Weight Scale Fluctuations

TSquared Lab, 10 Mar 2022
Training Education

Have you ever tried losing weight and thinking that everything is going great, only to have your day ruined by the weight scale? You weigh yourself one day, the scale shows 164.3 lbs, you diet for a few days, weigh yourself again, and see a reading of 167.7 lbs. 

If the above scenario feels frustratingly familiar, read on because we’ll be taking a look at five reasons why your weight fluctuates and what that means for you.

Let’s dive in.


1. Your Sodium Intake Went Up

Sodium is an essential mineral that maintains an intracellular and extracellular water balance. Increasing your intake can cause temporary water retention, leading to a higher weigh-in.


2. You Ate More Carbs

Increasing your carb intake can lead to a temporary increase in scale weight because of glycogen. Once ingested, some of the carbs we consume are stored in the form of glycogen. Each gram of glycogen carries three to four grams of water, which can add up quickly. For example, if your glycogen stores increase by 300 grams, that would increase water retention by 900 to 1,200 grams, or 2.6 to 3.3 lbs of extra weight.


3. You’re Going Through More Stress

Higher stress increases the production of cortisol––the stress hormone. Cortisol can influence fluid balances inside the body and promote water retention, leading to weight fluctuations.


4. It’s That Time Of The Month

Women can experience temporary weight increases during their menstrual cycle because of hormonal changes. The effect often goes away within a week.


5. You Weighed Yourself At a Different Time

Weighing yourself at a different time than usual can lead to a higher weigh-in. For example, a weigh-in in the evening will be much higher because of the foods and drinks you’ve consumed. In contrast, a morning weigh-in is more accurate because you’re doing it on an empty stomach.


6. You Drank Alcohol

Alcohol has a diuretic effect on the body: consuming alcohol causes you to lose water. So, having a few drinks can often result in dehydration and a lower weigh-in the following morning. 


7. You Slept Poorly

Loss of sleep can be stressful for the body and promote cortisol production. As a result, you might hold onto more water, resulting in a higher weigh-in.


8. You Experienced a Food Intolerance

Food intolerances can bring about numerous adverse effects in the body, two of which are:

  • Bloating
  • Water retention

So, if you consume a food you’re intolerant to, you might find yourself weighing a bit more for a day or two. But, as with most other reasons, the extra weight is in the form of water, not fat.


9. You Couldn’t Go to The Bathroom

Another simple reason why you might weigh more than usual could be that you’ve had constipation, which can occur from excessive fruit and veggie intake that is common while dieting.



There are numerous reasons why your weight might fluctuate from day to day and week to week. While the weight scale is beneficial to use, it’s important not to put too much stock in any given reading and instead look at the long-term trend. 

Aside from weighing yourself, using other tracking tactics, such as progress photos and circumference measurements, can give you a more comprehensive picture of how things are going.

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