You may have stepped onto the scale one day to find that, suddenly, you’re five pounds heavier or lighter than you were the day before, but can’t seem to see any major difference in the mirror. This can be caused by a number of different factors, but is almost always the fault of water retention.
So What Causes Weight Retention?
There are three main causes of weight retention, but it can also be made worse by some energy-boosting weight supplements like Creatine, which cause your muscles to hoard water for five days, sometimes nearly doubling in size. Aside from anything like this, water retention is caused by these three things:
If you eat a lot of salt, your body needs to hold water in order to neutralize the salinity of your body tissue. This means it floods your cells with water, giving you an all-round puffy appearance. This can cause your body to weigh as much as five pounds more than normal.
2) Excess Carbohydrates
If you’ve recently binged on carbohydrates, don’t be surprised if put on a lot more weight than that bowl of pasta you enjoyed. If you go onto a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet for two days you can shed this water quickly, but you’ll retain it again as soon as you start giving your body sugars.
Sometimes it’s not all your fault. Hormonal changes in women, especially those brought on by menopause, can cause significant water retention.
Aside from water retention, daily weight fluctuations can be caused by:
- Playing sport (losing water again)
- A big meal (or a big bowel movement – any mass in or out)
- Being ill (losing water and eating little)
Find Your Real Weight
In order to avoid surprises next time you step on the scale, you should pick a time every day to weigh yourself. This should be a time when as many of the factors that can affect your weight are constant, so the best time is usually first thing in the morning, after you’ve been to the toilet, and before you’ve had your coffee and breakfast.
If you do this, you should be able to easily identify any weight changes as either momentary water retention or loss, or actual weight gained or loss. If you plot your weight on a graph every week you should get a much better picture of whether you’re gaining or losing weight.