Weight Fluctuations and Causes

It is normal for weight fluctuations up to 1-2kg  a day


Anything can affect your body’s water composition and your weight

Clients have come to me saying: “I’ve tried several strict programmes and yet things go wrong. After all my hard work with food and exercise, my weight doesn’t budge. In fact, there are days where I gain weight by the end of the day!”

It is hard to not worry when you see the scale jump up by 2kg by the end of the day. What you need to understand is that this is nothing to worry about, weight fluctuations can mean several things.


Water Retention

Since most people cannot eat enough in a day to quantify a couple of kilo gain, the increase could be due to water retention.

Eating, drinking, exercise, urinating and bowel movements can affect your body’s water composition, and therefore, weight. High-carb and high-salt intake can lead to water retention for example.

If you regularly exercise and the excess of salt in a one-off, you can lose the weight but if you consume too much salt on a regular basis, your body holds onto the water to regain the balance which translates to weight gain.

Conversely, if you suddenly stop consuming sodium, you will release water which will result in weight loss. BUT this loss is temporary as your body adjusts to the new sodium levels. An important note is that when a person goes cold turkey on salt to lose weight they end up feeling giddy and sick.


Intake of Carbohydrates

The amount of carbohydrates you consume can explain the fluctuating number on the scale.

For every gram of carb, your body stores as glycogen, three grams of water are stored.

Switching to low-carb leads to rapid weight loss, but it is not fat you’re are losing, it’s your body using up the stored glycogen for energy. This causes less water retention, thus the rapid weight loss.

Those on the Paleo, Atkins or Ketogenic diets – which are all low carb – usually experience rapid loss at the start but consequently, rapid gain once they stop the diet. This happens because of the rapid depletion and replenishment of glycogen.


Menstrual Bloating

Women tend to retain water during their cycle caused by hormonal fluctuations. For this reason, it is advised that women avoid weighing themselves during this time.


Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol is a diuretic. This causes dehydration in the body which then leads to water retention.


Strength Training

Using weights in exercise can cause trauma to muscle tissue. This is how muscle rebuilds and makes one stronger and toned. To build muscle fibre, your muscles retain water which helps speed up the process. So, you may see your weight go northwards for a period.


Toilet Breaks

If you do not regularly visit the toilet during the day and then weigh yourself at night, you will notice a weight gain.


Long-distance Travel

This can also cause fluid retention and dehydration. Alcoholic drinks will increase the retention.


Weight fluctuations are normal

Points worth keeping in mind when you next step on the scale.