Why the Scale Fluctuates and Why It Doesn’t Mean You’re Not Making Progress

It by no means fails that one in all THE most incessantly requested questions I obtain is about the scale – particularly why it’s or isn’t shifting in a specific path. The scale is a finicky device, and its lack of transparency can lead you to imagine that every one of the exhausting work, time, and dedication your placing into wholesome dwelling isn’t paying off. But the fact is that physique “weight” is influenced by so many components exterior of our management – people who don’t actually change (peak, bone density), and people who not solely fluctuate from day-to-day, however typically from hour-to-hour!

For years, I had a love-hate relationship with the scale… and from what I’ve heard, lots of you may relate. I’d weigh myself in the morning and would basically let the quantity that popped up dictate how the remainder of my day would go. Many occasions, I’d step off the scale feeling down as a result of I had gained just a few kilos in a single day. Even although I knew I didn’t achieve physique fats in a single day, simply seeing that greater quantity was sufficient for me to really feel discouraged. Silly, proper?

It was this fixed emotional roller-coaster that led me to essentially dig into why the scale is important past medical causes, and if it’s even a useful, correct device for monitoring progress. My verdict? While it may be helpful in sure conditions, it positively doesn’t present the complete image. And, for many individuals, it might probably even be detrimental. More typically than not, it simply serves as a supply of frustration as a result of weight fluctuations are widespread and regular. So regular, in actual fact, that it occurs to all of us, probably each single day! 

While the scale would possibly depict your complete physique mass (water, organs, and many others.) at any given time, its not indicative of physique fats proportion, muscle mass, or total health (or happiness). Most of the weight we lose or achieve all through the day is totally situational and probably non permanent. Below are just some of the on a regular basis components that may affect weight and why fluctuations don’t essentially correlate to your progress!


Are you clocking in 7-Eight hours of shut-eye per evening or do Four-5 hours sound extra correct? Not getting sufficient sleep does extra than simply make us really feel drained, groggy, and much less inclined to be energetic. It truly impacts our hormones, particularly our “hunger hormones” leptin (urge for food suppressant) and ghrelin (urge for food stimulant). Just a single evening of sleep deprivation may cause your physique to create extra ghrelin. I positively really feel significantly snack-y and extra inclined to make poor meals selections once I’m quick on sleep, and these meals probably have extra sugar, sodium, and junk, which might create further bloat.

Tough Workouts

If you’ve been crushing it in the health club currently and see the scale tipping upwards, know this – along with muscle weighing greater than physique fats, lifting weights truly creates tiny muscle fiber tears, that are healed by irritation. And what does irritation trigger? You guessed it – water retention! So when you’ve been stepping on the scale the morning after a tricky, DOMS-inducing exercise solely to surprise why the quantity is greater, it’s probably the reply (and simply another excuse to chorus from weighing your self every single day).


Yep, stress can completely trigger the scale to fluctuate. Not solely are we much less inclined to prioritize wholesome consuming and understanding once we’re burdened, however elevated cortisol ranges may trigger our our bodies to retain water (are you noticing a sample but?). It’s a vicious cycle and one which’s type of a self-fulfilling prophecy. We’re burdened and anxious, leap on the scale, and find yourself much more wired once we see the quantity rise! Stop the madness!! 

Menstrual Cycle

Getting near that point of the month? Weight fluctuations attributable to bloating are tremendous widespread proper earlier than your interval attributable to elevated estrogen ranges. In truth, the common lady retains about 5 further kilos of water weight in the days earlier than her menstrual cycle. (Personally, the scale goes up 7-Eight kilos for me proper earlier than I get my interval!) That’s why I usually advocate girls to carry off from weighing themselves till about 5 days after the finish of their intervals (if they have to). By that time, hormone ranges could have stabilized. Plus, a once-a-month weigh-in tells you much more about your total progress. It’s additionally much less of a mindf*ck! 😉 


Certain meals (i.e. pizza and fries) trigger water retention attributable to sodium and carbohydrate depend. That’s why we really feel bloated after a giant, indulgent meal, and this impact will be much more apparent if we’ve been attempting to eat extra nutritiously. But don’t panic – it’s not precise fats achieve. You’d must eat three,500 energy on high of your regular, upkeep calorie consumption to achieve even 1 pound of fats, which is hard for many of us to do in a few days, not to mention one meal. So when you’ve overindulged, do your self a favor and don’t weigh your self. Just don’t. It will solely add insult to damage, and inside just a few days, the further water weight will disappear anyway.


Do you end up heading to the lavatory extra typically when imbibing? That’s as a result of alcohol is a diuretic, and its dehydrating impact may cause you to lose water weight after consuming. Once you rehydrate, the fluids in your physique work exhausting to regain steadiness, and the scale will comply with swimsuit, typically reflecting a brief weight achieve for just a few days.

Bathroom Habits

Have you ever arrived house from a week-long trip the place you had been off your routine solely to really feel just a little… backed up? Yep, even how frequently you go #2 will be mirrored on the scale (for causes I most likely don’t want to clarify). Not consuming sufficient water, consuming meals you don’t usually eat, skimping on sleep, or not getting sufficient motion in your day can all add up, resulting in oh-so-fun constipation!

So is the scale ever correct? Yes and no. It will be useful to weigh your self at the identical time, on the identical day of the week or month – however even that’s arbitrary given how a lot exterior and typically uncontrollable components could make an affect. The fact is, your physique weight might be affected by all of the components above and sure, you continue to might be making progress! That’s why I advocate for monitoring your progress in different methods:

Do your garments match higher?

Are you sleeping effectively and have extra power?

Do you look and really feel bodily fitter and stronger?

Are you hitting your vitamin and health objectives with out feeling disadvantaged?

Are you hitting PRs in the health club?

Are you cheerful together with your meals selections and total life-style habits?

These indicators painting a way more correct image of total well being, wellness, and happiness than a quantity. If the reply to those questions is sure, then who cares what the scale says?!

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