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lisabinil 01-05-2011 05:28 PM

Weight Fluctuations
 
I have seen 3 threads about a 2 lb scale gain in a day and the anxiety it's giving folks. This explanation about water weight fluctuations is from NANY pg. 77 and hopefully will help with scale anxiety. :)

"THE MYTH OF THE DAILY WEIGH-IN

THE MYTH: The scale doesn't lie.

THE REALITY: Unless you wisely interpret what your scale says, it will drive you crazy! Even the newest digital scales suffer from an age-old flaw: they can't tell you what's in your body with enough accuracy to give you day-to-day guidance on the progress of your diet. Here's why. A typical adult's body contains about forty quarts of water, but it can safely range between thirty-nine and forty-one quarts. Since each quart weighs 2 pounds, your body weight randomly varies across a 4-pound "gray zone." Thirst and kidney function kick in only when you get to the bottom or top of this zone. Cutting your carb intake to less than 50 grams per day clears a few pounds of extra water, but that just pushes your 4-pound gray zone that much lower, without narrowing the range. Add to this the 2 to 5 pounds of water that premenstrual women typically retain, and you'll see why the scale cannot possibly be completely precise in measuring progress when you're losing say, 3 pounds of fat per week. And forget about day to day. Instead consider these options:

Don't weigh yourself at all, focusing rather on how your clothes fit and how good you feel.

Weigh yourself once a week to get a sense of your general progress, thus providing yourself fewer opportunities to hate your scale.

Weigh yourself daily and record the number in your journal. Each day, take the last three values, avererage them-you can even do this on your cell phone-and write that number down in a second column. This running three-day mean smoothes out much of the random noise. Even better, keep a running average for the whole week.


Whatever method you prefer, don't let a stupid scale and a few pounds of water control your mood or sense of self-worth."

Beeb 01-05-2011 05:59 PM

Great Post/Thread, Lisa!!! :clap::kicking::high5:

alligatorpie 01-05-2011 06:07 PM

This should be a sticky. Very helpful to veterans and newbies alike.

DXcoupe20 01-05-2011 06:12 PM

Exactly why I stopped weighing daily. Just once a week for me.

MaryBethRN42 01-05-2011 06:13 PM

Great post! I used to drive myself crazy weighing a couple times a day and then get discouraged if I "gained". This time I'm only weighing on the 1st and 15th of the month and taking measurements also. I haven't weighed since I restarted but I know my rings are looser and my face looks less puffy, so something is working!!

FloridaShell 01-05-2011 06:38 PM

Excellent post!

rqw1968 01-05-2011 07:52 PM

I don't weigh NEARLY as much as I used to when I first started LC-ing. It still feels strange if I go 2 days without jumping on the Wii balance board. If I had a high-sodium day, I know I'm going to be up because of water retention, so I don't bother. NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS thought I'd say that. LOL

If I eat something I'm not used to eating, I will weigh the next morning for sure. This is so I'll know how my body reacts. It's kind of fun, in a way. Sort of like doing research. LOL

Still maintaining, per the scales today. Not bad, but not good either. If I don't get enough water, I can pretty much count on either 1 lb up or maintaining. Not losses, so I shouldn't fret TOO much. But, I'm trying to lose, so it CAN get a little disheartening. The tape measure hasn't moved in a few weeks either. I did overindulge a bit (wine and a few days just a little over 20g carbs...) Plus, I've been really sick over the holidays, so there's that as well. Still sick, actually. But, I'm way better than a week ago. LOL

Hang in there ! In my case, it could be that my body is "resting" or "catching up" and will be ready to lose again soon. I'm not going back to my old ways though. I am keeping my eye on the goal. (25 yr high school reunion in June. Gotta be ready for that !!! ;) )

nolcjunk 01-05-2011 08:00 PM

But, the scale DOESN"T lie. Those fluctuations in scale weight reflect internal fluctuations in water, sodium, hormone levels. Just because that weight isn't body fat doesn't mean the scale is lying. As long as you keep these things in mind there is no reason why the numbers on the scale should be upsetting.

I don't think not weighing is the solution, that just just leads to denial since clothing sizes are vanity sized to the extreme.

