Tracking your development throughout your weight loss journey is a crucial aspect of making progress towards your weight goal. Without measuring fluctuations in your weight on a daily basis, there is no way to know which of your habits are and aren’t working to reach and maintain your goal weight. Additionally, studies have shown that people who track their weight are more likely to reach and maintain their goal weight, as it is much easier to catch when you are straying away from your goals.
Factors that influence weight
Many factors contribute to variations in your weight throughout the day. These include the meals you have eaten, how much fluid you have consumed, whether or not you did strenuous exercise, how much you have used the bathroom, and your sleeping patterns. Specifically, foods that are high in sodium or carbohydrates lead your body to retain water more than other types of food, leading to a higher weight fluctuation. Fluids that you have consumed are also released from your body at different rates, leading to more variation in weight. Other factors include medications you take, your menstrual cycle, or alcohol intake.
It is totally normal for your weight to go up and down throughout the day depending on these factors, and in fact, an average adult’s weight can fluctuate up to about five or six pounds per day. Comparing your weight first thing in the morning one day to your weight after eating a hamburger for lunch the next is not representative of its true nature on a daily basis. Without measuring properly, it becomes difficult to know whether or not there was a real change when you step on the scale, or if you just had a big lunch. In order to properly track your weight change, there are steps you can take to make sure you have the most accurate amount whenever you do check the scale.
Steps you can take to have the most accurate weight measurement
First of all, keeping your measurements accurate to your body over the course of multiple days or months requires consistency. One way to keep the measurements of your weight as precise as possible is to weigh yourself around the same time each day. Time of day is one factor that contributes to weight fluctuation, so eliminating this will lead you to having more accurate measurements.
Secondly, if possible, it is best to measure your weight as the first thing you do when you wake up, directly after using the bathroom. This is because the time frame between when you go to sleep and wake up is typically the longest period in a 24 hour span that you don’t have other external factors like food or exercise messing with your weight. Weighing yourself each day as soon as you wake up is also a great way to make a habit of tracking how various things affect your body, which can lead to a better understanding of what works for your body. Building up small habits like this one can lead to long term health benefits.
Third of all, it is helpful to weigh yourself on the same scale on a flat surface every day in order to make sure there are no variations based on the measurement device. It is also beneficial to try and weigh yourself in either the same clothing or minimal clothing each time, as wearing different outfits at weigh-in will have an impact on the number on the scale.
In summary, the more factors you can eliminate from the day to day variation in your measurement, the more accurate it will be. There is nothing wrong with fluctuation in weight, as it is completely normal for your body to be different on different days. Weighing in on a Monday morning after a weekend of extra calories will inevitably be different than on a Thursday midafternoon before eating lunch. That being said, consistency in measurement is important to helping you reach your weight loss goal, and maintain it once you are there.