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8 reasons you experience weight fluctuations and how to manage it

Weight fluctuations are normal — in fact, everyone's weight fluctuates on a day-to-day basis

8 reasons you experience weight fluctuations and how to manage it
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When you're on a weight loss journey, a weight fluctuation can feel disheartening when you've gained weight.

The key to weight fluctuations is to remember that they are a human experience. Everyone on the planet deals with daily fluctuations in their weight. And, if you're in the process of losing weight and have experienced increasing days of fluctuations that lean into weight gain, we're here to help.

How much can weight fluctuate in a day?

It's common for your weight to fluctuate up to two to three kilos per day! This is influenced by what food you eat and when as well as what you drink, the exercise you do and sleep can even play a role.

Why does weight fluctuate daily?

If you're wondering whether daily fluctuations are normal, the short answer is yes. There's nothing to worry about if you're experiencing small changes to your weight each day.

Your day-to-day weight changes largely depend on the food and drinks you consume. Salty food can cause fluid retention, which affects the number on the scales and may make them slightly higher.

Carbohydrates can also cause your body to hold onto water, leading to water weight and bloating. This increase in your weight can stick around until the bloating subsides.

Exercise can help reduce weight but if you're adequately hydrating post-workout, it may not result in weight loss on the scale thanks to your water intake. Bowel movements, on the other hand, can cause your weight to decrease a little after you've gone to the bathroom.

You might notice major weight fluctuations if your diet has changed after losing weight or if old habits have crept in and you're snacking more.

Research has also suggested that weight tends to go up on weekends due to a change in eating or exercise. A 2013 study of 48 healthy adults found that the participants consistently gained weight on weekend days but not on weekdays [1].

This was attributed to a higher dietary intake on Saturdays coupled with less physical activity on Sundays compared to weekdays. This demonstrates how your lifestyle behaviours can cause weight fluctuations and hinder weight loss.

What contributes to weight fluctuations?

You can experience small changes in your weight over the course of a single day for many reasons.

Things that can contribute to your weight fluctuating are:

  • Consuming salty foods
  • You haven't had a bowel movement
  • Your body is reacting to stress
  • You've eaten a meal high in carbs
  • You've consumed alcohol
  • You're dehydrated or overhydrated
  • Your body is responding to heat
  • You haven't had enough sleep

All of these moving parts, which can cause weight gain or weight loss, are why it's recommended that you don't weigh yourself at random times of the day as your weight will be heavily influenced by the above factors.

It's also important to remember that the number on the scale can change regularly as weight loss is never a linear process. You'll have days where your weight increases and other days where it decreases.

And, you'll probably experience days or even weeks where your weight stays the same — this is called a weight plateau and can be extremely frustrating when you're continuing with all of your healthy habits but not seeing any change.

What role does the menstrual cycle play in your weight fluctuations?

Weight gain before and during your period is a common experience for many women and there are a number of reasons why this happens.

Firstly, your appetite tends to change throughout your menstrual cycle and at certain times over the month, you may experience an increased or decreased appetite. When your appetite is increased, you may experience a small change in your weight as you may be eating more [2].

The same goes for cravings. Women tend to crave foods that are high in carbohydrates and fat during certain phases of the menstrual cycle and it's common to take in more calories during these times [3].

The final factor is water retention. Bloating is a common symptom connected to your period and when combined with the consumption of salty foods, it could cause the numbers on the scale to slightly increase.

To help combat this, try to fill your plate with lots of veggies and fruit where possible and remember to stay hydrated to help reduce the bloatedness [3].

What if my weight is starting to go up?

That's OK! The good thing is that you noticed a change on the scale and in your body. Now is a great time to stop and take a moment to reflect on your progress so far.

Has anything changed recently that could have influenced the weight gain? Are you doing anything differently?

Here are a few things that might be affecting your weight loss results.

  • Hormonal changes
  • You haven't been as active
  • Some old habits have crept in
  • Winging it with portion sizes
  • Increase in stress levels
  • You're not getting enough sleep

It's normal to gain weight — your body is in a constant state of flux and is changing every day — so try not to stress about this too much. Now is the time to get back to basics and recommit to your healthy habits.

Managing weight fluctuations

Losing weight is rarely a straightforward endeavour so try to take it a day at a time. But, there are a few things you can do to manage weight fluctuations.

When to weigh yourself

Your weight is influenced by everything from exercise to illness, alcohol intake and water consumption. This is why it's recommended that you weigh yourself at the same time every day to avoid getting huge discrepancies.

For example, if you weigh yourself as soon as you wake up in the morning, continue doing so at this time of day. It's also good to keep things consistent when you're weighing yourself.

Try weighing yourself without shoes and clothes if you can, or wear similar garments when hopping on the scales each day.

Weighing yourself at the same time of day will help give you an accurate representation of where you're at with your weight and help you jump back on the weight loss train.

A healthy helping hand

If you're dealing with a fluctuation where you have gained weight, you might want to try something new to help kickstart your weight loss once again.

Juniper's Nourish Shakes are one way to do this. These dietitian-approved meal replacement shakes help you achieve lasting weight loss with the nutritional benefit of a balanced meal.

With three delicious flavours — Chocolate, Vanilla and Espresso — each shake contains more than 40 per cent of your daily vitamin needs and is a good source of fibre, which helps keep you feeling fuller for longer.

On the Rapid weight loss plan, which involves consuming two shakes per day, it's normal to lose up to two kilos a week for the first four to six weeks.

Those on the Steady weight loss plan can help you lose four per cent of your body weight in 12 weeks by consuming one shake a day and combining it with a low-calorie diet.

This could be the boost you need to get going again.

Get back to basics

Another way to help combat major changes in your weight is to get back to basics. This will look different for each person but start by reflecting on any changes that might have occurred recently.

From here, you can discern what might be influencing some weight gain and makes changes accordingly. For example, if you haven't been as active lately, it might be helpful to book a few classes at the gym or schedule some walking dates with a friend.

If afternoon snacking has become a regular occurrence, it might be time to change what you're snacking on or make your lunchtime meal more filling.

While weight fluctuations are normal, they can be frustrating when you're on a weight loss journey. Try to remember that every choice you're making now is contributing to a healthier you.

It’s more than just weight loss

Thousands of Australian women have found new confidence with Juniper.

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