When you’re trying to lose weight, it’s pretty normal to, well, weigh yourself. Weight loss, however, is for most people about losing fat, not muscle, water, bones, organs, sanity or limbs.
But how does the scale know the difference between what’s fat and what’s not?
Truth is, it doesn’t.
This post is part of a 3-post series about weight fluctuations:
- Daily Weight Fluctuations Experiment
- What Causes Daily Weight Fluctuations?
- 12 Tips for a Better Weigh-In
If you weigh yourself often, you can easily get caught up in small fluctuations and forget the bigger picture. It’s easy to get discouraged if you seem to have gained a couple of pounds compared to last time – but a small weight gain over a short period doesn’t always mean you’re not making progress. To give you an idea of how much your weight can fluctuate throughout the day, I turned myself into a guinea pig poof – and weighed myself multiple times throughout a normal day.
I tried to weigh myself as many times as possible throughout a day. This is just from a normal Monday (rest day) for me. This is what the scale told me:
As you can see, my weight fluctuated quite a bit!
Let’s break it down:
- 57.7 kg: Morning weigh-in. Right after waking up and going to the toilet – before eating or doing anything else.
- 58.4 kg: My weight increased right after I had finished my breakfast.
- 58.1 kg: As time went by, my weight started doing down again.
- 58 kg-58.5 kg: What? My weight suddenly increased with 0.5kg in a matter of minutes – I’ll show you why later!
- 58 kg: My weight is back down. Explanation will follow 🙂
- 58.4 kg: Weighed in about an hour after lunch – number would probably have been high if I had done it right after
- 59 kg: Again, I didn’t weigh in right after I had dinner (2 hours later to be exact)
- This one isn’t in the graph, but just so you know, my weight was back to normal (57.6 kg/127 lbs) when I weighed in the morning after
I’ll go more into the factors that causes you weight to fluctuate this much in a later post (it’s not uncommon to fluctuate even more throughout the day). Now, let me explain what the little water experiment was about.
It can actually be explained very simply: I weighed myself before and right after drinking a bottle of water (0.5 L /16.9 oz).
Water experiment. My weight before and after drinking 0.5 L=0.5 kg water.
Sorry you have to look at my feet
It’s not surprising, but so important to remember if you’ve ever felt bad about what the scale tells you. Your weight fluctuates all the time. You put stuff in it, and stuff comes out again – when you go to the toilet, and because your body uses most of what you put into it as fuel.
You need energy to:
- Maintain your body temperature,
- Keep your organs working
- Keep your muscles moving
Just like when you throw stuff in a fire: it gets reduced or ‘disappears’, because it gets turned into energy. For a fire, the energy is in the form of heat, but in your body it is chemical energy. This is used for a variety of important processes. Your body is like a fire, just much more complicated and less hot.
Who am I kidding, you’re a hot sexy beast.
Drinking water will make you gain weight temporarily – but you’ll pee it out again later! To make the chart over how my weight fluctuated throughout the day, I could have plotted in when I went to the toilet – but I thought that would be way too much information, so I spared you from that 🙂
Continue reading the follow-up post: What Causes Daily Weight Fluctuations?.
Why do you (not) weigh yourself? Have you ever noticed how your weight changes during the day? Let me know in the comments below!