Scale Fluctuations Explained In Simple Terms

by | Apr 25, 2023

Here’s how fat loss ACTUALLY happens …

You put in all this work, nothing changes. You keep going. Then you wake up one day and 10 lbs. of fat melted off your body.

Ok, that’s not really how it works. But it definitely feels that way sometimes.

Unfortunately, it also feels that way in reverse.

I remember waking up one morning when I was 21 years old and still living in a college house at University of Maryland.

I stumbled into the bathroom (probably hungover AF), looked in the mirror, and did a double take.

I actually didn’t recognize myself. It felt like I had just gained 80 lbs. overnight.

No one gains 80 lbs. overnight. It’s more like death by a thousand paper cuts but it damn sure felt like it happened suddenly.

That’s the tricky part about fat loss and fat gain …

The way that it actually happens is on a microscopic level each day.

Scale fluctuations can be extremely frustrating.

We are always mobilizing and storing energy. That energy can be in the form of fats or carbs.

We pull them out of the cells and into the bloodstream for use. And we store them back in the cells when we don’t need them.

On and on and on it goes. All day. Every day.

What determines whether you gain or lose is simply the energy balance over time. I intentionally said “over time” and not “at the end of the day” because the process literally never stops.

In a 24 hour period you may have gained 0.2 lbs. of fat. Or lost 0.1 lbs. of fat based on the net balance during that time frame.

And the only reason I’m explaining this is because most people freak the fuck out when the scale doesn’t move in a given day or week.

Even if you lost 1 lb. of fat in a week, which is great progress … it would average out to about 0.14 lbs. of fat per day. Which is about 63.5 grams per day.

Ready for the real kick in the dick?

Not only is that kind of progress nearly undetectable on a daily basis but …

You’ve got this thing called water in your system that really throws the whole thing off. Up to 60% of your body is water.

And fluid balance in the body is constantly fluctuating as well. Just like energy balance.

Here’s the quick and dirty list of things that can impact water retention or loss in the body:

– Sodium (water retention)
– Potassium (water loss)
– Hormonal fluctuations (especially during menses)
– Certain medications
– Exercise
– Temperature and humidity
– How much water you drink
– Coffee
– Alcohol
– Stress
– Inflammation
– Getting sick
– Carbohydrates (named carboHYDRATE for a reason)

The average person will typically lose or gain 2-4 lbs. of water on a daily basis. I’ve seen cases where fluid fluctuations are even more extreme.

But wait, there’s more.

Another wrench in the system is how much food is actually moving through your digestive tract.

Imagine standing on the scale holding a bag of broccoli. Now imagine standing on the scale holding a bag of potatoes. Which one weighs more?

Are you starting to see the fuckery of body weight?

Again, the reason I’m sharing this is so that maybe you’ll stop getting so emotionally invested in the scale. And giving up every time you see a number you don’t like. Or thinking you gained 2 lbs. of fat when the scale is up 2 lbs. overnight.

To recap …

Fat loss or gain happens on a microscopic level when you zoom in. We are always mobilizing and storing at all times. The net balance determines whether we lose or gain. We are also losing and gaining water each day. There are a plethora of things that impact fluid retention or loss. We also have food moving through our digestive tract that shows up on the scale.

Put all of those pieces together and it’s easy to understand why you get the ups and downs in body weight, the scale fluctuations that everyone gets so frustrated about.

So what’s the solution to combat scale fluctuations?

The same solution that I preach like a broken record every freakin day.

Focus on the process. Stop putting so much of your attention and energy on the daily outcomes.

The process focused individual will always win. Literally, always.

You can control your thoughts, habits, and behaviors.

You cannot control the random scale fluctuations.

If you are consistent and processed focused for a long enough length of time…

Those microscopic changes will add up to massive changes and you’ll wake up one day feeling like it happened overnight.

Unfortunately, that can go in either direction so stay mindful of your choices.

One last thing…

If you indulge in epic fashion. Like you really go all in and give zero fucks. You eat and drink like a total asshole.

You will still only gain a microscopic amount of fat. It’s really difficult to gain anything significant in a day.

It’s never the over indulgence that’s the issue. It’s how you react to it that is.

Hopefully understanding how all of this works will help you shift to a more rational way of thinking and acting.

Interested in 1:1 Coaching?

And let me know that you’re interested in the 1:1 signature coaching program.

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