Factors affecting weight fluctuation each day

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Factors affecting weight fluctuation each day

Stepping on a scale in the morning and stepping on a scale the same day in the evening can literally be like night and day.  It’s no surprise everyone’s weight will fluctuate throughout the day which can be very frustrating.  First, stop weighing yourself several times a day.  It’s normal and natural to see a variation by a few pounds in a single day depending on several factors.  The best time to weigh is first thing in the morning after going to the bathroom with little to no clothes on.  Weigh yourself only once a day using the same scale.  This will give you a good baseline to compare from day to day how your weight is being managed. 

A few factors that influence our weight include food choices and amounts, liquids consumed, exercising or not, urinating and even our bowel movements  Each of these have an impact on your body’s water composition and therefore what you weigh at any given moment over the course of 24 hours.  Keep in mind these factors will usually increase artificially what you weigh as the day goes on.

Besides the points stated above, here are other reasons why your weight can change in a single day – and why not to get too excited or anxious when there is a variation:

·      Weigh yourself consistently

By this we mean to first of all, always use the same scale to weigh when at home. Yes, there can be a big difference between what you weigh at home and what you weigh at the doctor’s office.  Scales differ – digital scales are usually more accurate, but whatever type you use, be sure you zero out your scale before stepping on. 

Another factor to consider, especially when weighing at home, is the flooring your scale sits on.  Always place the scale on a hard surfaced, flat floor (no carpeting), stand with your weight even on both feet, and whatever clothes you wear (or don’t) need to be consistent.  Like stated above, weighing yourself first thing in the morning is best and to weigh at least once a week on the same day each week.  Weighing yourself several times a day is not recommended.

·      Exercise’s influence on weight

Exercise can directly influence our weight by either showing a gain or loss of a few pounds. Intense workouts cause variability on the scale due to factors like hydration status, inflammation from muscle damage repair, and even the amount of urine or blood volume.  Hard core athletes, who work out at a vigorous intensity for at least a good hour or more, can sometimes show a drop of 6% to 10% of their body weight after a single exercise session.  For the rest of us, our weight changes will not be as dramatic.  But seeing a pound or two drop or gain in weight is not unusual after hitting the gym. 

·      Medications you’re taking

Depending on what medication you’re taking can result in either weight loss or gain.  Anti-inflammatories, antihistamines, and opiates, can cause some weight loss.  On the other hand, insulin, antidepressants, and some anti-epileptic drugs can make you gain weight.  Discuss with our doctor before taking these medications to see how they may affect your weight.

·      Eating too many salty foods

Not only is too much salt bad for your cardiovascular system, it also can cause water retention showing up as extra weight gain on the scale.  People who have a high salt intake are usually consuming a high-sodium diet by eating too much processed, prepared foods with lots of sodium – more than 200 mg per serving.  Forego the convenience foods and choose instead more naturally low sodium foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and beans. 

·      Failing to take bathroom breaks

Holding either your urine or bowel movements is never a good idea.  When it comes to how it reflects on the scale, not visiting the restroom after a meal or throughout the day can register as extra weight gain.  However, experiencing diarrhea will have the opposite effect in showing weight loss but at the risk of becoming dehydrated.

·      Insufficient sleep

The average adult requires about 7.5 hours of quality sleep per night yet how many of us actually get that?  Lack of sleep affects our ability to lose weight due to two key hormones – ghrelin and leptin.  Ghrelin is the “go” hormone telling you when to eat.  When you are sleep-deprived, you are producing more ghrelin.  Leptin is the hormone telling you to stop eating.  Sleep deprivation results in you producing less leptin.  Basically more ghrelin plus less leptin equals weight gain.  Add in the fact that insufficient sleep also slows down your metabolism or the rate at which you burn calories.  The solution is to develop good sleep habits helping you get the sleep you deserve.