Weight Loss Tips

The Scale Lies! Find out exactly why it changes day-to-day…

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We’ve been told over an over again that daily weighing is unnecessary, yet many of us can’t resist peeking at that number every morning. If you just can’t bring yourself to toss the scale in the trash, you should definitely familiarize yourself with the many reasons it fluctuates day-to-day…

A single teaspoon of salt contains over 2,000 mg of sodium. Generally, we should only eat between 1,000 and 3,000 mg of sodium a day, so it’s easy to go overboard. Sodium is a sneaky substance. You would expect it to be most highly concentrated in salty chips, nuts, and crackers. However, a food doesn’t have to taste salty to be loaded with sodium. A half cup of instant pudding actually contains nearly four times as much sodium as an ounce of salted nuts, 460 mg in the pudding versus 123 mg in the nuts. The more highly processed a food is, the more likely it is to have a high sodium content.

That’s why, when it comes to eating, it’s wise to stick mainly to the basics: fruits, vegetables, lean meat, beans, and whole grains. Be sure to read the labels on canned foods, boxed mixes, and frozen dinners. Women may also retain several pounds of water prior to menstruation. This is very common and the weight will likely disappear as quickly as it arrives. Pre-menstrual water-weight gain can be minimized by drinking plenty of water, maintaining an exercise program, and keeping high-sodium processed foods to a minimum.

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Another factor that can influence the scale is glycogen. Think of glycogen as a fuel tank full of stored carbohydrate. Some glycogen is stored in the liver and some is stored the muscles themselves. This energy reserve weighs more than a pound and it’s packaged with 3-4 pounds of water when it’s stored. Your glycogen supply will shrink during the day if you fail to take in enough carbohydrates. As the glycogen supply shrinks you will experience a small imperceptible increase in appetite and your body will restore this fuel reserve along with it’s associated water. It’s normal to experience glycogen and water weight shifts of up to 2 pounds per day even with no changes in your calorie intake or activity level. These fluctuations have nothing to do with fat loss, although they can make for some unnecessarily dramatic weigh-ins if you’re prone to obsessing over the number on the scale.

Otherwise rational people also tend to forget about the actual weight of the food they eat. For this reason, it’s wise to weigh yourself first thing in the morning before you’ve had anything to eat or drink. Swallowing a bunch of food before you step on the scale is no different than putting a bunch of rocks in your pocket. The 5 pounds that you gain right after a huge dinner is not fat. It’s the actual weight of everything you’ve had to eat and drink. The added weight of the meal will be gone several hours later when you’ve finished digesting it.

Exercise physiologists tell us that in order to store one pound of fat, you need to eat 3,500 calories more than your body is able to burn. In other words, to actually store the above dinner as 5 pounds of fat, it would have to contain a whopping 17,500 calories. This is not likely, in fact it’s not humanly possible. So when the scale goes up 3 or 4 pounds overnight, rest easy, it’s likely to be water, glycogen, and the weight of your dinner. Keep in mind that the 3,500 calorie rule works in reverse also. In order to lose one pound of fat you need to burn 3,500 calories more than you take in. Generally, it’s only possible to lose 1-2 pounds of fat per week. When you follow a very low calorie diet that causes your weight to drop 10 pounds in 7 days, it’s physically impossible for all of that to be fat. What you’re really losing is water, glycogen, and muscle.

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This brings us to the scale’s sneakiest attribute. It doesn’t just weigh fat. It weighs muscle, bone, water, internal organs and all. When you lose “weight,” that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve lost fat. In fact, the scale has no way of telling you what you’ve lost (or gained). Losing muscle is nothing to celebrate. Muscle is a metabolically active tissue. The more muscle you have the more calories your body burns, even when you’re just sitting around. That’s one reason why a fit, active person is able to eat considerably more food than the dieter who is unwittingly destroying muscle tissue.

Robin Landis, author of “Body Fueling,” compares fat and muscles to feathers and gold. One pound of fat is like a big fluffy, lumpy bunch of feathers, and one pound of muscle is small and valuable like a piece of gold. Obviously, you want to lose the dumpy, bulky feathers and keep the sleek beautiful gold. The problem with the scale is that it doesn’t differentiate between the two. It can’t tell you how much of your total body weight is lean tissue and how much is fat. There are several other measuring techniques that can accomplish this, although they vary in convenience, accuracy, and cost. Skin-fold calipers pinch and measure fat folds at various locations on the body, hydrostatic (or underwater) weighing involves exhaling all of the air from your lungs before being lowered into a tank of water, and bioelectrical impedance measures the degree to which your body fat impedes a mild electrical current. If the thought of being pinched, dunked, or gently zapped just doesn’t appeal to you, don’t worry. The best measurement tool of all turns out to be your very own eyes. How do you look? How do you feel? How do your clothes fit? Are your rings looser? Do your muscles feel firmer? These are the true measurements of success. If you are exercising and eating right, don’t be discouraged by a small gain on the scale.

Fluctuations are perfectly normal. Expect them to happen and take them in stride. It’s a matter of mind over scale.

