Sometimes The Scale Really Does Lie

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“I just had a single scoop of ice cream. How could that make me gain two pounds overnight?”

Have you ever had similar thoughts?

Weight fluctuations can be terribly depressing to those who are trying to get healthy. Sometimes a single indulgence can make the scale read higher. Other times, you’ll gain weight just out of the blue. If you are trying to make it to a healthy weight, these occurrences can drive you crazy.

It’s Just a Number

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First of all, you should remember that the number on the scale is just a single piece of data. It may mean that you’ve veered from your fitness or diet regimen, it may mean that you are dehydrated, or it could just mean that your scale is broken! Don’t allow that single number to affect your mood or how you feel about yourself. If you are working hard to get healthy, celebrate your positive changes regardless of what the scale says. If you’ve gotten slack in your healthy habits, use the number as a simple reminder to get back on track.

What Causes Weight Fluctuations?

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Variations in weight are completely normal. The human body, when it is working properly, will not usually stay at a single weight every single day. The following factors can play into how your body gains or loses weight.

  1. Glycogen Stores–If you have ever done a low carb diet, you were probably shocked at how quickly the first 5 to 7 pounds fell off of your body. Glycogen stores are the reason for this. When your body is consuming and storing carbohydrates, it also stores water. For every gram of carbs that your body stores, it also stores three grams of water. So, carbohydrate consumption means that you will have more water stored in your tissues.
  2. Sodium–If you suddenly start consuming a lot more salt that what you normally eat, your body will retain water. And the opposite is true as well. If you stop eating much sodium, you will release water. Therefore, a single meal of processed food or a large soft drink can change your weight significantly.
  3. Hormonal Changes–At certain parts of a woman’s cycle, she will retain water, even if she’s not changed anything about her diet or exercise plan. This is due to hormonal shifts. Just wait a few days and the bloating will subside.
  4. Hydration–If you are dehydrated, you will retain water. For this reason, it’s important to drink plenty of water every day, and on hot days or after vigorous exercise, you should make it a point to increase your water intake.

As you can see, water and the way that your body stores it plays an enormous role in your weight.

Exercise Changes Weight Too!

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Muscle weighs more than fat, so if you are slim or only slightly overweight to begin with and you start working out, you may actually gain weight, even though you may lose inches. Muscle also takes up less space per pound, so while you may look slimmer, you may weigh more! You can be losing fat, building muscle, and have the numbers on the scale go up.

Keep in mind that the measure of your weight is only part of the story. Look in the mirror to see whether you are bloated. Measure your waist, hips, and thighs to see how many inches you’ve lost. Don’t set your heart on a magical number. Rather, concentrate on how you look, how you feel, and how you perform when you exercise. The point of getting healthy is to be operating at peak health, not reaching an arbitrary number.