Up-and-down goes the scale. We often postulate what is causing the fluctuations on the scale but here are some things you might not have considered:
1. Strength Training. I hear this a lot: “I just started working out, so shouldn’t my weight be going down?” Not necessarily. In fact, I always find that the first few days back into a workout routine, the number on my scale is actually higher. Here’s why: intense exercise, like weight training, can cause inflammation due to the fact that you are creating little tears in your muscle. Don’t worry! This is actually how you gain muscle. When the muscle rebuilds those tears in the muscle fibers you get stronger. Your body must take on more water to rebuild that muscle and this can sometimes cause the scale number to go up.
2. Secret Sodium. Eating clean (and adding your own salt) is a great way to monitor your salt intake. Every now and then though you might buy something that I call a “secret sodium bomb.” Sure, it might have looked healthy ingredient-wise, but on second glance it was filled with sodium. The good news is after a couple days this should go away.
3. The Time of the Month. Hormones released during your monthly cycle can cause water retention – hence why we feel bloated in addition to all the rest of it. The good news is, once your cycle is over, you should return to your normal weight.
4. Prescription Medication. If you’ve noticed weight fluctuations you might want to take a look at any prescriptions you might be on. Often times one of the side effects is water retention. As always, you’ll want to speak to your healthcare practitioner before making any changes to the medications you’re on.
5. Your Water Intake. This may sound obvious, but here’s a way it can cause fluctuation in a different way: weighing yourself on a day where you have had water versus a day where you haven’t had much water. If you drastically increase your water intake from one day to the next you’ll most likely see that on the scale. This doesn’t mean that you’re gaining weight though. It just means your more hydrated, which in turn is healthier than being under-hydrated.
And lastly, because I feel like it’s always super important to remind you of this, that number on the scale says nothing about your “true weight.” We always want to judge based on body composition, a.k.a. how much muscle mass you have in comparison to fat mass. That’s why I always recommend that you do a body comp test on our InBody machine from time to time. All you have to do is email us to schedule one!