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Scale Fluctuations: What Do They Really Tell You?

Just a friendly reminder that your weight is not static. ⁣ Your body is dynamic and living, with what seems like an impossible number of processes happening all at once.

I don't typically recommend people weigh themselves daily due to this easily becoming stressful. There are some who view this as only data collection, where it doesn't impact their behaviours or thoughts but they seem to be few and far between. ⁣

Stress regarding weight fluctuations has come up a lot lately, so I think it's important to discuss. Here's what to consider...

Firstly, it will show a number that fluctuates

Your weight does not only reflect fat mass like we often associate it with. Weight fluctuations will happen across a day and day to day. It can increase or decrease, even if maintaining your weight.

It can be a useful measure of progress for some, but should not be our only measure.

Fluctuations can be due to a number of reasons

Hydration Status

Your intake of water will contribute to body mass (being ~70% water). Output through things like sweat and urination will reduce body water. This balance influences scale weight.

Salt Intake

Salt helps bring water into our cells, increasing our body water and scale weight. This is normal.

Carbohydrate Intake

Carbohydrates don't innately lead to weight gain, or an increase in fat mass rather, though they can influence fluctuations when we eat a little more of them than normal.

Stored carbohydrates (glycogen) holds ~3x it's weight in water- increasing scale weight. This is normal (it's also why we see quick but unsustained drops in weight when dropping carb intake).

Menstrual Cycle

Your weight will fluctuate depending on where you are in your cycle (if relevant). Hormonal changes mean that in the lead up to your period, it's common to hold more water and to bloat.

Going Potty...Or Not

You pass waste in urine and faeces, so your scale weight will also change as this occurs. This means if you haven't gone, you're also likely to weigh more!

Food Volume

The food you consume has weight, and as such contributes to scale weight. This is normal and expected!

What the scale doesn't show you

  • Your worth

  • How "good" or "bad" you've been (weight and diet never relate to your moral value but that's another post)

  • Your body composition: muscle mass, fat mass, waist circumference

  • How you look: how your clothes fit, hair, skin, nails

  • How you feel: energy, digestion, mood

  • Lifestyle habits: sleep, stress management

  • Performance changes: PBs, recovery, fitness levels

What to take from scale weights

That it is a tool that measures one piece of the puzzle. Just a data point along the way.

They should not be used as a sole measure of progress or overshadow other measures of progress! They do not need to be used if not helpful or relevant for you.

If you see your weight increase slightly, this doesn't mean you need to restrict the next day- this can do far more harm than good. ⁣

Assess how you're feeling, watch general trends, look to your habits- this will be your best guide of progress

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