The bathroom scale—the cruel, heartless little biotch that can either set you up for a day of confidence or leave you feeling like a big ol’ bag of dumster trash.
Let’s not let the latter be the case and clear up a few things that can ease your mind when the number on the scale doesn’t go your way and the mad panic sets in.
I want to make one thing VERY clear…you did not gain or lose 5lbs in one day. Although perhaps it’s “technically” possible, unless you managed to eat around 18,000 excess calories…it didn’t happen, so let’s just go ahead and cool our jets.
What really causes the fluctuations on the bathroom scale?
This is gross, so lets just say it and move on. We can store quite a bit of waste in our large intestines and the scale can swing 1-3lbs based on if we have gone to the bathroom or not. Not super scientific, but very much a reality.
If you want to feel good about yourself on the scale…poop first.
2. Glycogen stores.
I feel like glycogen is the reason carbohydrates get such a bad rap. Maybe glycogen and the fact that sugar is tasty as fuck and very easy to overeat.
Carbohydrate storage increases water storage in the body (think…carbo “HYDRATE”).
When we eat carbs, glycogen is stored in various places, most notably our muscles and liver. We can store somewhere between 50-100g of glycogen in our liver and depending on our body weight, body fat % and activity level, and as much as 750g in our muscles.
Each gram of carb storage causes our body to retain between 3 – 4 times that amount in water.
Without going into the details of math, because, you probably don’t really care, it’s possible that glycogen stores could cause a weight fluctuation of up to 7lbs.
That’s a shit ton!!! So, don’t panic when you go off the rails or have a refeed day high in carbs only to see the scale weight jump up…you did not in fact gain 7lbs overnight, it’s just water yo.
Lets assume that you are a healthy person and you eat a diet that limits processed food—you probably consume a diet relatively low in sodium.
Variance from your usual sodium intake is what will most drastically affect the scale.
We have this hormone called aldosterone. When we keep sodium low, the body increases production of aldosterone. Therefore, if you have a day when you eat something higher in sodium, and your body has a high level of aldosterone, you will have high levels of water retention!!!
More water = more weight on the scale. Don’t panic, just drink a shit ton of water and flush it on outta there.
4. Boujie with Booze
Contrary to those big ups on the scale, getting shit-canned can result in the opposite (temporarily).
The only time I ever enjoy looking at my bod in the mirror is after a night of drinking. Unfortunately my face is too haggared to go out in public and show-off my sweet dehydration abs, so, it’s kind of a no-win situation.
For every 200 milliliters of alcohol consumed, the average person releases 320 milliliters of urine. Unless you are drinking water all night to make up for that…you will likely wake up a little less hydrated.
Day 1 after drinking = dehydrated, light, abs on fleek.
Day 2 after drinking = swollen, full of glycogen from the bread you ate to sop up the hangover, body looks like a beat up bag of biscuits.
Skip the booze if you want a bangin’ bod in the long run.
5. Hormones and other shit
Various other factors can impact the scale. For women, obviously their mentrual cycle.
You WILL weigh more depending on where you are in your cycle ladies.
Inflammation can also impact the scale. A heavy workout, a shitty nights sleep, extreme stress…these can all cause that number to jump up as much as 3-5lbs as our body tries to repair itself and regain homeostasis.
Some supplements. For example, creatine causes our muscles to retain water, therefore = scale fluctuations.
So…how to deal?
The scale is just one measure of progress, lets not let it become the be all end all.
If you are someone likely to obsess over every .5lb on the scale, perhaps don’t weigh yourself everyday. If you can see fluctuations and maintain a cool head about it, it’s probably ok.
Short term fluctuations on the scale are normal and have little to do with long term progress. Genetics play a huge role in how our bodies react to certain everyday factors, so don’t compare yourself to others. Diet history, how many times you have lost and gained weight, metabolism, metabolic adaptation…this will vary greatly from person to person, so be patient with your bod.
Pay attention to how your body feels, how your clothes fit, photos, measurements, strength numbers and progress in the gym and in your life. Try to focus on outcomes rather than some bullshit arbitrary number that has no value to who you are as a human being.
There is WAY more to you than that number on the scale. Loveeeee always, your favourite advice giving pal Kpups.