Causes of weight fluctuations during dieting.
To track progress of our fat loss journey, we keep account of the readings on the weighing scale. And of course, it shows different readings at different times of the day. It might show different readings on different days as well. Why does that happen? Is it a big concern? We consultants often cite it in layman terms that fat loss is not a linear process, and this is supposed to happen. It’s time we dig a bit deeper to understand them and be more secure with the progress that we make. Following are the reasons responsible for the fluctuations in scale: * Sensitivity towards sodium or carbs: Food high in sodium or carbs might lead to water retention, bloating or a spike in weight. Some people don’t consume enough sodium, yet they tend to retain more water than the others. That might happen because sodium is not just in that salt shaker, but it could hide in processed food such as- cold cuts, frozen meals, sauces, canned products, etc. * If we talk about carbs, especially refined ones like bread, pasta, crackers (basically the starchy kinds), they tend to retain water. But it depends on how someone responds to it. Some could develop bloating due to soya or some due to potatoes may be. We have to observe and take note of such situations. Also, many refined carbs are rich in sodium. E.g.- spaghetti and meatballs meal. * From Exercising: Sweating is just your body losing water. It’s not your fats crying. Weight can fluctuate after a rigorous session. If you lose enough water, it might show less on a weighing scale. If you are doing resistance training, it creates muscle tears and water is stored in that for repair purposes, and it might show higher reading. In both cases, all you have to do is to replenish the lost water by drinking enough. * Change in body’s composition: Change in muscle to fat ratio or glycogen content could also be one of the reasons for weight fluctuations. * Medication: Certain medications may affect how our body absorbs glucose, may increase our appetite or cause water retention. It could be medicine for diabetes like insulin, thiazolidinediones, and sulfonylureas. It could happen due to antipsychotic medicines such as haloperidol, clozapine, lithium or even antidepressants like amitriptyline, imipramine, & paroxetine. Medication for epilepsy, birth control pills or blood pressure reducing medicines could also affect the body in similar ways. * Menstrual cycle: One of the leading factors in women for the sudden fluctuation in weight. The body loses a lot of electrolytes and as a defence mechanism retains water. Also, upheavals in hormones ‘estradiol’ and ‘progesterone’ can cause binge eating resulting in weight gain at times. * Alcohol intake: Alcohol is a diuretic and that might cause a decrease in weight because it makes us urinate more than usual. Research says that alcohol induces urine flow within 20 minutes of consumption resulting in urinary fluid losses and possible fluid imbalance. Now, because of this imbalance body might retain water from other items that we eat while drinking. Drinkers do eat or overeat at times and retain fluid. In the end it might be possible that weight could increase on scale after drinking. * Food or bowel movement: Food has weight, the resulting urine and stool also have weight. It’s no rocket science that weight will differ on the scale if we measure it around food intake or bowel movements. * Lack of sleep or stress: Inadequate sleep or stress can cause hormonal imbalance or eating disorders, leading to sudden fluctuations in weight. How to deal with it: * First, we have to make peace with the fact that we don’t have to weigh ourselves daily. Consider progress from day 1 to day 100; the time has to be significant. * Be consistent with the timing of weighing. Generally, the lowest weight you find is when you wake up and on an empty stomach. It’s better to weigh in minimal clothing (maybe just undergarments). There could be different readings in the afternoon or evenings. * Progress is not just limited to the scale. We can track inches or observe how our clothes fit or how our strength or athletic prowess is getting affected. * To reduce water retention, we can include potassium, magnesium, Vit C, eat hydrated foods (such as watermelon, cucumber, etc.), increase water intake, reduce sodium intake a bit & choose carbs or food items according to our sensitivity. Bottomline- As long as we are honest in our dieting efforts, these reasons can be considered in case we observe fluctuations in weight. It's all right. 🙂✌️