Weight Fluctuation and Why you Need to Stop Weighing Yourself- A Self-Experiment
"Wow, I lost two pounds this week!"
"Oh boy, I gained 7 pounds this week!"
Putting meaning and getting caught up in these numbers above IS A PROBLEM. Why? Because weight fluctuates regardless of whether you like it or not.
Should our weight always stay the same from day to day? Is it normal for our weight to fluctuate? These are questions we need to ask ourselves. Have you ever challenged this belief that we need to always stay the same weight and that weight gain is bad? Have you ever challenged the value of that number on the scale? Before I dig into this, I want to once again say....IT IS VERY NORMAL FOR WEIGHT TO FLUCTUATE. So now, let me tell you why.
Did you know that our bodies stay in a set weight range with most of staying in a range of around 5-15 lbs! Did you know that that eating salty foods, the weight of the actual food after eating, strength training, drinking, bowel movements, water retention, your cycle, stress, being sick, exercise, medication, and so much more affect your day to day weight?
However, as I thought about explaining this concept to you, I thought well, what does it matter if I simply educate you on this fact? Would you believe me if I simply told you this truth? Would that be enough for you to stop weighing yourself everyday? Would it stop you from putting any thought into the changing weight? So I thought, how can I prove this to you. How can I prove that WEIGHT FLUCTUATION IS NORMAL? How can I explain that our bodies do what they want and need?
Then it hit me. I will PROVE it to you.
So the lovely Taylor Chan and I decided to do an experiment. For over a month, we weighed ourself every morning. We did this to show you what happens to our weight on a daily basis in hopes of normalizing this weight fluctuation. We did this to show you that WE ALL EXPERIENCE AND WILL CONTINUE TO EXPERIENCE weight fluctuation.
The results are as follows:
(The y-axis shows weight in lbs while the x-axis shows time in days.)
The results were just as we expected. Both Taylor and I fluctuated and fell in a range of 6-8 lbs with as much as a 7 lb difference from day to day. Did we do anything different on these days? No. It was out of our control.
Furthermore, personally with this experience, I also wanted to share with you that the days I lost and the days I gained did not correlate with exercise and eating patterns...proving even further that there is a lot to weight and it is not in our control. In particular, one night when I had pizza and wine and chilled out on the couch all day....I woke up the next morning and lost 4 lbs. One day, I exercised pretty intensely and craved and ate mainly veggies. The next morning I woke up and gained 3 lbs. So did I have control over my weight? No. So, should you be worried about what it means for the scale when we eat pizza and cake? Should we worry about how much we exercise and taking rest days? No! Continue to eat intuitively. Continue to eat all foods. Continue to move joyfully and listen to your body when it wants to rest. Your body will continue to do what it needs for you and your health. You do not have the control you think you do.
So again, why am I sharing this with you? Well here is what Taylor has to say on the matter about her experience.
"My biggest take-away: how quickly and easily an emotional relationship develops with the scale and the number it produces. Whether I wanted to or not, that number would affect my mood for the day, and it made me feel powerless to give a number that much control over me. Knowing this, there was always a sense of reluctance and dread before stepping on. In other words, weighing myself was not enjoyable or productive whatsoever. My weight remained steady regardless (yay science & body & homeostasis!), however, my emotional and mental health was all over the place, which left me with the question, how worth it is it?" Taylor further depicts this with the following amazing doodle!
So now that you SEE it with your own eyes, what is it that I want you to take away from this experiment? Where should you go from here?
I want you to stop weighing yourself and putting any value on this silly number. Weight is out of your control. Weight change is normal. If you continue to believe that you should stay at a certain weight and you fight the normal gaining and losing on a daily basis, you are creating unnecessary stress on an arbitrary number. You are wasting valuable brain space. You are wasting energy that can be spent elsewhere. We are made to fluctuate. By challenging what we are told about weight, we can break free of that number that means NOTHING.
Throw out that scale. Know that your body does what it needs and wants which means gaining and losing on a daily basis. Put value on the health indicators that are actually meaningful and that actually tell you something, like happiness, your stress level, your relationship with food and body, and your energy level!
Disclaimer: Both Taylor and I were fully comfortable weighing ourselves. I do not suggest doing this experiment if you are in recovery from an eating disorder, body dysmorphia, exercise addiction, etc.