Very often, when you go on a diet, the most commonly used tool to help you stay on track is the scale. Weighing yourself often can be a helpful indicator of success, but it also helps if you understand what occurs to your weight over the course of the day or week. The truth of the matter about your weight is that it can fluctuate two to four pounds over the course of one 24-hour period.
Since your body contains more than 70% water, your weight can vary significantly with only a change in your water intake. Have you ever weighed yourself right after your aerobics class or before you were able to rehydrate after your workout? You may have lost a few pounds just in the sweat you lost during your exercise session. Or have you ever noticed how much weight you can gain from just eating a salty meal the night before and getting bloated from water retention the next morning? The truth about your weight is that it can vary a lot just by what you eat and drink, as well as your activity during your day.
So, if you are serious about your diet, and are using your scale to help you monitor your progress, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Buy a Good Quality Scale
Try to find one that has a good reputation for being accurate. You might even want to consider obtaining a scale that weighs your body, your water content and your body composition. These scales can be a bit more expensive, but they can give you a much more accurate picture of whether the pounds you seem to have lost overnight are truly from losing fat as opposed to water weight.
Weigh Yourself in the Morning
The best time to weigh yourself is usually in the morning on an empty stomach as your body is in a stable state, since typically you haven’t had anything to eat or drink for several hours. Keep in mind what you may have done to your body the day before, as this may impact the number you see on the scale.
Did you eat more salt or more starch the day prior? Did you exercise less? Did you have an excessive amount of alcohol the night before which can be lead to dehydration?
The number on the scale may vary greatly from day to day. The real key to sustainable weight loss is to weigh yourself at the same time every day, and gauge your success on a weekly average. If over the course a few weeks, you see your average weight slowly decline, chances are you are making legitimate progress with your weight loss efforts.
So, when it comes to tracking your dieting progress, use your morning weight as your guide. Before you know it, the numbers will start to drop and your body will thank you!
Elizabeth Salada MD, MPH
Internal Medicine and Wellness
The opinions shared in this article are those of the contributor and not Total Gym Direct.