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Why Do the Scales Fluctuate?

Have you ever stepped onto the scales in the morning and thought, ‘how did I gain 2lbs overnight?’. If you’re trying to lose weight, you may find yourself getting attached to the number on the scales, and feeling frustrated when the number goes up. But this is perfectly normal - in fact the daily weight fluctuation range for an average person is up to 6lbs a day!

If you’re trying to lose weight to improve health issues, increase your energy, or just feel better in your body, nutritionists agree that weighing yourself too often isn’t the most reliable way to track your progress. So why does your weight fluctuate in one day?

There are a number of factors that contribute to this:

High Carb Intake

For every 1g of carbohydrates you eat, your body stores 1-3g of water along with it. This water retention will increase your weight.

This isn’t to say that carbs are bad; your body needs them for energy. An appointment with a nutritional therapist at our Camden clinic will help you to understand which food groups will best support your weight loss while giving your body the fuel it needs.

High Sodium Levels

Eating lots of salty foods can also cause water retention, as sodium causes your body to hold onto water. While some sodium is essential for vital body functions, too much can contribute to health issues.

Ready-made meals and processed foods often contain high levels of salt, so replacing these with homemade alternatives is a great idea. Remember, a little salt goes a long way!

Menstrual Cycle

For people who menstruate, hormone fluctuations caused by your menstrual cycle can cause water retention, as well as swelling and bloating. You may also find that your appetite for salty foods increases during this time.

Alcohol Consumption

As alcohol dehydrates you, a night of drinking can cause you to weigh in lower the following morning. On the other hand, when your body is dehydrated it can hold onto more water, increasing your weight.

Time of Day

Your weight changes throughout the day depending on what you’ve eaten, had to drink, bowel movements, and how much you sweat. If you’re using your weight to track your progress, it’s best to weigh yourself first thing in the morning, at the same time every day.

If you feel frustrated after hopping onto the scales, remember that the number you see is not always an accurate representation of your weight, or where you are in your health journey. To minimise the fluctuation, stick to weighing yourself no more than once a week, at the same time each day.

Remember, weight is not always a clear indicator of health, and there are many other ways to measure progress such as how your clothes fit, performance in sports and activities, how much energy you have, and how you feel overall!

Our Nutritional Therapist Mary O’Leary has over 20 years of experience – if you’re looking to lose weight or just to feel your best, book a session with Mary who will work with you to create a personalised nutritional therapy plan.

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