As soon as you wake up, you weigh yourself (after emptying your bladder, but before breakfast, of course), and… finally the needle shows a fantastic number! All the hard work of a strict diet and regular exercise has now paid off. But then, you decide to re-weigh yourself before going to bed, and the scale shows two kilograms of weight gain. How come?
They say, 3500 calorie intake equals half an extra pound of fat, but you don’t eat up to 10,000 calories a day. Where did this extra two kilograms come from? Is it true that you can gain up to an extra two kilograms of weight in just one day?
But wait, it’s not fat
Don’t worry, you don’t lose muscle/gain extra fat every time the scale needle swings to the right — as you might think.
Did you know that the human body can store quite a bit of weight in our large intestine? There is not much science needed to back this one up, weigh yourself before and after a bowel movement. You can experience a weight change of about 1-2 kilograms by simply going to the toilet.
Weight gain and loss is normal, and it happens to everyone. These fluctuations can be caused by various factors, such as the consumption of large meals, excess salt intake, constipation , and hormonal changes. One thing you should know is that the extra weight you see on the scale doesn’t come from increased body fat; That extra “fat” can come from water, waste products or other substances that stay temporarily in your body.
What causes the difference in body weight in the morning and evening?
When it comes to weight fluctuations, water is your prime suspect. Changes in weight per day, or even per hour, are often a result of how much water you hold in your body . “During the day, our bodies retain fluids as we eat and drink,” says Kelly Hogan, MS, RD, CDN, clinical nutrition coordinator at the Dubin Breast Center at Mount Sinai Hospital . Hogan continued, just by consuming two small cups of water, for example, but you also get intake from food. This can add a few extra grams of weight. It has nothing to do with body fat percentage or muscle mass.
Also, eating too much salty food causes you to feel dehydrated and bloated as your body retains fluids in the body. When we don’t drink enough fluids, the body will automatically hold on to whatever water is left in the body to maintain fluid balance. Then, our kidneys excrete less fluid through urine because the kidneys are programmed to maintain this balance. This is what causes a shift in the numbers on your scale.
Weight fluctuations are also due to the storage of energy reserves
In addition to salt and water, the amount of carbohydrates you eat also affects how much water is stored in the body because our bodies need additional fluids to store glycogen (carbohydrates) as energy.
To store every gram of glycogen, the body needs three grams of water. When we eat carbohydrates, this simple sugar intake is stored as glycogen in various places in the body, including red and white blood cells, brain, and kidneys (in small amounts). Glycogen serves as a secondary long-term energy storage, after fat. Muscle glycogen is converted to glucose by muscle cells, and liver glycogen is converted to glucose for use throughout the body, including the central nervous system.
Each gram of carbohydrate storage causes your body to retain 2.7-4 times as much glycogen as water. The combination of increased carbohydrates and water binding to carbohydrates each causes our weight to increase.
Curious why you feel your body becomes lighter after a sweaty workout? While you may notice weight loss immediately after intense exercise, you may gain more weight if your muscles retain fluid. “Resistance training or even trying new exercises can result in fluid retention if the muscles are working hard,” says Hogan. Part of the body’s response to repairing microscopic tears in muscle is fluid retention.
How much weight do you usually gain from these weight fluctuations?
Weight fluctuations can result in temporary weight gain of up to 2.5 kg per day. It takes some time for your digestive system to properly process the food, fluids and salt you consume, and substances that are still processed properly before contributing to your actual body weight.
When you had a big dinner the night before, your weight will remain the same when you wake up in the morning if you haven’t had a bowel movement. This is especially true if you eat foods that are high in salt. Even if you eat more than usual, your weight may not increase significantly overnight. Your actual weight is the result of a process that occurs continuously over a long period of time.
Weigh yourself once a week, not every day
One way to prevent stress that results from weight fluctuations is to refrain from weighing yourself as much as possible every day. Weigh yourself once a week, and do this without wearing clothes and shoes, which can add a pound or two to the scale.
Try to weigh yourself after you empty your stomach in the morning. If you find that your weight is still fluctuating when you weigh once a week, you should drink plenty of water to reduce the amount of salt in your body. Then, weigh again two days later, in the morning. If the results are still high, you may need to reassess your diet and exercise program to make sure you’re not consuming more calories than you burn.