This Is Exactly Why Your Weight Fluctuates


Women's Health |

By Moira Lawler

Wait, weren’t you lighter yesterday? Here’s why your weight fluctuates all the time. Can’t the scale ever just chill for a bit?

While you might jump to blame that big meal you had for lunch, you can actually chalk up that random weight gain to your body doing business as usual. It’s very normal for your weight to go up and down, says Michelle May, founder of the Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating Program. “As long as we’re alive, our cells, tissues and organs are constantly exchanging substances with the environment, which causes those fluctuations.”

Since everyone is different, May can’t say exactly how many kilograms of weight fluctuation is normal, but it’s important to note that you’re not literally gaining kilograms of fat overnight.

What’s Really Going On

Instead, that jump in weight is the result of “changes in your body’s waste system (pee and poop) and shifting fluids in your kidneys and bladder,” says May.

For example, after you snack on salty foods, your body retains more water to maintain a specific concentration of salt in the blood stream. That extra water dilutes the salt until it’s flushed out and causes a temporary increase in body weight, says May.

And get this: Eating healthy foods that contain lots of H2O, like fruits and veggies, soups and smoothies, could also cause a temporary uptick on the scale, says May. (You know, because water.) But once your body processes the additional water, your weight will return to normal, she says.

The other major thing to consider before freaking out over a bloated number on the scale is the time of month. “The changes in progesterone and other hormones that happen in your body during your menstrual cycle cause shifts in your weight,” says May. That’s why you may feel bloated a week before your period plus a couple of days after it starts, she says. Things like constipation or diarrhoea (which can often come with your period) can contribute to feeling puffy, too.

How To Assess Your Actual Weight

To get the most accurate snapshot of your bod, step on the scale one morning a week around the same time, ideally right after you pee. Then, stay away for seven days (or forever, just sayin’).

Jumping on the scale more often than that will only frustrate you because there’s so much that can cause a fluctuation. You can also rely on other methods, like using measurements or just keeping an eye on how your clothes fit.

That said, if you notice a change in weight along with shortness of breath or swelling in the legs and ankles, it could indicate more serious conditions like kidney disease or even heart problems. Schedule a visit to see the doc ASAP if this sounds like you.

Otherwise, stop being so hard on yourself!

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