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The bathroom scale….

Posted by Nancy Clark RD CSSD on Jan 14, 2010 6:15:27 AM

Question: I recently bought a really good bathroom scale and I weigh myself every morning. On days when I think I should have lost weight, the scale says I gained two pounds. This puts me in a really bad mood. What’s going on…?

 

Answer:

The scale weighs not just changes in fat loss (or fat gain), but also changes in body water and intestinal contents. Hence, your weight can fluctuate one or two pounds daily depending on if you are constipated, have diarrhea, or are bloated pre-menstrually. Do not expect your body to consistently weigh, let’s say, 120 pounds. Allow your weight to vary within a range between 118 and 122 pounds.

 

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.

 

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, such as a hot meeting room.

• overeating carbohydrates. When you “carbo-load”, you store about three ounces of water along with every ounce of carbohydrate.

 

Rather than weigh yourself every morning, I suggest you weigh yourself only once a week--or 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 fat--despite the number on the scale.

 

Rather than starting each day by weighing yourself, how about starting it 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!

 

Enjoy the day,

Nancy

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