What Causes Weight Fluctuations?
Proper health and fitness are more than just a number. But, when you step on a scale, only to end up with a new digit every single day, it can feel quite infuriating. These weight fluctuations are a lot more common than people realise.
According to experts, a typical bodyweight of a healthy adult can fluctuate from 1 kg to around 2 kg in a day. Then you have the weekend weight fluctuations, seasonal patterns, and holiday weight changes. Here, you can find out exactly why that happens.
8 Typical Causes for Weight Fluctuations People Overlook
Weight fluctuations, also known as weight variations between weekdays and weekends are not signs of weight gain, research shows. They are completely normal. But, long-term habits could have a profound impact on these splurges.
Some fluctuations could be harmful. For almost every kilogram of weight variation, the risk of a cardiovascular event or coronary problem spikes by 4% and mortality risk by 9%.
When there is a drastic increase on the scale, like a couple of extra kilos, then odds are, it can affect weight and overall health state. That’s why it is crucial to identify the causes. For optimal health, people should strive to keep a lifelong healthy weight.
So, even if they do shed a few extra pounds, or gain them back, they won’t cause too much of a dramatic change. These are the most noteworthy factors that can affect the way you weigh yourself.
1. Bowels and Plummeting Weight Fluctuations
Did you know: the human body can create 125g to 170g worth of stool a day? While a typical daily stool weight is about 106g. Everyone’s body is different, so the number of bowel movements is sure to vary.
But, this is still an important factor when considering weight variations. The reason for that is relatively simple. When the nutrients consumed are still in transit or waiting to be digested, they will add a couple of extra grams on the scale.
Even after the food leaves the system, some of its material will remain in transit. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure 24h to 48h for full gut transit. To boost bowel movements and digestion, try to eat more dietary fiber than you usually do.
2. Water Retention and Weight Variations
A typical adult body is made up of 60% water. With fluid retention, bloating and weight fluctuations can happen. Although they last a short time, they can significantly affect your scale results. Anything from dehydration to exercise, and urine weight, can force the weight to fluctuate.
It is possible problems like obesity, malnutrition, capillary damage, hormones, or the lymphatic system have some impact on maintaining fluid balance in the system.
Take traveling for example. When you drive or travel long distances, you are most likely to experience dehydration and fluid retention. Some people who are on a tight schedule don’t even have the time to maintain adequate nutrition, let alone watch their hydration.
These are all key factors that can interfere with weight variation. To change that, you might want to take a step back and evaluate your body’s needs. Whatever the system requires, you should take care of it, so that the retention can eventually subside.
3. Extra Carbs and Piling Fluctuations
If you are a fan of pasta, rice, bread, and starchy goodies, then the weight you see on the scale could be directly influenced by the food you consume. For each extra gram of carbs, the system will retain about 3g of water to maintain the fuel source.
That’s why a meal packed with carbs is more likely to make you feel fat. Although you won’t have necessarily gained a few extra kilos, the weight will still fluctuate because of the meal you consumed. Of course, carbs are not the only culprit.
After you eat any meal, the body will need time to process the food. So, consuming 2 cups of water from any consumable, whether it is food or a beverage, can ramp up the weight by around 450g to up to a kilo. Depending on how much you’ve eaten.
This won’t mean that everything you munched on will stick to the thighs. You just need to give it time to be properly excreted and processed.
4. Energy Balance and Changing Weight
The idea behind maintaining optimal weight is to use up more calories than you actually eat. This will provide just the right energy balance, therefore managing the weight. But, when people eat more calories than they actually burn, that’s when the scale shows different results.
5. Physical Activity and Weight Variations
The more you exercise, the sooner the body sweats and gets rid of the excess water weight. Nutritional experts believe that the average person loses roughly 25-45 ounces of fluid an hour while exercising. This is particularly noted in individuals who do intensive cardiovascular activity.
Options like weight lifting and strength training can also make the body retain excess water. Depending on the intensity, they could also trigger some level of muscle tears and soreness. The body will later use that water to fix the damage.
6. Medicine and Changes in Weight
Specific medications can make the body pile a few extra grams. They could interfere with your appetite and lead to water retention. If you’ve been taking medications for mood disorders, metabolic conditions, migraines, or seizures, then you are more likely to experience regular and abrupt weight fluctuations.
If the prescriptions are constantly adding more numbers on the scale, then you might need a new prescription. Consult with a physician or a pharmacist for the best course of action. Whatever you do, don’t try to change the doses by yourself. The goal is to ensure optimal health, not compromise your current health state.
7. Menstruation and Scale Fluctuations
Bloating is a typical occurrence during the menstrual cycle. At least 3 in 4 women become bloated, which is why they see the scale numbers go up and down right after menstruation ends. The bloating will reach its peak on the first flow, after which will slowly subside.
At this time, the progesterone hormone spikes, causing a surge in appetite. The worse the mood, the bigger the need for comfort food. These are predominant factors in weight variations.
8. Alcohol and Fluid Imbalance
Studies show that heavy drinking is linked to a 41% bigger risk of going from normal weight to overweight. It is also associated with a 36% chance of being overweight to becoming obese, and 35% for keeping that obesity.
But, since it is a diuretic, it can make people urinate more often, causing a fluid imbalance. The imbalance can force the system to retain the leftover fluids. When there is not enough hydration, people are prompted to consume extra sodium, food, and beverages. Behaviours such as these are causing even more water retention, making the weight fluctuate.
When Will My Weight Get Back to Normal?
It depends on what’s causing the variations or hindering bodily functions. In other words, there isn’t a simple “normal weight”. What you can do is don’t worry about the small measurements that shift from time to time. Regardless of the type of scale you use or the fat you have, you can still get an accurate scale reading.
How to Get the Most Accurate Scale Reading?
Since your weight will fluctuate, it can be a bit tricky to get the exact estimate. That’s where a couple of tips can come in handy. The trick is simple - pick a consistent time to use a scale. The lowest weight is in the morning immediately after emptying the bladder.
Feel free to pick a different time of day if it suits your schedule. However, to get the most accurate measurement, choosing the exact same time every day works best.
Assessing the weight variations is also possible. You can use the scale a couple of times a day to see how much the body has changed. This will give you a quick overview of what’s happening in the system in the morning, night, or afternoon.
Those who aim to lose a kilo should weigh themselves preferably without shoes at the exact time on a daily basis. Cutting back on extra snacking can prove useful. Also watching the portion intake can create some profound effects.
Daily or weekly fluctuations in your normal weight are nothing to worry about. In fact, they are completely normal and everyone has to face them from time to time. But, when the fluctuations are too drastic and affect your physique, then, it is a good idea to consult with a healthcare expert. You might be losing or gaining weight.
The variations could also be the result of the medicine you are taking. So, you might want to pay attention to the simplest changes in your physique. Of course, that doesn’t mean that all fluctuations are a cause for concern. But, if you want to get the measurements right every single time, then weigh yourself at the exact same time once a day. This is a great option for gaining a proper weight estimate. With just a little bit of effort, you can go a long way!