Updated: Apr 17, 2019
Scale weight is NOT the most accurate representation of progress when it comes to body composition, so stop hopping on this emotional rollercoaster when you see the scale jump a few pounds overnight. Weight fluctuations are NORMAL and can be affected from everything from stress to sodium intake.
The hormone aldosterone, which is regulated by your adrenals, directly affects your water and sodium
retention. When stress levels increase, your body holds water in, instead of peeing it out. Again, a normal reaction because during ANY stress, your body reacts the exact same. Regardless of whether the stress is emotional (sad about body fat) or physical (being chased by a bear), it elicits the same “fight or flight” response - it doesn't know when it will get water again so it holds onto the water until the stress subsides. Same idea with sodium retention - sodium is taken into your cells and your body doesn't have enough potassium to excrete the excess sodium, which is why you see the scale jump up. Straight up, you did NOT gain a few pounds overnight. So do your body and hormones a favour and stop eliciting an even greater stress response by being so emotionally attached to the scale weight. Scale weight is just one form of measurement that can be used to assess the success of a nutrition or exercise plan, but it should not be the only measurement used, as these normal fluctuations can affect the validity of the data. This is why it’s best to combine scale weight with other data. Some simple, effective ways to measure progress include:
-Tape measure (bust out an old school tape measure and measure the circumference of your waist, quads, biceps, etc - ensure you measure the exact same area each time)
-Pictures (take a full body front, side, back picture in a full length mirror - ensure you wear the same clothes, same lighting, etc for comparison)
-Clothes (pick an outfit that you try on to see how the fit changes - is the waist on your pants getting looser, etc)
On average, it takes 12 weeks of consistency with diet and exercise to see visible changes in body composition so don’t stress about daily measurements for progress evaluation either.