Talking to one of my online clients this morning, he was telling me how he had quit so many other diets. because of his misunderstanding of weight fluctuations. Before when he had tried to lose weight. He would see fluctuations on the scales that led him to believe what he was doing was not working. He told me of the frustration of putting in all that hard work at the gym and with his diet. Only to step on the scales and feel disheartened when he saw that his weight has actually increased.
From working with him for a few weeks he now understands what is happening. That these fluctuations are par for the course. And he is now making progress. It’s not only him though, weight fluctuations on the scales have thwarted many a weight loss attempt. Today I want to put an end to that frustration and help you understand why these fluctuations occur. To get you to understand that when dieting weight fluctuations are normal.
The first thing to get your head around is because you see an increase in weight on the scales. It doesn’t mean you are not losing body fat. I will say that again.
Your weight going up on the scales doesn’t mean you are not losing body fat!
The reason that we see these fluctuations in weight is due to water. When we have a meal high in carbohydrates and sodium [think Chinese takeaway]. Your body will hold onto water. For every gram of carbohydrate stored in the body (as glycogen) we store approximately 2.5 grams of water. This is why low carb diets are a very easy sell to people. They drop carbohydrates, thus, they drop water weight. They think that carbs are the enemy and they are converted to carb-free life of misery.
Then they experience a plateau after the initial drop. [If they are still consuming the same amount of calories from fats and protein]. Because they are not in a calorie deficit, so fat loss stops. Confused because they saw a correlation between dropping carbs and weight loss. But didn’t realize it was only water they had lost not body fat! How frustrating to be in this limbo of confusion.
When dieting our body will take fats [triglycerides] from the fat cells as energy. To make up the deficit. Between the energy we are expending and the energy we are consuming [a calorie deficit] Great! That’s what we want for fat loss! There will also be some loss of stored carbohydrates [glycogen]. Little or no loss of muscle. Provided you have enough protein in your diet and you’re resistance training. And of course loss of water from cells. Which are the cause of the fluctuations.
When our body decides that it’s good and ready to evacuate the water from the cells. Then we see a drop in weight, usually a large one, to a new low! So don’t be deterred by these fluctuations they are part of the process. Stay resolute to the plan and you will see these downward trends. What you are looking for is a downward trend with weight over weeks. Each week you should see a new low [remember to weigh yourself daily so you don’t miss it]. This will tell you that you are in a calorie deficit. and you are where you need to be with your calorie intake and activity.
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