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Overcoming the Daily Anxiety of Scale Fluctuations

Overcoming the Daily Anxiety of Scale Fluctuations

Do you ever weigh yourself in the morning and find yourself feeling demotivated by the result?

You know that bodyweight tracking can be an important measure of progress, but this apparent daily coin-flip on your motivation is not serving your mental state.

It’s left you second-guessing the work you’ve put in. That one big meal you had last night shouldn’t have undone the progress you’ve made in the past month, right?

These bodyweight fluctuations are actually totally normal. In fact, your weight can easily vary by 2-5kg on any given day. But how?

Let’s explore why fluctuations happen, take back control and discover how we can utilise daily weight tracking more effectively, without flipping tables.

The biggest influences on your body weight fluctuations are food & water intake, carbohydrates and sodium.

This is important to understand because these factors have nothing to do with fat and muscle mass changes.

Food - The food you eat has weight. If you ate a meal before bed and weigh yourself in the morning, some of this will contribute to the data, especially if you ate late to ensure you hit your macro goals.

Carbohydrates - carbs specifically cause the body to store extra water. This isn’t a bad thing. For every 1g of glycogen (stored carbohydrates), your body stores 3g of extra water. An 80kg man can store up to 1.2kg of glycogen, therefore 3.6kg of extra water(1).

Sodium - Studies show that increased sodium levels increase water retention. This is essential to keep sodium and water levels balanced(2).

With this in mind, know that there are many factors that influence your weight on a daily basis, even if you’re moving towards your physique goals.

But how can you be sure you’re making progress over time?

Use a weekly average. To do this, I would firstly suggest you make your weigh-ins as consistent as possible each day. First thing in the morning, after the bathroom visit and before drinking water is my preference.

Do this every day, add up the numbers at the end of the week and divide by 7. This will give you a weekly average.

Track your progress with weekly averages instead of daily numbers. This will help take any fluctuations into account. You will have more holistic data, and be less victim to the daily anxiety.

So, next time you’re put off by your daily weigh-in, try to look at the bigger picture and use this extended data set to ensure you’re making the progress you want.

References

Kojima, S., Inoue, I., Hirata, Y., Saito, F., Yoshida, K., Abe, H., Deguchi, F., Kawano, Y., Kimura, G., Yoshimi, H., Yokouchi, M., Kuramochi, M., Ito, K. and Omae, T., 1987. Effects of Changes in Dietary Sodium Intake and Saline Infusion on Plasma Atrial Natriuretic Peptide in Hypertensive Patients. Clinical and Experimental Hypertension. Part A: Theory and Practice, 9(7), pp.1243-1258.

Kreitzman, S., Coxon, A. and Szaz, K., 1992. Glycogen storage: illusions of easy weight loss, excessive weight regain, and distortions in estimates of body composition. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 56(1), pp.292S-293S.

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