I weigh daily and I credit it as one of the reasons that I have been at goal for years. The scale lets you know right away if you are gaining so you can get back on track when you gain a few pounds, instead of being surprised at the end of the month with a huge gain.

lisabinil 01-05-2011 08:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nolcjunk (Post 14238238)
But, the scale DOESN"T lie. Those fluctuations in scale weight reflect internal fluctuations in water, sodium, hormone levels. Just because that weight isn't body fat doesn't mean the scale is lying. As long as you keep these things in mind there is no reason why the numbers on the scale should be upsetting.

I don't think not weighing is the solution, that just just leads to denial since clothing sizes are vanity sized to the extreme.

I weigh daily and I credit it as one of the reasons that I have been at goal for years. The scale lets you know right away if you are gaining so you can get back on track when you gain a few pounds, instead of being surprised at the end of the month with a huge gain.


We are talking about on a daily basis not the long term. Scale weight is meainingless in terms of body recomp for those who are working on lowering bodyfat and gaining muscle. I lost and maintained a 127 lb loss and weighed monthly-it is a highly individual thing. :)

MamaSage 01-05-2011 08:07 PM

Great post.

I do weigh daily, but I fortunately am in a place right now where I see the number pretty objectively, and don't assume any accuracy until I've seen the number for several days (in either direction). It doesn't freak me out too much, though.

I also have an autoimmune issue that pertains to my adrenal glands, and the scale gives me a good idea of what is going on with my hormones. This might also be why I don't get too emotionally attached to a number--I see it as a part of a bigger issue that does not pertain to weight loss, and at times, it is good news if I'm up a pound, depending on where I am in my cycle.

lisabinil 01-05-2011 08:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MamaSage (Post 14238266)
Great post.

I do weigh daily, but I fortunately am in a place right now where I see the number pretty objectively, and don't assume any accuracy until I've seen the number for several days (in either direction). It doesn't freak me out too much, though.

I also have an autoimmune issue that pertains to my adrenal glands, and the scale gives me a good idea of what is going on with my hormones. This might also be why I don't get too emotionally attached to a number--I see it as a part of a bigger issue that does not pertain to weight loss, and at times, it is good news if I'm up a pound, depending on where I am in my cycle.


Great attitude! You have learned to use the scale as a tool not the tell all end all for your weight loss. :up:

MamaSage 01-05-2011 08:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lisabinil (Post 14238279)
Great attitude! You have learned to use the scale as a tool not the tell all end all for your weight loss. :up:

Thank you! I'm usually pretty dysfunctional, food-wise, so it's a bit of a miracle. :hyst: But again, I think an endocrine illness was a huge factor in how I saw those numbers, since I also have to chart and take my daily temperature. It's just one more tool, as you said. Plus, the fact that I didn't weight for years and had myself convinced that I hadn't gained THAT much...:rolleyes:...made me really have to suck it up, stay calm and get on the scale. :laugh:

nolcjunk 01-05-2011 08:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lisabinil (Post 14238263)
Scale weight is meainingless in terms of body recomp for those who are working on lowering bodyfat and gaining muscle. I lost and maintained a 127 lb loss and weighed monthly-it is a highly individual thing. :)

just because the scale doesn't tell you your body composition doesn't mean that it lies. It tells you how much you weigh, that's its purpose. I don't think anyone is looking at their weight and presuming how much muscle/fat they have. I think that blurb is misleading- it presumes that the scale lies just because it tells you your daily fluctuations.

tulipsandroses 01-05-2011 09:15 PM

Great post! I weigh weekly, sometimes less and it was that exact page in NANY that got me to stop obsessing over the scale.

Leo41 01-06-2011 04:17 AM

I agree with nolcjunk that the term "scale lies" is inaccurate, but I also understand why lisabinil posted this. We continually get posts from people who are upset, shocked, etc. because they "gained" a few pounds overnight, and they're looking for the reason--and discouraged by the process.

Daily weighing is fine for those who understand the way the body functions in terms of fluctuations, but it is a problem for new 'dieters' who are obsessive about the scale number and convinced that their WOE is not working because they've 'gained.'

