If you’re going to weigh yourself regularly to monitor weight loss progress make sure you’re doing it properly.
Bathroom scales are just one measure of progress or change and not always the best, especially if you don’t understand how to correctly interpret the numbers.
And before you think ‘but I’ve either gone up or down, right?’, actually fluctuations in number weight on the scale don’t always mean fat loss (or gain). This article on Manage Your Macros’ blog includes this input from me:
“Most people are looking for fat loss and/or muscle gain and it takes longer for these to change. Day to day fluctuation is likely just water changes, or bowel content weight (which will be more if you’ve eaten a bulky, high fiber meal, even if it wasn’t high in calories).”
I wrote more about scales and why they’re not always accurate here.
To summarise, here’s what you need to know if you’re going to weigh yourself to keep track of progress:
- women’s fluctuating hormones mean we have more water retention some days than others, but this doesn’t mean you’ve gained fat
- salt and carbohydrates also hold more water, so if you’ve eaten a salty meal (even if it’s a healthy one), you may weigh more
- muscle is denser than fat, so the more toned you are, the heavier you’ll be even if you’re ‘smaller’
- a full bowel weighs more; if you’re constipated you’ll almost certainly be heavier
- weigh yourself at the same time, once a week, wearing underwear only and after going for a pee, and before eating or drinking anything. If you relax a little with your diet over the weekend, Fridays are better than Mondays as the extra carbs, salt and food consumed over the weekend might sway number results.