Why does my weight change so much

How much can the weight fluctuate?

“Help, I have 300g more today than yesterday, although I kept to the program very well! Nothing works for me! "

I have to admit that I always roll my eyes a little in front of my computer when I read something like this. This is actually totally understandable. You started a new program for the umpteenth time, strictly adhered to it and maybe even showed a nice minus on the scales for the first few days - and then THAT! Weight fluctuations! Suddenly in one day it was not less, even more! Although everything was done right! This can be frustrating, of course - but in most cases that has nothing to do with the fact that you really gained weight.

Over the past 15 years I have worked with thousands of people and helped them lose weight. As a nutrition therapist, you really see all sorts of situations and cases. And one thing I can say for sure: losing weight is not linear. And there are many reasons you can have weight fluctuations, most of which are completely harmless.

But because the topic unsettled (and frustrated!) So many people, I thought I would summarize it in more detail. So that you don't let the scales spoil your day in the future just because they might show 500g more than you expected! (But you also know when to take action and not to ignore your weight fluctuations!)

Man is not a machine.

No matter how much so many people want with their calorie counting models. We function according to biological, not mechanical principles and our body is a self-organizing system, a “biotope” - but not a car.

But that also means that we lose exactly 1 kg of fat if we eat exactly 7,000 fewer calories or if we exercise so much that we burn exactly 7,000 calories. Anyone who has ever been on a diet or has tried to lose weight with exercise knows that - many studies have shown that too. (For example this study, in which the participants did a total of 45 hours of cardio over 12 weeks and thus only lost 500 g more fat - that's 3500 calories of fat, with at least 27,000 calories burned with exercise.)

The setpoint

There is this theory that the body has a certain “set point”, ie a weight that it considers to be “good” and thus tries to defend it with all means. If we get below this set point, the body will try to regain weight as soon as there is food again. But what many underestimate: the body will also try to lose weight when it comes over the set point - provided that this signal is not destroyed. This setpoint is not innate and can be changed. I recorded a video for our premium members rule of thumb that you can watch here.

The setpoint can be thought of as the temperature on a thermostat. You have set the room temperature to 20 ° C - but that doesn't mean that it is always exactly 20 ° C in the room. The heating switches on as soon as the temperature in the room drops (eg at night or because you have just ventilated) and then heats up until it can "feel" 20 ° C in the room again. However, it takes a while before the heating process is “slowed down” again, and so the heating may occasionally go to 20.5 ° C or even 21 ° C before it drops slightly again when the heating has switched off. And so the temperature always “fluctuates” around a certain “target range” - and the better the system works, the fewer fluctuations there are.

You have to imagine our body in a similar way, only much, much more complex. The weight of our body is not “static” either and cannot be manipulated with simple “calculation examples”. In truth, the goal must be to teach the body to set its long-term setpoint to a healthy, slim normal weight and then to keep the fluctuation range around this weight relatively small.

Sounds complex, but it is basically not - that's what the rule of thumb system is about: give the body natural, wholesome foods, provide it with high-quality foods and nutrients in a balanced ratio, always eat yourself full, but not overly full, avoid " Designer food ”that unbalances your body and pay attention to your body's signals. He does the rest by himself.

I could write a lot more about that now (it's best to watch this video, because I'll explain it in detail), but today I'm actually about something else: weight fluctuations - especially if you want to lose weight.
So back to our “Help”, I have 300g more today than yesterday, although I kept to the program very well !!
First of all: 300g more (or 500g) is practically nothing. It's a large glass of water that you drank and haven't passed out yet. Yes, I totally understand that one hopes for a nice result on the scales if one adheres to the program “well”, but the body is not a machine and so it doesn't work “linearly”, but “self-organizing” - and that works Fluctuations with itself.

Reasons for weight fluctuations

There are many reasons why you might weigh more or less on a day than the day before that have NOTHING to do with having gained or lost fat or muscle - and very few are so important that you will decide should change something.

Let's assume that you weigh yourself “properly” (we wrote an article about this a long time ago, which you can find here) - in the morning after you went to the toilet, before you ate something got and naked.

If you weigh yourself at a different time of day or with different clothes, you can forget about the measurement anyway, because the contents of your intestines and what you have drunk completely postpone the measurement (and did you know that a pair of jeans can weigh up to a kilo on can bring the scales?)

1) intestinal contents:

Did you know that you produce about 10 liters (!!!) of digestive juices per day and take them up again? Unbelievable, is not it? So if you eat something that is high in fiber in one day, that fiber can bind water in the intestines - and water is heavy. A few hundred grams can easily come together.
Even and especially if you weigh yourself before you have a bowel movement (or if you suffer from constipation and do not have enough bowel movements every day), the measurements can be very different and can fluctuate around 200-700 g (yes, that can weigh 😉)

2) Long transit time:

Your food needs an average of between 24 hours and 4 days (!!) until it comes out again. Until it is completely used and the rest is excreted, that is of course also “weight” in the intestine, which may also bind water. So if you weigh more the next morning, it has nothing to do with the fact that you have “gained weight”, it just says that there is still part of your healthy food in your intestines. The more fiber something contains (whole grains, vegetables, fruit ...), the sooner it binds water - and weighs more in the intestine.

3) Unusually high carbohydrates:

Each sugar molecule is bound to four times as much water in the body. This is not a bad thing, but if you suddenly eat a lot of carbohydrates or sugar in the evening, for example, or if you replenish your muscle stores after a hard workout - especially if you do not otherwise - then these carbohydrates also bind water. And water weighs.
These points only contribute to weight fluctuations if you often dramatically change the amount you eat or the way you eat - because it changes the contents of your intestines or the amount of water in your body. If it's always very similar, it stays pretty consistent. But for example after a weekend where you have eaten more, or if you change your diet and suddenly eat more fiber or if you have taken a fast day (for example in our online program Metabolism SOS, also included in the premium subscription rule of thumb) and then back to normal eats, things like that matter.

