So you have been watching what you eat and working out regularly but you step on the scale and find you’ve gained a couple of pounds. Why does this happen?
Before the panic sets in, you should know that weight fluctuations are normal and they happen to everyone, experts say. They can be caused by many different factors: eating a large meal, excess salt intake, water retention, constipation, varicose veins and hormonal changes. The increase on the scale does not always equate to an increase in body fat. True weight gain is a process that happens over time, not overnight.
“I recommend that you do not weigh yourself every day,” says Dr. Helen Williams a family medicine physician at Advocate Medical Group in Chicago. “Weigh yourself once a week, preferably the same time each time, and do this without clothing on. It’s best to weigh yourself before you eat and after you have emptied your bladder and bowels in the morning.”
Dr. Williams says to be sure to use other ways to monitor your weight like noting how your clothes fit. ”If your clothes or are too loose but the scale says you’ve gained weight, the gain is probably muscle,” says Dr. Williams.
You can also measure your waist, thighs and arms. Losing an inch in your waist may mean you are gaining muscle not fat. Dr. Williams recommends keeping track of:
- Skin changes like varicose veins or leg swelling
- What types of foods you are eating,
- What time of the month you are on your period
- When you have mood or hormonal changes.
These factors can cause your weight to fluctuate. If these issues have been resolved or have been accounted for and you are not making any change and continue to gain then you should consult your physician.