Personally, although I want to be supportive, I get very tired of responding to all these posts and trying to explain the fluctuation issue.

We compound this with the emphasis on "goal," as though a person's weight on the scale can be some stable number. My own weight can fluctuation up to 5 lbs within one day!

I don't know the solution to this, but I think that anyone who is serious about weight loss needs to educate him/her self about the way the process works over time. I suspect that many people panic and go off plan because of normal weight fluctuations that they assume mean that their plan 'isn't working' and it's impossible for them to lose.

shortcut 01-06-2011 04:20 AM

I weigh every day and put it in an Xcell spreadsheet with a chart. It is a great visual aid. I don't worry about the little stalls and spikes because I can see that the overall trend is down. I can also see when I have had my little failures to follow plan and what is costs in time and pounds.

stardustshadow 01-06-2011 04:59 AM

Thanks for that...it gives those of us in a panic a new way to think about this...and maybe I should stop weighing daily;)

lisabinil 01-06-2011 05:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Leo41 (Post 14238732)
I agree with nolcjunk that the term "scale lies" is inaccurate, but I also understand why lisabinil posted this. We continually get posts from people who are upset, shocked, etc. because they "gained" a few pounds overnight, and they're looking for the reason--and discouraged by the process.

Daily weighing is fine for those who understand the way the body functions in terms of fluctuations, but it is a problem for new 'dieters' who are obsessive about the scale number and convinced that their WOE is not working because they've 'gained.'

Personally, although I want to be supportive, I get very tired of responding to all these posts and trying to explain the fluctuation issue.

We compound this with the emphasis on "goal," as though a person's weight on the scale can be some stable number. My own weight can fluctuation up to 5 lbs within one day!

I don't know the solution to this, but I think that anyone who is serious about weight loss needs to educate him/her self about the way the process works over time. I suspect that many people panic and go off plan because of normal weight fluctuations that they assume mean that their plan 'isn't working' and it's impossible for them to lose.


Well put as usual Leo! :)

TaDa! 01-06-2011 05:53 AM

Thank you for posting this Lisa!

My weight fluctuates exactly as described there .. over a 4 pound range, but mostly up and down a 2 pound range .. while losing weight and while maintaining. It did not stop me, or many many others from losing a LOT of weight .. and in fact, all the excess weight we needed to drop. The continual posts about being up 2 pounds drive me crazy, lol! but mostly because I feel badly for people who expect their weightloss to be machine-like and set themselves up for incredibly unrealistic expectations ..

I have posted this before

http://pic100.picturetrail.com/VOL60.../394437144.jpg http://pic100.picturetrail.com/VOL60.../394437331.jpg

The first chart is my entire first year where I lost 90+ pounds. I was very regular with my food and exercise despite only losing 6 pounds during induction. The slope down looks wonderfully even .. the second chart zooms in on that chart for a 2 month period that shows just how my weight went up and down all the time .. but that was irrelevant in the end ....

I just re-post this here since maybe the folks who have been frustrated in the last while, who Lisa is helping with this thread, might find this helpful too ... It is only one person's experience, but from my time on these boards, I think it is very very common for those who have lost large amounts of weight to see this very thing described in Lisa's OP.

May your bumpy ride be as fruitful as mine was! Stay the course people!!! you **can** do this!!

:love:

Pauline

Kateenie 01-06-2011 07:39 AM

Great post!

alligatorpie 01-06-2011 08:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Leo41 (Post 14238732)
I agree with nolcjunk that the term "scale lies" is inaccurate, but I also understand why lisabinil posted this. We continually get posts from people who are upset, shocked, etc. because they "gained" a few pounds overnight, and they're looking for the reason--and discouraged by the process.

Daily weighing is fine for those who understand the way the body functions in terms of fluctuations, but it is a problem for new 'dieters' who are obsessive about the scale number and convinced that their WOE is not working because they've 'gained.'

Personally, although I want to be supportive, I get very tired of responding to all these posts and trying to explain the fluctuation issue.

We compound this with the emphasis on "goal," as though a person's weight on the scale can be some stable number. My own weight can fluctuation up to 5 lbs within one day!