Source: Health Discovery

Republished by Blog Post Promoter


  1. Valerie Nickerson Loveland

    June 17, 2015 at 10:05 am


  2. Kayla Griffiths

    June 17, 2015 at 4:40 am


  3. Monica R Corbett

    June 16, 2015 at 10:36 pm

    Good read

  4. Missi Blegen

    June 16, 2015 at 10:30 pm

    Deb Galetka Heath, a good read!

  5. Christine Murphy Curnew

    June 16, 2015 at 9:48 pm

    Andie Boris i knew the scale was a liar!!!

  6. Cassie Phye

    June 16, 2015 at 9:25 pm

    Debbie Notter Bryan

  7. Christi Kurkjian

    June 16, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    Debbie Kurkjian

  8. Christina Waldron Geiger

    January 14, 2015 at 8:01 am

    Just as bad as dressing room mirrors!

  9. Kwanza Jones-Williams

    January 14, 2015 at 7:06 am

    Great article! Tutie Perrilloux Weston Skittles Tee Cure TeeOne Titus share in the groups please..
    Kwanza Jones-Williams

  10. Clayton April Keith

    January 14, 2015 at 12:09 am

    Great article.

  11. Abigail Garcia-Rosas

    January 14, 2015 at 12:02 am


  12. Alicia Lozano Martínez

    January 13, 2015 at 11:37 pm

    Jessica Gutierrez read this

  13. Karen Tabor

    January 13, 2015 at 11:02 pm

    I don’t think it’s good to weigh everyday. Just once a week for me.

  14. Jennifer Knight

    January 13, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    Water. Water. Glycogen. And water.

  15. Michelle Courtney-Cleaver

    October 17, 2014 at 9:11 am

    Glad I saw this! This is what I NEED. I watched and watched what I eat! I really hate the scale!

  16. Wanda Ivette Collazo

    October 16, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    Thank you !! I’ve been quite obsessed with these weight fluctuations day to day. 16 pounds lost…8 more to go

  17. Geraldine Anneni

    October 16, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    I always lose my wt lost battle due to the scale. I will try to remember this from now on!

  18. Bonnie Rubinson Noble

    October 16, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    I know I know!!!

  19. RJ Por Vida Campos

    October 16, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    I so needed this!!! I about died yesterday on the scale…like seriously? ?? Lol I workout hard and eat clean watching my cal intake…religiously for months now…im dropping inches but the scale wont budge a whole lot lol Wont give up!!! Love the feel of muscle mass forming 🙂

  20. Eva Taylor-Sanford

    October 16, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    Sonya Clark-morgan read this article.

  21. Kat Hook

    October 16, 2014 at 11:52 am

    This was the EXACT article I needed at the EXACT right time. Thank you. Let the good fight keep fighting. I can do this.

  22. MyWorld Djsanji

    June 11, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    I really needed this! I have placed the scale in my trunk #Outofsightoutofmind

  23. Stephanie Wright

    June 8, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    I just go by how my clothes fit! Lol

  24. Elena Rodriguez Reyes

    June 8, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    That’s why I don’t weigh myself! I go by how my clothes fit! Only get my weight when I go to the doctor!

  25. Amber Partin Rookstool

    June 8, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    Jessica Lester read this!

  26. LaRonda Sanders

    June 8, 2014 at 10:09 am

    I tossed my scale in the trash about a month ago. I won’t know how much I weigh until I visit the doctor in 3 months.

  27. Carrie Elizabeth Pichardo

    June 8, 2014 at 10:07 am

    Mindi Russell Dawson

  28. Dottie Galgay Brennan

    June 8, 2014 at 10:02 am

    This was really helpful

  29. Kandi Nicholson

    June 8, 2014 at 9:54 am

    Kristie Everlith Harvey, check this out. 🙂

  30. Carmen Halcom

    June 8, 2014 at 9:43 am

    This is the best article I’ve read in a long time.

  31. Stacy L Montes

    June 8, 2014 at 9:43 am

    This article is priceless! Thank you!

  32. Chrissy BeGood

    June 8, 2014 at 9:37 am

    The scale drives me freakin nuts. We have a hate relationship because it never budges no matter how hard in work out and how healthy I eat

  33. Jackie Wofford

    June 8, 2014 at 9:33 am

    I know this is true and I’m trying to break the scale habit to once a week.

  34. La Tonya Antoinette

    June 8, 2014 at 9:25 am

    Chineitha Noble

  35. Renee Obermeyer Meister

    June 8, 2014 at 9:15 am

    So true! The scale isnt always fair. A good read this article is.

  36. Stacey Roth

    June 8, 2014 at 9:07 am

    Mary Marie McPartlin read this!

  37. Taylor Bachus Heath

    January 22, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    Son of a…

  38. Melissa Cudney

    January 22, 2014 at 10:33 pm

    Taylor Bachus Heath

  39. Melissa: Fit Fabulous Healthy Me

    January 21, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    Water weight

  40. Lindsey DuBenske

    January 21, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    Love this!! Sharing with my online fitness/health group! 🙂

  41. Mindy Martin

    January 21, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    Water weight is my biggest enemy scale wise!

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