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The Ups and Downs of Weight Loss

If you’ve had the chance to read some of my recent posts you probably now understand that establishing good habits and losing weight aren’t things that just happen overnight. If you haven’t, check out this post before you get further into today’s read.


Weight loss and habit changes have been the focus so far this year and today is no different. Through this article I want to help you understand the dynamics behind weight loss.


If you’re someone that regularly weighs yourself I’m sure you notice that the numbers you see from day to day are hardly ever the same. It can be frustrating and worrisome to see your weight fluctuate, especially with no significant changes in your diet or habits. But knowing this is the nature of our bodies can be helpful to understand when attempting to lose weight.


While it would be nice to see consistent and regular changes in our weight when we’re trying to cut the pounds—that simply isn’t going to happen. Our bodies are extremely complicated systems that respond in ways that may not make sense to us.


So first and foremost—understand that weight fluctuations are normal. Everyone experiences changes from day to day. If you’re a regular weight checker, you’ve probably seen as much as a five-pound swing from one day to the next. Now, it’s unlikely that you consumed enough to gain five pounds of fat in twenty-four hours. So what’s the deal?


It could be several things but the most likely culprit is water. Water makes up a majority of our body weight – around 60%. Depending on what you ate, you might retain more water today than you did yesterday. This means you’re going to “weigh more”—but it’s not that you gained any fat. This is something you need to keep in mind while you’re actively trying to lose weight. Your weight probably isn’t going to decrease consistently every day. Don’t get discouraged.


Remember the idea of energy balance—if you’re using more energy than you’re consuming, you will use energy stores within your body. And where are energy stores within your body? In your fat cells. And when your body uses energy from your fat cells, you decrease the amount of fat in your body—thus losing weight.


So what are some common causes of weight fluctuation you should be on the lookout for? Let’s touch on a few:


  1.     Water

Like I said, water can be a major player in weight fluctuations. One day you may drink very little water, making your weight lower. Now the next day you drink two or three times as much water—clearly this will result in your body weighing more that day.


  1.     Bowel Movements

This isn’t one we necessarily think about often but depending on the time of day you weigh yourself it may be just after or just before a bowel movement. If it happened to be just before, your weight will be a few pounds higher than it would be if you waited just a couple minutes.


  1.      Hormones

Hormones are constantly changing within our bodies—especially in women. Even if you keep all other factors consistent, the menstrual cycle alone will cause weight fluctuations. Keep this in mind while attempting to lose weight.

Remember, if your actions have been largely good and consistent there’s no reason to make drastic changes when you see your weight change by a couple pounds. Fat doesn’t accumulate that quickly. As a rule of thumb if your weight doesn’t increase or decrease by more than five pounds keep doing what you’re doing and be patient. If you notice fluctuations greater than five pounds that persist for more than a day or two it would be a good idea to reevaluate your habits and maybe consider seeking the advice of your physician.

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