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The eagle eyed of you would have noticed that we sneakily added another reason to make a total of 8 reasons why you shouldn’t always trust the scales.
If you missed Part 1 then make sure to check it out HERE.
5) Food/Stomach Volume
No, we don’t mean the sound of the 11 o’clock tummy grumble.
We mean the amount of food you are eating, in terms of size and weight. If you find your weight has gone up or down, ask yourself how much physical food you actually consumed.
200 calories of Kiwi looks very different to 200 calories of peanut butter:
As Kiwi (and fruits/vegetables in general) contain a lot of water, for the same amount of calories as peanut butter, it weighs a lot more. So if you switch from eating high calorie, low volume foods such as peanut butter to low calorie, high volume foods such as lettuce, you may notice that your weight stays the same, more so due to the weight of the food itself.
You could easily fill your daily calorie allowance with just 500g of food OR 5kg of food and this will change on a daily basis.
The same goes for liquid calories and why many liquid and “shake” diets are successful. You are not only massively reducing your calorie intake but also massively reducing the amount of food passing through your gut which can easily reduce your weight by a few pounds.
Note: Providing you are eating the right amounts, don’t avoid low calorie, high volume foods for fear of weight gain. Food volume is just something to consider if you notice a significant weight gain or weight loss.
Following on from food volume and somewhat related, fibre also has the ability to dictate how fast food passes through the gut as different types of fibre speed it up or slow it down.
Insoluble fibre such as celery, cucumber, broccoli and many other dark leafy vegetables add bulk to the stool and helps food to move faster through the digestive system.
Soluble fibre from foods such as oats, beans, lentils and psyllium husks slows gastric emptying by absorbing water and forming a gel.
Soluble fibre is great for helping you feel full on a diet and highly recommended for gut health but big fluctuations in fibre intake and/or fibre type can translate to the scales the next day.
If you ever did the potato experiment at school, you will know that osmosis has to do with concentrations of water and moving water across membranes. As creatine is an osmotically active substance, a similar process occurs within the body.
If you didn’t do the experiment (or were playing footsy with your partner) in very simple terms, increased creatine will “suck” water into the muscles.
This is exactly why you may have heard the horror stories of creatine causing water retention.
Yes, it absolutely does but in the muscles, which is a good thing for those looking to maximise muscle size and strength.
Weight can jump up by as much as 2-3kg whilst supplementing with creatine but will soon flat line providing you are supplementing regularly.
There is a reason competitors in sports with specific weight categories cut water intake before a meet or competition. It’s so they can drastically reduce their weight in a short period of time to meet their weight class.
Our bodies are made up of 70% water so it’s no surprise that dehydration will cause rapid weight loss and may temporarily decrease the number on the scales.
It doesn’t happen so much the other way, if we take on too much water, as our bodies are clever at dispensing any excess. However, if you find your water intake has been low, you’ve been in a unusually hot climate or more commonly had a night out on the town, you will probably notice a small drop on the scales.
(Bonus) Menstruation Cycle
We added this one as a bonus as it doesn’t affect everyone, for obvious reasons.
Often unspoken but very important to understand that massive weight variations can occur during the female menstruation cycle.
The massive influx of oestrogen during the premenstrual period followed by the flooding of progesterone to counteract the oestrogen can make the body do some crazy things. As with cortisol, hormonal imbalances can cause big shifts in water weight and fluid retention.
It’s pretty much unavoidable and the magnitude of the weight gain will vary massively between females, anywhere from 2-10 lbs! All you need to know is that it will happen and there’s not a lot you can do about it.
If you expect it and account for it, it’s not something to worry about as you haven’t put on 2+ lbs of fat over night. Remember to look at trends over time and longer term progress.
By now you’re probably thinking that the scales are useless and aren’t worth using when in fact they can be very useful and a good gauge of progress. This is all providing you know how to use them which we’ll be explaining in Part 3.
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