Stressed about the scales? Feel like you’re not losing weight? This article will put your mind at rest – and show you how to use the scales a better way!
Embarking on a weight loss journey can be exciting (imagine how you’ll look and feel!) but frustrating too.
The frustration is made worse if the bathroom scales don’t seem to be playing ball.
If you know you’re sticking to a fat loss diet and keeping active, why on earth aren’t you losing weight?
Before you throw in the towel, read this list. The reasons might just surprise you.
Why you’re “not losing weight”
How often do you weigh yourself? If it’s only once a week or so, there’s your answer. If you’re in a calorie deficit, you will be losing fat. You are simply weighing in too infrequently to get reliable data.
We all have heavier and lighter days (I’ll explain why in a moment). Now imagine that you weigh in on a particularly “light” day one week, then catch yourself on a “heavy” day the next week. You’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve put on several kgs. But of course you haven’t.
10 common variables that affect weigh ins
If you ate a higher volume of food yesterday, or haven’t…ahem… moved it through your system yet, you’ll weigh more.
Try this: weigh at the same time every day (after going to the toilet) and take a weekly average
How late you ate
If you ate really late, your body will have had less time to digest the food. So you’re likely to weigh more.
Try this: aim for consistency in when you eat and when you weigh in
Water weight will show up on the scale, and being dehydrated will cause a (false) low weight.
Try this: drink plenty of water every day so your hydration levels stay consistent
Alcohol is dehydrating and can cause a temporary drop on the scale. It can also lead you to overeat!
Try this: bear in mind that the day after drinking is not a reliable day for a weigh in.
Salty food will cause your body to hold on to more water, which will show up on the scale as a jump in weight.
Try this: drink more water when you eat salty food, and don’t be surprised if your next weigh in is a high blip.
Crazy as it sounds, a good night’s sleep can lead to a drop in scale weight.
It’s all due to stress and inflammation.
Try this: aim for 7-9 hours sleep a night and don’t be surprised if a bad night’s sleep leads to a higher weigh in.
If you’re experiencing a lot of stress in life, you are likely to see a few higher weigh ins. It doesn’t mean you’re not losing weight. It means your body is inflamed and holding water.
Try this: get rid of stress and manage what you can’t get rid of. Try stress-reducing strategies like meditation, walking, early nights.
Infrequent weigh ins
Our weight can fluctuate between 1-3% every day. If you only weigh once a week, you’re not getting enough accurate data to view your weight loss trend.
Try this: weigh every day and take a weekly average
All women know that the menstrual cycle can cause huge changes in weight across a month, even if you’re 100% with eating and exercise.
Try this: weigh every day, turn a blind eye to the highs, and look for that average trend
All sorts of medication can lead to temporary weight gain or spikes on the scale weight. Hopefully knowing this will remove some of the stress.
Try this: remember that the scale weigh can’t tell you about water, inflammation, and illness – it just gives you one number to account for everything.
The smartest way to record your weight loss
It might sound counter intuitive to weigh yourself more often. But it can be a useful approach.
Weighing every day – at the same time – and then taking a weekly average will smooth out the erratic highs and lows, giving you a better picture of your weight loss trend.
Aim for consistency in your food volume, sleep, water, and weigh ins. This will help you see a truer reflection of your weight loss efforts.
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