Listen ya’ll, I am not necessarily team throw out your scale (though we don’t have one at our house) as it can give us SOME insight into trends and if what we are doing is working. But can we PUH-LEESE stop using it as the only measure of success? It breaks my heart when I have a client working so hard, feeling good about their progress, only to jump on the scale and see a number they are bummed about.
So let’s talk about some reasons why the scale might be going up that have nothing to do with weight gain:
You ate a carb heavy meal last night
This is quite common, as every 1 gram of carbohydrate carries 3 grams of water with it. Therefore if you have a high carb meal, you might have that “puffy” feeling the next day. Also, for the record, this is the reason for extreme weight loss in most fad diets and the reason things plateau so quickly.
You worked out yesterday
A tough workout can cause micro tears and inflammation in your muscles. This inflammation in addition to your body retaining some fluid for healing mixes together to create what appears to be weight gain. However the scale will typically level out in a day or two.
You boozed it up last night
Alcohol causes dehydration and when the body is dehydrated our skin and vital organs will try to hold onto as much water as possible. This leads to that “puffy” feeling in the face and elsewhere. Now if we consumed a lot of sugary drinks and went hard on the junk food when our inhibitions were low, then yes there might be some weight gain (especially if this is a regular occurrence). But if you practiced moderation and just enjoyed a night out with friends, there is nothing to worry about.
If you haven’t pooped yet or don’t poop regularly, you might feel bloated or see the scale jump up on days you haven’t gone. Pooping is your body’s elimination and detoxification system so if it ain’t happenin’ then you are quite literally “holding on” to some weight.
Normal weight fluctuations
Our will fluctuate plus or minus about five pounds (more for larger bodies) during the week and that is TOTALLY normal. You might be catching yourself at one of the higher points in the week and letting that frustrate you. If you are committed to weigh-ins, I would suggest doing them more frequently than once a week so that you can normalize these fluctuations and use weekly averages. However, if you are unable to emotionally disassociate from the number on the scale then I don’t recommend weighing in at all. Instead, focus on non-scale measures of progress like having better energy, healthier digestion, clearer skin, better mood, hitting higher numbers in the gym and improved sleep quality.
Want to get myths like this busted once and for all? My group coaching program, Metabolism Foundations, opens next week! It’s an 8 week course that helps you wipe the slate clean of all of the nutrition misinformation out there by understanding what macros are and how they can help you improve your metabolism. If you’re on the fence about it, you can read more here!