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“How much do you weigh?”

It’s not a complicated question, but the answer isn’t as straightforward as you might think. Sure, you could step onto a scale right now and get a number that represents your weight at this particular moment.

The problem is that your weight can vary by at least a few pounds (or more!) throughout the day. That’s right. If you were to weigh yourself three or four times throughout the day (which I most definitely recommend you NOT do), you’re sure to be looking at three or four different numbers.

And it’s not just eating a big meal that can have a short-term impact on your weight. Here are some other things to keep in mind:

Hydration Levels. This is probably the biggest day-to-day variable in your body weight. Think about it this way; you know those reusable quart bottles that people we use to make sure we drink enough water throughout the day? One of those full bottles weighs two pounds. So if you come up short in your daily hydration goals, then the bathroom scale is going to show you weighing less. But it’s not that you’ve really lost weight; it’s just that you’re a bit dehydrated.

This is also one of the big reasons why you’re likely to weigh less in the morning when you first wake up. Your body has spent the past eight hours (or however long you’re able to sleep) going through its rest and rebuilding processes, all of which use water. You weigh less in the morning because you’re under-hydrated.

It’s also worth noting that if you’re still having your period, you will likely retain water and thus gain a bit of weight during this time.

Sodium Intake. When you eat salty foods and otherwise consume more sodium than you need, your body tends to retain more water to compensate, which affects your body weight.

Stored Carbohydrate. When your body stores excess dietary carbohydrate, it does so by converting glucose to a form of hydrated glycogen, and additional water is stored in the muscles as well. But like being well hydrated, having good glycogen stores is a positive thing, even if it means it pushes the number on the scale a little higher.

Going to the Bathroom. You’ll weigh less after you go to the bathroom and, at the risk of being too graphic, having a large bowel movement can have a noticeable effect on your body weight.

The point of all of this isn’t to give pointers on how to lose a few pounds. It’s to help you understand that your body is always in flux, and the natural ebbs and flows of your various bodily functions make your body weight fluctuate as well. So don’t freak out if you step on the scale and it says that you weigh a pound or two more than you did yesterday.

But if you weigh yourself every day, please consider scheduling a free call with me so that we can discuss why you might want to break that habit.

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