Are You Monitoring Your Weight Loss Correctly? Here Are 6 Reasons Your Scale Might Be Wrong!
You're exercising hard and dieting even harder – but can you tell if it's working? Here are a few things you should keep in mind so that you don't feel discouraged when you see your weight rise for no apparent reason.
Have you found that you gained 3 pounds even though you've been dieting and exercising the previous day? There's a reasonable explanation, so don't feel bad! For example, researchers found that you're most likely to weigh more on Monday after a weekend of relaxation and weigh less on Fridays. Here are a few more things you should know about your weight:
1. Your weight fluctuates throughout the day. Your weight isn't stagnant! According to dietitian Alexandra Caspero, your weight fluctuates throughout the day. She says her own weight fluctuated by four pounds when she weighed herself every hour in one day. Why? It's all about your water weight.
2. The weight loss you see after exercising isn't real yet. After an hour or so in the gym of moderate or vigorous exercise, you find yourself all sweaty and eager to see how many pounds you've lost. You check the weight scale and find you've lost one to three pounds! If you didn't rehydrate yourself after working out, those three lost pounds could simply be the sweat you lost. This is important because after you've rehydrated and weigh yourself, you might think your diet or exercise isn't working – when in fact it is! You'll lose those one to three pounds permanently – just keep at it!
3. Bathroom habits. If your bladder is full, or if you've been constipated, this can account for a few pounds of extra weight when you check yourself at the scale.
4. Different foods can cause water retention. Caspero says that carb-heavy meals cause your body to retain more water, which means you'll be heavier. You're not supposed to load up on carbs when you're trying to lose weight anyway – so staying away from carb-loaded foods helps you stay lighter and lose weight.
5. Your weight scale. Your habits and lifestyle might not be the cause of your weight fluctuation – it might be that your weight scale's simply showing the wrong numbers. If you're seeing absolutely bizarre numbers on your scale, get a new one. Digital scales are more accurate than mechanical or dial weight scales. There are a wide variety of digital scales to choose from, like fancy ones that you can input your age and height to get more precise measurements and BMI readings. Some scales also have handle bars for extra precision, which allow the scale to calculate your average body fat percentage.
6. Keep everything the same. WebMD advises you to weigh yourself at the same time and day each week, wearing the same clothing, and using the same weight scale. Scientifically, you're keeping the variables the same, which makes your weight reading more likely to be accurate. Of course, if your habits are different, that can still affect your weight – like if last week you didn't exercise right before using the scale and this week you did.
Don't let your weight scale's reading destroy your weight loss motivation. Keep these guidelines in mind so you can truly understand if your fitness plan is working or not.