Are you struggling with your relationship with the scale? Most people do – but it’s not the best determinant of health.
There are better ways to see how you’re doing in your wellness journey – like taking measurements and testing your blood pressure.
So, since the scale doesn’t tell the whole truth about your health, you shouldn’t get too caught up in it. Check out this guide to learn why the scale lies.
When you consume carbohydrates, they turn to glucose (sugar). Extra glucose your body doesn’t need is immediately stored in the liver and muscles in the form of glycogen. This compound can hold a substantial amount of water.
The additional water is attached to glycogen molecules. These glycogen stores increase water weight.
If you’re an athlete, you may experience more unrealistic “weight gain” because your intracellular water capacity is high and your body is also trained to hold more glycogen.
Your weight at any instant depends on your water intake and the output of the water through sweat. Immediately after drinking some water, your body weight will shift upward, and when you lose some water through sweat, your body weight will shift downward.
If you’re not taking in enough water (fluids), your body will hold on to the little you’ve taken and this will increase your scale weight. The water-salt balance in your body will also cause seasonal shifts in your weight. During warm weather, your body uses aldosterone to retain more fluid.
This will make you weigh more. So what looks like weight gain in summer might just be your body’s natural reaction to the warmer weather. The reverse is true during winter.
Your weight can be impacted by air travel. The pressure, recycled air, and exposure to germs can disrupt the bacteria in your gut microbiome and your circadian rhythms. The longer your flight is, the worse these symptoms get.
They can also be caused by blue light in the evening or shift work, which also affects circadian rhythms. These changes will make you gain some weight. Again – this is temporary, though it’s very deceptive.
Any figure you get from the scale any time you weigh yourself is just a snapshot. If you weigh yourself several times a day, you’ll be shocked to notice how the figures keep changing.
Your weight doesn’t take a lot of time to change, and within just one hour, the scale can indicate you’ve gained a significant amount. But what causes these drastic changes? Some of these changes may come about due to eating, visiting the loo, etc.
During the menstrual period, hormones fluctuate and lots of water get retained in the body. This is true especially about a week before this monthly cycle. For this reason, you might be surprised that you’ve gained up to 5 lbs in weight during this period.
This is a false weight gain. Once you get past the menstrual period, your body will lose the retained water and your weight will get back to normal.
Scale Weight Makes You Stressed and Gain More Weight
Several studies have established a strong correlation between elevated stress levels and weight gain. The more stress you feel, the more weight you gain. It is a vicious cycle. Your high body weight causes you stress which in turn causes you to gain more weight.
Stress is also known to cause binge eating. If you combine that with negative augmentation from the scale, you’ll be in a total mess. It’s just another vicious cycle. The stress leads you to binge eating.
Binge eating increases your weight and this makes you be stressed more. Stress increases cortisol production. Cortisol is a steroid hormone which regulates metabolism. It has been linked to higher levels of abdominal fat in both men and women.
Strength or Resistance Training
Doing body-weight training or weight lifting causes trauma to your muscle tissue and other body parts. This is a normal part of muscle growth because the muscle needs to rebuild and regenerate itself to make you leaner and stronger.
As you train and your muscles fibers get built, some water will be retained in the muscles to speed up this process in the cells. That’s why after a few days of intensive training, you’ll realize that you’ve gained so much weight.
After resting for a few days, you’ll notice a drastic drop in your body weight. In short, the “gain” or “loss” of weight, in this case, depends only on your training.
Why the Scale Lies
The above facts that expose why the scale lies, you can make a U-turn and consider other parameters that you can use to measure your state of health.
A good coach or dietician will never suggest that you focus on scale weight alone. To make a positive transformation with your body, consider things that can bring you happiness and eliminate stress. Check your diet, do some exercise, and avoid alcohol or smoking.
Instead of weighing yourself, pay attention to how your clothes fit and how you feel during exercise. Take measurements if you need to – but don’t rely on the scale alone.
From glycogen storage to water retention and changes in lean body mass, your daily weight is bound to change. Do not allow a single number to determine your failure or success. If you want to learn more about healthy living, you can visit our blog.