This morning I was down 1.5# from yesterday after one day on a rigid meal prep plan for two weddings I’m in this Spring. Did I lose 1.5# of fat since yesterday morning? No. That’s not physically possible. I’ve noticed how 1-2# gain or loss can seriously affect one’s motivation to continue on a set plan, so I thought that this presented a really good opportunity to talk about a shared, common frustration: weight fluctuation.
Big weight fluctuations from day to day, around 1-5# (for a female is normal), are due to water and sodium fluctuations. Two days ago I had Christmas dinner, dessert, treats, wine. No wonder I woke up a little heavier yesterday. I got back on my plan yesterday, drank plenty of water and ate clean, and dropped that Christmas dinner bloat.
Fact: Sodium holds almost 10x it’s weight in water.
Fact: If you’re “holding water”, for whatever reason, drink more water to flush out the bloat.
Let me explain. Your body is smart. It operates on a feedback system: if your body is getting enough of what it needs, in this case water, it will let go of what it’s holding on to. Conversely, if it’s not getting enough water, it’s going to hold on to, or retain, what it does get.
Food and calories work very much the same way. Your body’s primary job is survival. If your calories are too low, your body is going to store what it does get. Same thing if you frequently skip meals or only eat 1-2 meals per day. I heard it 1,000 times as a weight loss counselor, “I only eat once a day, I don’t understand why I’m overweight.” The reason is, for most of the day, your body thinks it’s starving, so when it does get food, it stores it because it doesn’t know when it’s going to get fed again.
I got off-track a little but this is all important to understand if you really want long-term, sustainable weight loss. Skipping meals actually does more harm to your goals. For best results, you want to eat small meals every 3-4 hours, which comes out to about 5 meals per day (or 3 meals and 2 snacks). Check out my Meal Plans for examples on this set-up.
It’s also important to understand that weight fluctuations are normal. One bad meal or bad day is not going to put pounds on you, nor is one good meal or good day going to take pounds off. It takes consistency over time, and you’ll see a steady decline on the scale.
I hope this helped ease some of your frustrations with the scale. If you’re one of those people where the weight gets in your head, don’t weigh every day. To make sure you’re still on the right track, once a week is perfect.
Questions? Contact Me!