Do you weigh yourself daily? Sometimes numerous times a day?
How often do you weigh yourself and get excited if you see a decrease in your weight?
How often do you get disheartened and depressed when you see the number go up? We know that most of our female clients are scales obsessed and have felt like all the above, but we have no doubt that men can and do feel this way too.
Now take a look at the infographic. The Red line is what people think weight loss looks like – nice and steady – linear!
Then take a look at the blue line zig-zags!. As you can see the weight drops, increases, and plateaus. This is what weight loss ACTUALLY looks like.
The red line is what fat loss looks like over time.
Weight loss is not linear. It is perfectly normal for your weight to fluctuate on a day-to-day basis. There will be days when your scale weight goes up, just like there will be days when your weight will drop, and there will also be days (maybe even weeks) when your weight will stay exactly the same.
But you know what? That’s okay because although there are these changes, as you can see from the yellow line running through the graph, the overall trend is going down – and that’s what matters. That is long-term weight loss.
Every person’s graph will look different. Someone with a lot of weight to lose will probably have more dots trending consistently down, for a longer amount of time. For example, someone with 60 kilos to lose will most likely lose weight far more consistently than someone with only 10 kilos to lose. In the same way, someone who has 10 kilos to lose will have more dots trending downward in comparison to someone who has just 2 kilos to lose.
So, what can make your weight fluctuate?
1. Having a big meal late at night. Eating late simply means that less food will be digested by the time you wake up, which may lead to the number on the scale going up.
2. High-sodium food or eating a lot of carbs. Both of these will lead to retaining more water which can lead to the number on the scale going up.
3. Bowel movements …..pretty self explanatory :).
4. Menstrual cycle. Over the course of a month, female hormones fluctuate significantly, which can affect our weight as some of us may bloat more, retain more water and even emotionally eat. So, if you are trying to lose weight, try and control those menstrual cycle cravings and drink plenty of water.
5. Exercise. This can lead to both the number on the scale going up or down. It could go down if you sweat out a lot of water that day. In the same way if you had a heavy leg session for example, and ate a decent amount to help repair the muscles, the water from carbs etc…get stored in the muscles post-training, which could lead to the number on the scale going up.
6. NEAT: Non-exercise activity thermogenesis. Say you usually do 8,000 steps per day and one day you do 15,000 steps: chances are the weight will drop down. In the same way if you usually do 10,000 steps per day and then do 2,000 – the chances are the number on the scale may go up.
7. Alcohol. Alcohol is a diuretic which can lead to a lot of water loss overnight. However, alcohol can also make us eat very salty foods which could lead to weight gain. Either way, drinking alcohol can affect the number on the scale.
8. Finally food mass. If you eat a lot of high-volume foods (vegetables, potatoes, white fish, lean meats etc..) you can eat a much higher volume of food while consuming fewer calories – which is great! If you are in a deficit, you will lose weight – however, sometimes in the short term, eating high-volume foods can lead to an increase in the number on the scale simply because you have more food bulk in your stomach. To put it simply, 200 calories in courgettes will weigh a lot more than 200 calories in pizza.
So as you can see, a lot of things could affect your weight from one day to the next, so don’t get hung up if you wake up a little heavier one morning.
What other measures can we look at instead to assess progress?
Photos: nothing tells a better story than a before and after. Take photos of your progress every couple of weeks. You will be surprised when you look back to where you started.
Measurements: These are imperative, where the scales fail the measurements will reassure you. Having consistent movement in measurements is a more productive way to measure fat loss.
Clothes: how are your clothes fitting you now? Just because the scales are not moving doesn’t mean your body composition is not changing! Are you feeling tighter more toned and less flabby? This means you are slowly reducing fat and building muscle. Those jeans you couldn’t fit into and now you can?? There you go! The scales are not the be and end all!
Mood and natural well-being: Are you feeling happier, you have more get up and go? You’re not as lethargic. These are all the positives of training and fat loss. If you are carrying less weight, you will feel more energetic and inclined to move more.
Summary: sometimes we become too focused on that little demon called the scales and we get de motivated, we want to throw in the towel because those numbers are not what we want them to be. When you do feel that way, read this article again so you have a better understanding of what is happening to your body.
If you have tried various diets and feel you have hit that wall and want to give up. Get in touch! We will help you find your mojo & get you back on track.
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