Measuring your weight should be simple, right? Stand on some scales, and look at the read-out. So, if its that easy, how can our weight vary so much day to day? Why do experts say to look at your overall appearance rather than looking at the figures on your scales?
The problem is that you eat and drink, and pass out waste materials. This obvious statement is the basis of many problems with inaccurate weight measurements. Let me explain why, and then we'll look at how you can measure your weight a little more accurately.
Since your body is made up of mostly water, the first thing that can affect your current weight is how much water your are retaining. Water retention can increase or decrease depending on what you are eating and drinking. e.g. eat more salt, and your body will retain more water. As water retention increases, so does your weight on the scales.
If you were to stop drinking water, your body could dehydrate, meaning your weight on the scales will decrease.
These increases and decreases based on how much water your body is retaining does is not the same as gaining or losing fat. It is just water.
Other things you eat and drink can have similar effects on body water retention.
Another factor is the type of food you are eating. Muscles store carbohydrate as glycogen. Your muscles can store quite a bit, so if you eat a lot of carbs, your weight will increase simply because your muscles are storing more glycogen. If you eat low carbs, your body weight will decrease, again, simply because your body is storing less glycogen.
These weight fluctuations based on eating and drinking can really confuse weight measurements. You might be expecting a weight loss when you weigh yourself tomorrow morning, but instead you see a gain of 2 pounds. From my own measurements, my body will naturally (ie not under dehydration) increase or decrease by up to 2 kilos depending on factors such as water retention and food eaten.
Also, don't forget that you will weigh more when your stomach is full, ie just after eating a meal. You will also weigh less after emptying your bowels and bladder.
I have therefore come up with a method I use to weight myself.
Tips: Measuring Your Weight “accurately”
1. Weigh yourself once a week, on the same day, at the same time. Preferably as soon as you get up.
2. If you need to go to the toilet before weighing yourself, do so.
3. On the day BEFORE your weigh-in, try to follow the same routine, and eat similar foods. e.g. I will eat normal meals until lunch time, and then switch to high protein, low carbohydrate meals (like chicken or fish, with a large salad) for the evening meal.
4. On the day BEFORE your weigh-in, drink lots of pure, fresh water. I'm not talking about tea and coffee here, as these have dissolved solutes in them. I am talking about pure water. You can drink your usual tea, coffee and other beverages, but drink 2-3 litres of water AS WELL. Stop drinking liquids around 7pm (or you will be up all night).
5. Weigh-in immediately after waking up.
Using this method, my weight measurements have been a lot more predictable, and I am a lot more confident that the figures on the scales are comparable from week to week. An increase, really does mean an increase, and a weight loss really is something to celebrate.