Why Can Your Weight Fluctuate From Day to Day?

Woman's feet standing on scale
Woman's feet standing on scale (Image: David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Day-to-day weight fluctuation within a 5-pound range is common, but greater fluctuations may be the first sign that your diet or exercise habits need tweaking. To properly gauge your daily weight differences, you should create a weighing routine. Dr. Anita Petruzzelli of BodyLogicMD recommends weighing yourself naked first thing in the morning after using the bathroom and always using the same scale.

Diet Considerations

In many cases, day-to-day weight fluctuations can be explained by diet. Foods that are high in salt and carbohydrates can lead to excess water storage in the body, Petruzzelli points out. If you notice an increase in weight first thing in the morning, consider what you have eaten over the past few days -- salty snacks or pizza may be the culprit.

Exercise Variables

If you routinely weigh yourself prior to and immediately after exercise, you likely notice a significant difference in these two measurements. This weight fluctuation is due to water loss in the form of sweat during exercise. Day-to-day fluctuations in this number may reflect the intensity of your workout, the temperature in which you exercise or even how warm your clothing is.

Health Conditions

Day-to-day weight fluctuations can also be influenced by health conditions such as congestive heart failure, hypothyroidism, hormonal levels, constipation, diarrhea, long-distance travel and dehydration. If your day-to-day weight fluctuations cannot be explained by diet and exercise, consider seeing your physician to rule out treatable health conditions.

Weight Errors

If you have ruled out other possible causes of day-to-day weight fluctuations and yet the fluctuations continue, consider other causes for error. Some scales may require periodic recalibration. Refer to the owner’s manual to see if your scale may need such an adjustment. Other causes for error may be clothing, items in pockets, shoes or other accessories such as purses and belts.

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