"It's a marathon, not a sprint."
Let's talk about daily weight fluctuations. There are many reasons why your weight can change day to day or even hour to hour. We're going to give you the short list of the most likely culprits and how to counteract that weight gain.
Water weight.... it's fickle!
Sometimes we eat outside the recommendations of our nutrition plans and the result is a spike in the scale the next day, or even worse sometimes we stay completely within our recommendations and still the next day we see a spike in the scale! Rest assured its water weight. Humans can rarely eat enough food within the confines of a day to gain poundage related to fat mass. Fat gain is usually something that occurs more often by eating more than your allotted calories over a period of time.
So if you eat one of those delicious yet non-macro friendly meals and you see a spike, it is most likely due to water weight-unless you are doing this 7 days a week. What causes you to retain water? Sodium. Water is attracted to sodium much like a magnet...like a moth to a flame... and follows it wherever it goes. So if you ingest a sodium packed meal expect to see a spike the following day. Fun fact: just two cups of water (16OZ) weighs 1lb.
To get rid of excess water weight the solution is to drink more water! I know it sounds counter-intuitive but by drinking more water you flush out some of that excess sodium and you should see the scale return to normal within a couple days.
Everyone’s favorite subject... Sometimes we experience periods in our life where things just don’t move smoothly. Fortunately, this inconvenience doesn’t usually last long but it can be brought about in a number of ways: a change in diet, a decrease in exercise, travel, PMS, stress and sleepless nights.
You can combat constipation by drinking more water and eating foods rich in fiber. If you hit your fiber recommendation you should experience little to no problem in this area. If you are hitting your fiber consistently and drinking at least 1 oz of water per body weight and are still experiencing this problem, talk to your coach and your physician.
This is where things get a little complicated so bare with me. Glycogen comes from carbs. When you eat carbohydrates you metabolize them into glycogen which is used for energy. However, if you produce more glycogen than is needed for energy it gets stored in your liver and your muscles- this is not a bad thing, you need this.
For every gram of carbohydrate you store, with it comes 3-4 grams of water (see how that water weight snuck in there again!) and still this is completely normal. Now sometimes adjustments need to be made, because obviously all people were not created the same and some have more sensitivity to carbs than others.
This is why it is crucial to hit you numbers consistently. If you do that your coach can easily identify whether or not you are sensitive to carbs or just experiencing a normal spike. A good rule to live by is not to eat processed or highly refined carbs, which we discussed in depth in the carbohydrate blog post. Again an easy trick to live by is to look at the label-if it has zero fiber do not eat it!
Hopefully after reading this you understand that daily fluctuations in the scale are normal. I know the question burning on the tip of your tongue is how do your coaches know if you are losing weight if the scale is going up and down all the time, right?! As exercise nutrition specialists we have studied these patterns and go by a very simple rule- there is a reason why we have you weigh yourself everyday, and no its not to drive you crazy or depress you.
We need to take the average over a 7-day period and that’s how your weight loss for the week is calculated. Also, it proves to you that fluctuations are real and normal. So if you all take a glance at your spreadsheet we have input a formula that does this for you to see, right next to you daily weights data is the average column, and at the end of your 7 day period it calculates your average and then it inputs that data into the difference column, which adds the sum of the average from week to week and that is your weight loss. This is the number you need to be paying attention to.
So what is real progress?
Simply losing 1⁄2-1% of body fat every 2-4 weeks is excellent progress, 1⁄2% is average and less than that is poor progress. For muscle gain 1-2 lbs. every 2-4 weeks is excellent progress, 1 lb/4weeks is average, less than that is poor progress.
So if you are (on average) losing 0.5-1 lb. per week that is excellent progress. Aside from that it takes the body anywhere from 2-4 weeks to jump into full fat mobilization mode so be patient, hit your numbers and
TRUST THE PROCESS!
Even though many of you are not at the stage of maintenance we want to preempt this category before it is reached by all of you. Maintenance mode is generally where most people tend to go once they have attained their goals. What this means is that we slowly increase you macros back up until you have reached your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE).
It is not uncommon to see the number on the scale increase a little during maintenance mode, but if you are following the 5 healthy habits and your transition guidelines you can rest assured it is probably Lean Body Mass (LBM), but it can be mind blowing all the same. It’s an awful feeling to think that all your hard work is going out the window but this is why your visual assessments are crucial.
They allow you to see tiny transformations in your body over time that would be missed. So even while in maintenance it is important to keep up with your check-ins until you have fully transitioned off macros.
Just because we have explained to you that fluctuations are normal, does not by any means suggest that you should not voice your concerns to your coach! It is absolutely encouraged to ask questions, inform yourself and have open dialogue with your coach. All of these things will help get you on the fast track to your goals.
This is why we do weekly check-ins, because this gives us some insight into how your body is reacting. That’s is why we change your numbers, that is individualized coaching. We are proud of every single one of you for taking this step and we are dedicated to getting you results!
You got this,