Is weight fluctuation normal? Image via Pexels/Andres Ayrton

Fact Check: Is Weight Fluctuation Normal?

Natalie P.
ANALYST

Weight fluctuation is a topic of interest amongst many fitness communities. Especially for those new to exercise or on a weight loss/gain journey, it can be disheartening to see the numbers fluctuate on the scale.

What most people don’t know is that this is a pretty common occurrence, no matter where you are in your fitness journey. In fact, weight fluctuation is so prevalent that one’s weight can sway between 5 to 6 pounds on any given day. This is influenced by several factors, including lifestyle, diet, exercise, sleep patterns, activity levels, etc.

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Why does it happen, though?


What causes weight fluctuation?

Let’s look at all the factors that likely cause weight fluctuation, as they differ from one individual to another.

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Food and water intake

The food you eat does add some numbers right after you consume it. This applies to the water you drink as well. While 60 percent of the average human body is made up of water, even drinking a glass of water can add to your weight.

This number is also subject to fluctuation as the body processes food and eventually excretes it out of the body through stool, urine, or sweat. Certain high-carb foods like pasta, rice, and some breads can retain water and show an increase in your weight. Similarly, an entire day of not eating can show a drop in these numbers. This is due to the body using up its glycogen stores to make up for the lack of energy in the body.

Image via Unsplash/Alyson McPhee

Dehydration

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Dehydration causes your body to store excess water within the body, which also causes bloating. This can also add to the weight on the scale.

Sodium intake

High levels of salt in the body can also cause water retention. Individuals who are more sensitive to sodium may retain more water in their bodies, causing bloating. This applies especially when you consume frozen foods and other processed items, including canned food and sauces.

Image via Pexels/The Lazy Artist Gallery

Hormone fluctuations

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Hormonal fluctuations are common amongst all individuals, especially women. Women are likely to notice weight fluctuations before, after, and even during their periods. A lot of fluid is retained in the body during this time. The peak of this weight fluctuation can differ between women.

Certain medications also tend to alter hormonal secretion within the body. However, this can cause long-term weight gain from fat deposits around the body.

Exercise

Exercise causes an individual to sweat, and this displacement of water weight from the body can often show a drop in weight. This is also subject to change based on one’s exercise routine, diet, fitness levels, etc.

Cardio exercise tends to cause more sweating in individuals, compared to weight training. This can also vary depending on the environment the exercise is performed in. For example, you may sweat more in hotter weather conditions than in cooler ones.

Image via Pexels/Ivan Samkov

There are several factors that contribute to weight fluctuating within the body, and it’s nothing to be worried about. Ditch the scale entirely and focus more on how your body is physically changing. Measure yourself, try on your clothes from last month. Weight fluctuation is a normal, every day thing! Just continue to eat well, exercise regularly, and get plenty of rest.


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Edited by Sabine Algur
 
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