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How the Bathroom Scale Lies About Your Weight Loss Progress

By August 26, 2018 weight loss
bathroom scale

Your bathroom scale is a dirty liar! No, really, if you’re trying to lose weight the scale is a helpful tool to reference, but because it only tells you what you weigh in that exact moment you’ll be welcome with nothing but constant frustration if you check it religiously.

Here are a few instances in which you should either ignore the scale during your weight loss process or just not check it at all.

1. Right After You’ve Eaten 

If you check your weight on the bathroom scale right after you’ve eaten a heavy dinner don’t be surprised if it reads 5 pounds or so heavier than the last time you checked.

It’s less likely that you gained weight from that steak dinner and more likely that your blood volume has increased and the food is still sitting in your stomach and digestive system. High sodium foods like ramen noodles can cause you to retain fluid which will also contribute to the appearance of sudden weight gain.

You might retain this weight for a few hours or days but no real permanent damage will be done. Don’t let it destroy your relationship with food.

2. When You Start a New Diet or Exercise Program

When you first start a new diet or exercise program you’ll probably become tempted to constantly check the scale. You’ll see some really awesome weight loss but these numbers will inevitably slow down within a few weeks.

rapid weight loss is normal in this case because when calories from food are reduced the body gets its energy from releasing glycogen which holds water. When it’s burned for energy it burns the water, not body fat. The weight you lose will be rapid at first and then slow down substantially

3. After a Workout 

If you just did a huge exercise and then stripped down to check your weight you’re going to be disappointed. Weight loss doesn’t happen overnight so anything you lose is going to be water weight from sweating.

The weight that you lost will return as soon as you cool down and rehydrate. It’s not going to stay gone, unfortunately.

4. When You’ve Just Chugged a Ton of Water

Just as you can lose weight temporarily from sweating, you can gain it from chugging a bunch of liquids.

A 16-ounce glass of water will show up as about one pound on the scale. Don’t panic if you check the bathroom scale right after you drink said glass of water. It will go away eventually.

5. Before You go to Bed

You might decide that it’s a good idea to check your weight before you go to bed to see how much you’ve gained or lost during the day. This is actually a bad idea.

Your weight will fluctuate depending on the timing of your last meal, the last thing you drank, or even how much your PJs weigh. To get an accurate idea of your actual weight, make sure to weigh at a consistent time every day while wearing the same clothes, and using the same scale. Don’t just weigh when you wake up and right before you go to bed.

6. When You have a Baby

You just gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby. You decide to get on the bathroom to scale to see if you’ve lost any of the baby weight, and you walk away disappointed.

It’s possible for you to lose 15 pounds in a week when you factor in losing the baby, placenta, extra blood volume, and amnionic fluid. The water and baby weight might drop quickly but you also have to factor in all the weight you gained while you were pregnant.

It’s because you gain a bunch of weight throughout your pregnancy that you won’t see immediate changes. Don’t let this discourage you. Just focus on eating right, getting all the rest you need, and enjoying your new bundle of joy.

7. Anytime During Your Menstrual Cycle

During your menstrual cycle, you probably feel like you just gulped down 2 gallons of water. Women have it tough, they bloat and go through all kinds of other bodily changes. 

These changes cause your weight to constantly fluctuate by up to 2 pounds on the scale. Don’t freak out. These changes to your weight tend to go as quickly as they come.

Weight and Fat are Not the Same Things

All your bathroom scale can do is measure your total body weight. What it can’t tell you is how much of that weight is muscle and how much is fat.

You would assume that any weight gain is bad and any weight loss is good, but what if all that weight gain is muscle that you’ve obtained from hitting the gym?

This also works vice versa. What if all the fat you lost was muscle? Muscle is the weight you want to gain and fat is the weight you want to lose.

The Bathroom Scale can be a Lier

You can’t trust the scale alone when you’re trying to lose weight. It can be a helpful tool that you can reference once a day but if you check it religiously you will be disappointed constantly. A number of things can factor your weight in the moment such as food, water, baby weight, your menstrual cycle, or your workout. Weight and fat are not the same things but the bathroom scale just measures your body weight in general. It’s not an accurate reading at times. Just trust yourself, and get plenty of regular diet and exercise and you’ll be fine. Don’t obsess over the scale.

Do you want to get on the road to a healthy lifestyle and shed off a few pounds? If so, check out our program to see what help we can offer you.