everyday gym-goer, you can literally weigh yourself before and after a workout and you will see what a massive difference this can make to your weight. How hydrated or dehydrated you are is also another big factor in what number you’re going to see when you step on the scale in the morning.
That’s why weighing yourself is best done in the mornings, on an empty stomach, before you’ve done anything else.
Weighing yourself before and after workouts can also give you a pretty good idea of how much water you’re sweating out so you can replenish fluids you lost accurately and have the most accurate weighing experience you can.
And remember, even though weighing yourself can help you recognize patterns in weight and help you track progress week-to-week, there are many better ways you can go about daily progress tracking. And realize that the weight you see on the scale is going to fluctuate not only daily, but hour by hour.
Don’t get too bent out of shape if you see that you’ve been gaining weight a few days in a row. And don’t get too excited if you suddenly see yourself dropping weight like crazy. Track daily and pay attention to the patterns you see – they will give you actual indications on whether you’re making progress or not.