5 Reasons Your Weight Spikes
Daily weight fluctuation is normal. If you weigh yourself consistently you’ve probably noticed the weight on the scale can fluctuate significantly from one day to another, and even hour to hour. Even though we all know this, it can freak us out!
Our immediate thoughts are that we’ve put on fat. All weight gain must be fat, right? Wrong. There are many factors that can affect the weight on the scale that have nothing to do with your body composition:
You ate more salt than usual: Consuming high amounts of sodium leads to water retention. Some people may be more sensitive to sodium and retain water even with moderate salt consumption.
You ate more carbs than usual: For every gram of carbs you consume your body retains 3 grams of water. For that reason, if you consume a high-carbohydrate meal, you’re likely to see the scale move. Refined carbohydrates like pasta, pizza, bagels, cookies, and pastries are also high in sodium, so it’s a double edged sword. One pasta dinner isn’t going to result in “real” weight gain, but it may move the needle on the scale.
You ate later than normal: Calories are calories no matter what time you consume them. Eating late at night is not inherently bad, but, consuming large meals late at night will affect your scale weight in the morning.
You’re stressed out: When we’re stressed, our bodies release higher levels of our stress hormones: cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. Whether you didn’t get enough sleep, are busy at work, going through hardships at home, or just rundown your body’s stress response causes you to retain water and feel bloated. Learning how to effectively manage stress is one of the easiest ways to keep your weight steady.
You lifted heavier than usual: Maybe you PR’d on your squat or deadlift, or maybe you just pushed it a little harder than usual in your workout. Whenever we stress our bodies past their normal thresholds we cause small tears in the musculature. These tears begin to absorb water to start the healing process which may lead to a noticeable uptick in scale weight for a short time.
There’s a long list of reasons that daily weight fluctuations happen. Most of these changes are due to water retention from normal bodily functions. So next time, before you “freak out,” remember there is no such things as your “normal weight.” Our weight is supposed to fluctuate from day to day, and that’s just how the body runs.
Additionally, there is no reason to slash calories or go on a binge diet to make up for a vacation or weekend food bender. You can typically chalk up a 3-7lb vacation weight gain to an increased intake of sodium, carbs, and being out of your normal sleep/wake/eat routine. Give yourself a week to re-acclimate to your routine, and you should see the scale dip back down.
In closing, if your goal is to lose weight and change your body composition, I recommend focusing on the monthly fluctuations in scale weight. This will be a better indicator of your progress. If you have any questions, please feel free to let me know.