7 Things That Can Affect the Number on the Scales

Number on the scales

Over the last few weeks, I’ve had a lot of you telling me about how your weight is jumping up, down and all over the place. Some of you have been worried about a sudden 1-2kg gain over a day or two. Don’t panic! Here’s why.

Firstly, unless you’ve gone absolutely berserk, it’s incredibly unlikely that the increase on the scales is a direct reflection of an increase of that much body fat. I don’t really like talking about calories so much but here’s a bit of an idea of how much extra you’d have to eat to even look like gaining that much in fat.

There are around 7700 calories in a kilogram of stored body fat. To gain that much weight in fat over a day or two, you would have to eat that much in excess of the amount you would normally eat to maintain your weight. Now, that’s a fair bit. If you haven’t changed your eating and movement in a very dramatic way, this simply will not be purely a fat gain.

So what can affect the number on the scales? Here are just some of the things that might be playing a role.

  1. Time of day
  2. Hormonal fluctuations (particularly for women)
  3. How long since you last ate or drank
  4. How long since you last went to the toilet
  5. Recovery post workout
  6. How much sodium may have been in recent meals
  7. Your hydration level

My best advice would be to keep off the scales – certainly avoid weighing yourself daily, monthly might be a better starting point. It should only ever be used as a guide and in combination with other health and fitness indicators. The scales should never be your only measure of ‘success’ on your journey. Focus on improving your overall health and fitness and your weight will start to take care of itself as a byproduct.