4) Sweating more or less while sleeping:

How much you weigh in the morning also has to do with whether and how much you sweated while you were sleeping or how dry the air is in your bedroom. Because every time we breathe in, we breathe in drier air than we then breathe out - and the more you have to “humidify” the air (e.g. in winter, when the air is usually drier), the more fluid you will become at night to lose. Then you didn't “lose weight” - you simply drank too little and “dehydrated” your body.
Supposedly, you also sweat about 500 ml at night - that would be half a kilo, so that comes with it. That is one of the reasons why most of them weigh significantly more in the evening than in the morning.

5) (Hard) muscle training:

You may have noticed that your muscles look almost a little "puffy" after a workout. This is because effective weight training leads to small "micro-injuries" in the tissue, which then trigger the training effect. In order to heal these injuries as quickly as possible and to strengthen the muscle fibers, the body floods this area with fluid - and, as already mentioned, water weighs. It can take hours or a few days before it goes away. You have not (yet) built muscle (although you will build muscle, but this "water blockage" is not yet a muscle) and you have not gained any fat either - even if you weigh more now.

6) hormonal fluctuations:

It is not uncommon for women to have weight fluctuations with their cycle. This is more for some women and less for others. The pill can make this worse in some women. Here too: there is only water in the tissue and no fat. You didn't gain weight.
And that doesn't go away with “losing weight”, but with balancing your hormones over the long term.

Then I think it is most important to support this in the long term with a healthy diet and sufficient exercise. And that you don't let it drive you crazy because you weigh a pound or two more just before your period. You did NOT gain weight! Your body just thinks it needs this water now - for whatever reason. (In a few days it will go away on its own.) So make sure that it comes into equilibrium in the long term, then these fluctuations will gradually decrease.

7) Food intolerances:

In addition to the hormones, this is the second point that I believe needs to be addressed. Because food allergies and intolerances lead in the vast majority of cases to inflammatory processes in the body. And every time “inflammation” occurs in the body, more fluid escapes into the tissue and this leads to “water stagnation”. Our problem is not so much the "water stagnation" (even if it can be uncomfortable), but that it can be a sign of inflammatory processes - and inflammatory processes in the body are in the long run with all diseases of civilization, such as diabetes, Alzheimer's, heart attacks, Linked to stroke and cancer. In addition, your cells respond less well to insulin, which makes losing weight difficult in the long term.

But you don't need to panic right away if you weigh 500 g more on a day than the day before. Typical weight fluctuations caused by intolerance / allergies are usually in the range of 1-3 kg - within a few hours.

So if you can actually rule out all the other factors on this list and your weight fluctuates a kilo or more overnight, then it might be useful to see if you are eating something that you don't really tolerate well.

8) The body “rebuilds”:

Under this point I summarize all the mysterious things that the body makes self-organizing when you change the diet and exercise program and the body now gradually reacts with positive changes. It's like the thermostat, which then accidentally sometimes goes above 20 ° C - that doesn't mean anything, the system gets it back on its own.

The only thing I can say after more than 12 years and thousands of people I've worked with is, losing weight doesn't work linearly. We have already seen the most interesting things! For example, we already had a few participants in our metabolism S.O.S. Program (in which you alternate between fasting on one day and eating normally the other day, part of the Premium Subscription rule of thumb) that weighed MORE each time after a day of fasting and lost weight after dinner - which is completely illogical! With the vast majority of participants it is of course exactly the other way around. But even here a few pounds were lost after the 10 days - if the program works with the biology of the body and not against it, you can be sure that it will come into balance if you provide it with the right things and not somehow to Tried to “force”.

We also often see that losing weight works in "bursts" for the vast majority. Often for two or three weeks, practically nothing happens, and suddenly 3kg are gone in a few days - although nothing has been changed. It also works the other way around: you lose 2-3kg in the first week, but then the weight stands for a while. The hard part is not to let it frustrate you, but to just keep going (and NOT getting harder on yourself). Just imagine that your body still has to “process” the last “thrust” - when it is ready, it continues again.
There are many reasons you can fluctuate in weight. If you basically have a diet and exercise strategy that works with your body, not against it, you can safely ignore most of them.

Another possibility would be not to weigh yourself too often or, for example, always on the same day of the cycle for women. Personally, I weigh myself every day - but only to see what's changing and to observe my personal fluctuations. I can do that with an "ah, interesting!" Dismiss it and don't let my mood spoil my mood if it shows 500g more than I expected.

But if you are one of those people whose mood and well-being depend very much on what the scale shows, then weigh yourself less often - we have put together a few more tips here. Or watch the video where I explain how losing weight really works.

  1. Humans are not machines - in most cases losing weight does not work in a linear fashion.
  2. Weight fluctuations of up to 500g can have a wide variety of causes and in most cases have nothing to do with the fact that you did something wrong or that you have to change something in your program.
  3. If your weight fluctuates a lot before your period, then support your body in balancing it over the long term, then these fluctuations will go away less or completely. But that does not work with “lose weight”.
  4. If you have strong weight fluctuations of over 1kg within a few hours or overnight, then maybe look to see if you have any food intolerance behind it.
  5. If your mood is heavily influenced by whether the scales read a few hundred grams more or less, then it's best not to weigh yourself every day.

If you would like to learn how to gradually incorporate a diet that supports your body in balance into your life, the Premium Membership rule of thumb might be something for you! As a premium member you have access to all of our courses, videos (over 600), recipes (over 800!) And menus - but above all we take you by the hand and guide you step by step to a more relaxed approach to nutrition (from 15 , 95 EUR per month you are included!).