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Q. I recently bought a really good scale and I weigh myself every morning. Some days, when I think I should have lost weight, the scale says I gained two pounds. How could that happen? What’s going on..?



A. The scale weighs not just changes in body fat, but also changes in body water and intestinal content. Hence, body weight generally fluctuates one or two pounds daily (depending on if you are constipated, have diarrhea, ate a salty meal that retains water, are bloated pre-menstrually, etc.).


Do not expect your body to consistently weigh, let’s say, 120 pounds but rather vary within a range between 118 and 122 pounds. Many factors affect water-weight. These include:

• hormonal shifts that occur not only premenstrually, but also if you are stressed or over-tired.

• salty foods, such a Chinese dinner or a bag of popcorn.

• hot weather or a hot environment.

• overeating carbohydrates.

When you overeat carbohydrate (pretzels, cookies, frozen yogurt, raisins, bagels, pasta, etc.), you store about three ounces of water along with every ounce of carbohydrate in your muscles. Water weight quickly comes, and quickly goes. It is not permanent. It is not body fat. You should not let this normal fluctuation depress your mood for the day.


Rather than weigh yourself every morning, I suggest you weigh yourself only once a weekor better yet, not at all! The scale rarely tells you anything you do not already know. If you feel thinner, if your clothes are looser, and if people are even commenting that you look leaner, then you have lost body fatdespite the number on the scale.


Rather than starting each day by weighing yourself, how about starting each day by smiling at yourself in the mirror and appreciating your body for all the wonderful things it does to help you live a fulfilling life? That sounds more fruitful to me!



Nancy Clark, MS RD CSSD

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Nancy Clark RD CSSD

Nancy Clark RD CSSD

Member since: Jul 8, 2007

Hi! I specialize in nutrition for exercise, and help active people figure out how to manage food, weight, exercise, energy and enjoyment of eating. Let me know if you have any questions!

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