When people go on a diet they typically want to see results right away. Seeing results helps you feel empowered and motivated to continue on your diet plan. But, seeing results every time you jump on the scale isn't always the case. You may notice after you weigh yourself, your weight doesn't change or you may gain a couple pounds. This could hinder or prevent you from continuing your diet. This is one of the reasons why weighing yourself everyday is not recommended.
1. Differences Between Losing Weight and Losing Fat
A lot of times people will say I want to try and lose weight or they will say, I have lost weight. But, did you know that weight loss and fat loss are two different terms? Weight loss means that you can lose water and muscle and fat loss means that you're solely losing fat. Losing weight usually takes a shorter time to happen. Also the heavier the person weighs the more weight from fat they will lose.
Losing fat takes longer than people think. Many times people will set goals for weight loss that are not realistic. Some people claim that they lost 5-7 pounds the first week of their diet but all of that weight is not going to be fat. In fact, most of it will be muscle and water. Losing muscle is not good because the muscles in our body provide us with structure and strength. Those are two things we do not want to lose especially while being on a diet. This is one of the reasons why it is recommended to lose weight gradually.
2. Glycogen Levels Can Shift, Causing Weight Gain
Glycogen is a short term energy source that your body will tap into when it needs immediate energy. It can come from all different kinds of food but the foods that are high in carbohydrates trigger glycogen more than any other food. 3-4 grams of water will automatically bond to every one gram of glycogen. This is good to know because when people go on low carbohydrate or no carbohydrate diets they are restricting glycogen. During these diets glycogen will get depleted which means there is less water for glycogen to bond to. This is why people that go on these diets tend to drop down several pounds the first week or two but, most of that weight loss is water.
This is also why people think they have gained all their weight back. If they restricted their carbohydrates and then had a cheat day where they ate some carbohydrates it could cause "weight" gain but. this "weight" would be mostly water. When you eat carbohydrates after restricting them, the water will start to bind to the glycogen. So, don't get discouraged when you jump on the scale to find your weight increased after a cheat day because it is mostly water weight.
3. Your Weight Can Change With Your Salt Intake
Salt is added into a lot of different foods for flavor and/or preserving foods. So, it is easy to consume a fair amount of salt throughout the day. Mayo clinic mentioned that the average person in America consumes around 3400 mg of sodium a day. This is more than 1,000 mg of the recommended daily amount of sodium. When your sodium and water intakes vary it can change your bodies ability to retain water or not. This is why your weight could change from time to time. What this means is, if you were to eat foods with a higher salt content your weight would increase temporarily and vice versa.
4. Muscles Weigh More Than Fat
Adding strength training into your weight loss plan can be a great way to strengthen your bones, build muscle and lose fat. When you build muscle and lose fat your replacing the weight of fat with the weight of muscle. This is sometimes why people who participate in strength training feel like they haven't lost weight or their weight will increase when they go on the scale. This can be discouraging but it's important to realize that when you're doing resistance training for a period of time, you're going to have a lower percentage of body fat and higher percentage of lean muscle mass. This is where measuring your body composition comes in handy. If you didn't measure your body composition you may think you failed at your weight loss plan, when you didn't.
Think Before You Get On the Scale
Getting on the scale can be tempting but now you know there are many different factors that can affect your weight and why you shouldn't weigh yourself everyday. It is recommended that you weigh yourself every 1-3 weeks because that is when you will see consistent changes within your weight. Another way to check your weight loss is by getting your body composition evaluated as well as taking measurements and knowing your waist to hip ratio. For more on weight to hip ratio click here. Both of these techniques will help you determine where you are with your weight loss goals and adjust where you need to.