Stop hating the scale and beating yourself up! Stave off potentially permanent weight gain with these expert tips from Shape Magazine!
Although you know a number is just a number, it's hard not to worry when you see the scale jump a pound or two overnight or‚ worse, during the same day. But take a deep breath: most weight fluctuations are normal.
Since most of us can't eat enough in a day or two to actually gain five or 10 pounds, if you notice a dramatic increase on the scale, chances are it's due to water, says Anita Petruzzelli, MD, doctor for BodyLogicMD.
"Eating, drinking, urinating, having a bowel movement, and exercise can all impact your body's water composition and therefore weight," she says. For example, high-carb and high-salt foods can cause water retention and a boost in poundage, while exercise can lead to temporary water and weight loss.
So don't get too excited‚ or freaked‚ if you weigh yourself after a meal or workout. "Weight gain due to water fluctuation should normalize in a day or two when you resume exercising and eating a healthy diet that's low in salt, refined carbs, and simple sugars," Petruzzelli says.
However, if those extra pounds keep showing up on the scale after you've returned to your regular routine for about a week, it may be time to make some adjustments to your lifestyle. Five is the magic number, according to Joseph Colella, MD, a bariatric surgeon at Magee Women's Hospital at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Most people can recover five pounds rather quickly with minor tweaks to their calorie intake and physical activity.
And if the scale shows a seven-pound jump for longer than a day or two, more aggressive measures may be called for, such as eliminating alcohol. "Alcohol stimulates your appetite and wrecks your self-control regarding the amount of food that you consume," Colella explains.
Learn the best way to weigh yourself after the break!