Tuesday Tip: Don’t rely on the scales 🤗
I tell clients not to weigh themselves too often, or worry about short-term weight fluctuations, but why? Your body is 60% water and it’s one of the first things you lose (or gain). Fat mass can’t change overnight so being 1-2kg heavier in a day won’t be fat. Average water loss/gain over 24hrs ranges from 0.5 – 2.5 kg. To lose a 1/2 kg fat in a day you’d need to burn approx 4,500 cals; a massive extra calorie burn for one day! Water however is lost (and gained) due to:
#1 Low-carb diets – when you cut carbs you lose water as the body uses glycogen for energy. It’s stored with water so using it releases water which you pee out.
#2 Increased protein – Protein breakdown creates urea and nitrogenous waste which need water to be removed from the body – the water flushes them out, so more water is lost.
#3 Salt – If your diet is high salt your body retains water to dilute the excess sodium e.g. a particularly carb heavy, high salt meal will lead to greater water retention. In addition high salt results in high blood pressure which can cause cardiovascular damage long term.
#4 Caffeine – is a mild diuretic i.e causes water loss and increased urination. This is more pronounced if new to caffeine. If you regularly drink it the effect will be small, but a very heavy coffee day could impact your water weight.
#5 Alcohol – this prevents the release of vasopressin, a pituitary hormone that regulates water loss. Water loss (dehydration) is a side effect of alcohol (hence the hangover) so this will reduce your water weight too.
#6 Exercise – if you exercise intensely, or in hot weather, you will sweat more and lose water. Try it – weigh yourself pre and post a really intense session and see how much water you’ve lost.
So it’s normal for weight to fluctuate which is why weighing daily or multiple times a day is pointless (unless you are using them for weekly averages). Long term weight changes result from changes in fat and lean muscle so if you’re seeing big losses in only a day or so then you know it’s water loss, and if you wake up a few kg’s heavier than the day before you know that’s not fat either!
Happy Tuesday 🤗