That darn scale – rarely reading how it’s supposed to, right?!
Well, I have some good news: It’s normal for your weight to flux up and down.
As much as you might like it to, the scale likely will not present you with the same number day in and day out. There are just too many things that can influence our bodies, primarily in how we hold fluid. It’s normal, if you are a man, to see an 8 pound swing up and down in weight. If you are a woman, then a 5 pound swing is to be expected.
Circumstances that can make your weight flux include, but aren’t limited to, medication shifts, constipation, inflammation, sore muscles associated with exercise, menstruation, hormones, poor sleep, higher salt intake, higher carb intake than normal, hydration shifts and high stress levels. All of these scenarios can increase the body’s ability to store fluid which can push your numbers on the scale up. Temporary swings, as long as the weight swings back down, are normal, unavoidable and to-be-expected.
This being said, if your weight doesn’t swing back down and only continues to creep up, then you might consider taking a peek “under the hood” and troubleshoot a bit. For example, if you see a 10 pound swing upward that doesn’t drop back down in a week or so, then you could be experiencing a increase in weight that you might want to address; it’s always easier to address it right away, rather than wait until things get out of control (which can happen unbelievably fast).
Here are some common things I see when someone experiences “the creep”:
If you are or have been following a lower carbohydrate lifestyle, be mindful of whether your carb intake has increased above your tolerance level. Carbs can sneak back in easily through fruits, starchy veggies, flavored dairy items, beans, grains, breads, beverages, alcohol, various “protein” bars, “grain-free” or cauliflower-like crackers/chips/pizza crusts, gluten free items and much more. If you are following a lower carbohydrate lifestyle and haven’t increased carbs at all, then nuts and cheese are often the culprit. Remember that these are trigger foods and are easy to overeat. Consider removing these from your diet for a while and see if your weight shifts in the direction you desire.Has alcohol has made a comeback. I know, I know ... But remember metabolically what alcohol does? It stops fat burn for quite a while. Drop the alcohol or at least reduce it when you celebrate. Some people just can’t tolerate alcohol and gain weight when they drink it, most often because of its effects on the liver. Experiment with amount and type to see how your body responds.Perhaps old habits and behaviors are saying “hello” again. Has your mindset shifted into one of deprivation rather than gratitude and appreciation? Maintaining a life change, a healthy body, and a healthy mind takes practices and consistent awareness; mastery of it never ends. “Repetition is the mother of skill”, Tony Robbins, self-help guru, likes to say. Catch those old habits and behaviors and close the door on them. Take those sabotaging thoughts filled with deprivation and expectations and turn them into thoughts filled gratitude and appreciation. If you go back to the way of the old- bring past foods, drinks, habits, behaviors and stories back into your life, then the weight too will return. So not worth it even if it seems “good” in the moment!If you have witnessed a creep in weight that doesn’t seem or feel like a normal oscillation, give these tips a shot. Keep in mind that every body is different. What works for someone you know might not work for you. This doesn’t mean that you aren’t eating healthy. It doesn’t mean that you are doing something wrong; it just means that you haven’t yet found the answer for your unique self, and that’s okay. The solution is out there. Keep looking!
Ashley Lucas has a doctorate in sports nutrition and chronic disease. She is also a registered dietitian nutritionist. She is the founder and owner of PHD Weight Loss and Nutrition, offering weight management and wellness services in the Four Corners. She can be reached at 764-4133.