I don't know the solution to this, but I think that anyone who is serious about weight loss needs to educate him/her self about the way the process works over time. I suspect that many people panic and go off plan because of normal weight fluctuations that they assume mean that their plan 'isn't working' and it's impossible for them to lose.

The posts about daily fluid gains are a bit redundant, but people are new to the plan this time of year. They are learning, just like we did. If they annoy you, don't respond to them. Enough people here will. Think back to when you first started and saw a dreaded GAIN. Did it not cause you a little concern or anxiety? If not, I would say you are in the minority. I'm 6 months in, weigh everyday, and still get a little freaked when the scale goes up a couple days in a row. Even though I know it comes with the territory. The posts about gains and subsequent replies help me keep on track.

lisabinil 01-18-2011 07:29 PM

Bumping for newbies-so many are having problems with this.

fawn 01-18-2011 07:53 PM

Great thread Lisa!

Here's an example, I am in maintenance and I don't generally deviate from plan but once every few months.

I did a hike/run the other day that I have not done in ages and low and behold, I showed a 3 lb. gain on the scale 2 days later. I knew it was from my exercise because I was really sore......consequently, I had retained 3 lbs of water

leeloo 01-18-2011 08:00 PM

Yes! I'm so glad to see this!

I have been thinking all day that "as soon as I get home I'm going to type out this section of the book, for everyone who is freaking out about daily weight variations." And now I don't have to. :laugh:

As many others have said, on this thread and others, it's the TREND that matters, not little ups and downs from day to day.

It's still annoying, but we all just have to get a grip and stay on plan, until it's clear that the plan needs tweaking. Dr. A didn't call a stall a stall until 4 weeks went by; I still think that's a good rule to follow.

xandersmama 01-18-2011 08:18 PM

Ahh, well I posted something like this but I am very aware of how my body works - that's why I was upset. I weigh myself daily, same time every day - right in the morning before eating. Unless I binge or drink tons of water before bed, I know the number will be pretty accurate and consistent.

I also know that if I was to weigh myself later in the day, say after dinner, I will have gained 4-6 lbs from food and water. That's why I don't ever pay attention if I do step on the scale in the evening. I only weigh myself in the evening because I'm fascinated by the water and weight fluctuations.

So yes, I am one of those who was discouraged by stalling and then gaining a pound. But like I said, my weight in the morning is always pretty consistent. So I have a good idea of where I stand when I see that number. But I'm not really looking for an excuse to go off plan, the intent of me posting my concern was to get help with my meal planning and make sure I wasn't doing something wrong. I'm a perfectionist, and I like to have everything planned out and done correctly from the start(why waste time when I could be getting better results?). I tend to think that is how I succeed in things when I am really committed to them.

Anukii 03-05-2014 04:11 AM

BLESS. THIS. THREAD!!!

BUMP!!

This thread saved me from so much anxiety- I was already in the beginning stages of going nuts!

I've never officially dieted before and the low carb/high protein diet is my first official diet. I used to come here to read about Callanetics but now I'm reading this forum for its intended purpose and I am so glad you're all here with such vital information!

Everyone.. I have been weighing myself daily. Slap my hands if you must, I admit my sins. I was getting frustrated! I am 5'10 and began this diet last week at 187 pounds. Since then, I have been fluctuating from 180 to 184 randomly and it was driving me nuts because I wasn't sure if I was in ketosis or if I was doing this diet correctly! But I also knew I might be expecting too much too soon so I decided to research more.

I'm so glad I decided to search up low carb weight fluctuations and be lead to this beautiful thread!

I am only going to weigh myself once a week or once every two weeks! I can be at peace. :D

Thank you all! :heart:

Mimosa23 03-05-2014 04:24 AM

Anukii,

Welcome to LCF and thank you for finding and bumping this thread!

Red 03-05-2014 07:27 AM

I am so glad this was posted. Things are finally making sense now. Very informative. Thank you.

natural_born_texan 03-05-2014 08:27 AM

I think that many of us cannot be reminded of this enough.

Thanks a bunch!

Anukii 03-05-2014 02:18 PM

You're welcome! I had to thank everyone for the information and allow others the chance to see this vital information! =D


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