Don’t Trust The Scales

Reasons why you your body weight fluctuates…. And it’s not because of fat.

Something I often hear and see people freak out about is when their weight is up 1-3lbs overnight. Weight fluctuates. That’s normal. . We’ve all been there.. You’ve been working really hard in the gym, watching your diet and then you step on the scales expecting a little drop. And you see your weight has gone up?? Even if you’re sticking to your diet religiously, or eat the same thing day in day out, daily weigh ins can make you go crazy.

So personally I never actually weigh myself anymore, haven’t done so since Christmas. Mainly because I know that I’m working hard, giving every training session 100%, not cheating on my diet, but I also know that balance is key. It’s important not to get bogged down by the scales, but sometimes it’s hard not too. I like to judge my progress by what I see in the mirror and photos. And I’ll explain the reasons why now.

 

Obviously, if you have been cheating on your diet, or lazing around the gym, then that weight gain may actually be fat, so be careful that you’re not lying to yourself, but if you’ve been doing everything right, and you’re still freaked when you see those extra lbs, don’t fret. Set your mind at ease, there are many reasons your weight fluctuates.

 

Sleep

 

I actually laughed when I read about this one, because as some of you may know or have noticed, I don’t really sleep.

The science behind sleep is that when you lack adequate sleep duration, your body’s’ resiliency and energy regulation, immunity and overall health gets effed up. Lack of sleep can have a whole host of affects that will affect your weight loss efforts such as increased cortisol levels (stress hormone), decrease leptin and ghrelin hormones (feeling satiated hormones) which then affects your bodys’ ability to maintain homeostasis and utilize energy efficiently.

 

So get your sleep. Most studies show that 7.5 + hours of good quality sleep is ideal.

 

Menstrual Cycle

 

So this one will apply to the girls, but most of us ladies will hold our weight or gain a few pounds in the days leading up to our menstrual cycles. When you are weighing yourself daily or indeed prepping for a contest, you know this can make you batty! This is of course is not related to fat gain but water retention. Never fear though! A day or two after your cycle has started, your weight will start going down, down, down.

 

Creatine

 

Creatine Monohydrate can cause water retention, but in the cells, not under the skin. Creatine is naturally produced in our body from amino acids (building blocks of protein) and once converted is stored in the muscles. Creatine helps regenerate an important energy molecule called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). When creatine stores in your muscles are depleted, the production of ATP slows and ceases causing a dramatic decrease in energy. That is why some people choose to supplement a bit extra with Creatine.

 

Creatine has been shown in study after study to improve power output and strength, increase high intensity exercise capacity and increase lean body mass. So it is okay to take it! But if the scale goes up a few pounds, you know it’s just water in your cells.

 

If you have kidney or liver issues or diseases, check with your doctor before taking creatine however.

 

Carb Depletion or Carb Ups

 

Your body stores carbs in the form of glycogen in the liver and muscle cells. So, for each gram of carb stored in your body, it carries with it 3 grams of water. The larger your muscle cells are, the greater capacity you have to store glycogen which includes water.

 

If you are depleted of carbs in your muscles and/or liver, you will gain weight by way of water when you eat a bunch of carbs and your muscle and liver cells are nice and full.

 

Don’t freak if you gained 1-5 pounds after a high carb day or a treat meal. Stick to your program and you will keeping losing fat.

Diuretics

 

Diuretics increase the excretion of water from the body such as caffeinated food and beverages. Some meds and natural herbs are also diuretics.

 

So,if you start taking in a diuretic, you may see the scale go down the first few days. If you stop consuming a diuretic type food, beverage or supplement, you may see the scale go up.

 

 

Fiber and Constipation

 

Fiber is found in foods like fruits, veggies and nuts. It is not digested by the body and is classified into soluble fiber (dissolves in water) and insoluble fiber (does not dissolve in water). Soluble fiber absorbs water and can become gelatinous substance that is fermented by gut bacteria. Insoluble fiber has a bulk action and is not fermented.

 

If you are constipated, all that food and gelatinous soluble fiber is sitting in your gut building up which adds a pound or three to the scale.

 

While fiber keeps you regular, it can also back you up when too much is consumed. For women, the RDA is 25 grams of fiber per day and for men its 38 grams of fiber per day.

 

 

So don’t fret when you are working hard and weight goes up a bit!! Take your weekly average and compare that for progress. It’s just a number. And as I’ve already said, use pictures instead and make yourself accountable to what you see in the mirror. The scales really is just a number. Stick to your diet, enjoy a healthy lifestyle, be active.. and don’t let the scales get you down.

 

Sophs xx

 

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