Is Your Bodyweight Going Up and Down like Crazy?
If you track your progress off the scale, then you’ll experience plenty of ups and downs with your weight. These can lead to a nice fist pump (you lose weight) or a massive meltdown (you gained weight), because your body weight is very dependent on a lot of factors – with one of them being fluid balance. Our bodies are very responsive to our environment as well, and this results in bodyweight going up and down, and then down some more, and then it creeps back up……you get the point.
Depending on the level of body fat percentage, you can be anywhere from 50 to 80% to water (1). This means that your body functions off of a fluid balance; avoid drinking water and your body holds onto it; start drinking water and all of the sudden your body can get rid of the excess. This carries over into other activities like sweating, eliminating (going to the bathroom), and even breathing eliminate water from the body and thus can affect your weight (1). It’s even estimated that throughout a normal day – without exercise – a human eliminates 2.8 quarts of water a day (2). That’s nearly four pounds!
This can explain why your scale functions like a roller coaster and why it’s best to have your body fat measured. Body fat percentages give you far more insight on your physiology and fitness level. In fact, many people who society would call “overweight” hardly look the part because they have a low body fat percentage coupled with an appreciable amount of muscle mass. Personally, I would argue that measuring your bodyfat can provide an “emotional rock” of sorts. What I mean by that is that bodyfat can provide some stability with the inconsistencies of the scale and offer some sense to what that electronic device is telling you.
Speaking of those electronic devices, avoid using any gadgets to measure your body fat. These tools are very reliant on your hydration level, and fluctuations in your water balance will give an inaccurate reading of your body fat. Any scale that claims it can measure your body fat needs to be thrown in the trash. I’m just saying.
Hopefully this sheds some light on why your bodyweight is going up and down. Getting your bodyfat checked can lead to some closure on this issue.
1. Williams, Melvin. Nutrition for Health, Fitness, and Sport. New York: Mcgraw Hill. 2007, pp 321-322
2. Holford, Patrick A. The Optimum Nutrition Bible. London; Crossing Press. 2004, pp 163