What Causes Daily Weight Fluctuations?

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Did you weigh yourself today? Has it changed since the last time?

Whether it has or not, your weight can fluctuate a lot over the course of the day – as I showed in my little experiment.

Your weight is not constant. Even if your energy intake = energy output, your weight will still fluctuate over the course of a day.

This post is part of a 3-post series about weight fluctuations:

  1. Daily Weight Fluctuations Experiment
  2. What Causes Daily Weight Fluctuations?
  3. 12 Tips for a Better Weigh-In

It seems to be normal for your weight to fluctuate with up to +-2  kg/ 4 lbs daily – and it’s not because you’ve gained fat from eating that piece of chocolate. Or the second one.




By this I don’t mean eating x amount of calories (that has a long term impact), but the size of your meals can have an immediate effect on your weight.



Until the waste from the food has left your body, it will show up on the scale.



Around the time of your period, your body will retain more water, which causes you to gain weight and appear larger. It’s not fat, and it will go away when you’re period is over.



If you don’t drink water during your workout, you will find yourself lighter after the workout because of the loss of water. But dehydration has a negative impact your performance, so remember to stay hydrated!



After an intense workout, your sore muscles retain water. Again, remember it isn’t fat, it’s just a temporary water gain.



A high intake of salt causes water retention. Many types of junk food and some meat have high levels of sodium.



A very high carb intake can cause extra water retention as well.

That’s why you will often find yourself weighing a lot more after the holidays or another time where you have been eating more than usually. You can’t gain that much fat in a short period of time, and you will often experience that your weight will be back to normal in a week’s time. It’s not something you should stress out about, just get back into your normal routine.



You might have noticed a trend here – most weight fluctuations has something to do with water intake – so to prevent these fluctuations, you should just stop drinking water? False! That might actually be the worst thing you could do. First of all, more than 50% of your body mass is water, and it’s necessary for your body to function. Furthermore, the less water you drink, the more your body will retain – however, if water is an easily accessible resource in your body, it has no problem with letting some of it go.



This one doesn’t really count, because it has nothing to with what you weigh. But different scales often shows different numbers, so try to stick to the same one.

 A comment on the carb intake: The reason why ’10 day weight loss programs’ and other fad diets works, is because they  limit your carb intake (or just your overall intake) – that makes you retain less water, but it only works for a short period of time, you will gain it all back (maybe even more if you have been starving) – and it’s rarely healthy.

There’s no quick way to lose just fat, so be patient instead of looking for quick, unhealthy fixes.


The scale does not reflect your body composition. Water and fat are two different things, and it is important not to let the scale take control over how you feel about yourself. It’s a tool, and like any other tool, it has its limitations. Don’t get caught up in how your weight changes on a day-to-day basis, focus on the overall trend instead – or throw away the scale and look at non-scale victories.

Why do you (not) weigh yourself? Have you ever noticed how your weight changes during the day? Let me know in the comments below!

Gif that says lots of love, Anne xx

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  1. says: Kaitlyn

    Great read! I weigh myself first thing in the morning because I’ve heard that time of day can really affect your weight, probably because of the reasons you described. I love your point at the end about losing fat slowly; that’s on of the main points of my entire blog.

  2. says: Liz

    Yes! That’s why I only look at the scale weekly….. and if it has gone up but my habits have stayed the same, I know it just has to be fluid retention.

    It’s sad because this info is out there but people just don’t get it! I did a quick fix diet…. and actually enjoyed it because it got me to a point where I knew I could get back into shape. I was up 30lbs due to stress lost 8 on the quick fix and now lost all 30lbs due to consistent exercise and monitoring my cals. <3 <3 keep doing what your doing girl. Love this!

    1. says: Anne

      That’s a good way to do it!
      Yes, some myths are just so hard to get rid of because people don’t actively seek out the information..
      But well done on your progress, that’s amazing!
      Thank you xx

  3. says: Crissy

    Hi there!

    Like everyone else I’ve been trying to be better with maintaining a healthy weight this year. Last year, my weight was fluctuating and I really didn’t like it cause I felt like it made me feel sluggish. I really enjoyed reading your tips because I think there are things I can try to keep in the back of my head to change how I do things on a day to day basis. Thanks for sharing!


    1. says: Anne

      That’s all I wanted people to see! Measurements, performance, how you feel, energy levels, how clothes fit, progress pictures – all are better ways of measuring progress xx

  4. says: Sassy

    This post is so important! I have friends and family who walked straight into all these traps.
    Some are cutting carbs out and telling me “well, I lost all the weight in a week” then they’re back to eating normal and what? The weight is back? Told you so (which is the sentence I don’t use anymore, because no one’s listening to me anyway haha).
    Someone else was lately moaning about gaining weight from exercising with weights – getting all discouraged even when I told them it’s water retention.
    People are so fixed on what the scale says (some on a daily basis) that a lot of healthy stuff they should do don’t even get a chance, because they make them way more the day after it …
    So, thanks for writing this post – hopefully, some of the people who have a wrong idea about all this stuff, will read it 🙂

    1. says: Anne

      Oh yes, there’s so many times people makes me want to shake them and yell ‘that’s not right!!’ (but I don’t haha). It’s so awful when people are focused on losing weight as fast as possible, but that’s what all magazines advertise with.
      Writing this post was my way of venting over people who does that haha 🙂

  5. I never use the scale. A majority of my clients struggle with staying off of it though. Even if you wanted to measure your progress, there’s better ways to do it. The scale is irrelevant as to how much body fat you have. Its all about feeling good anyways <3 As long as you feel good, then there's nothing to stress about!

    1. says: Anne

      I love that! There’s so many better ways to track progress, but people are so used to looking at the scale, it’s a great idea to completely remove it so they can see the real progress, and keep track of how they feel instead of much they weigh 🙂