Our body weight naturally fluctuates during the day. You may notice that your body weight becomes heavier at certain times of the day. Often you’ll notice that you weigh less in the morning but gain weight towards the end of the day, even if you haven’t eaten much or exercised, but why?
The reason is often to do with water balance.
We tend to weigh less in the morning because we lose a relatively large amount of fluid through sweat during sleep. Some people can lose up to 2 liters of fluid each night, and because water is heavy, it’s possible to lose 2-4 pounds through sweating alone(breathing accounts for some of the loss), now that’s a lot of water weight loss!
As the day passes we gain back the fluid from the food and drink consumed from meals. The natural fluid imbalance is simply replaced and our weight slowly returns to normal. People who don’t drink much during the day will often remain in a state of dehydration and this will also affect their normal body weight, although, weight loss by dehydration is not recommended way to lose weight.
Assessing your correct weight
I believe the best way to assess your body weight when using scales is to weigh oneself at midpoint from the time you awake, to your normal bedtime. So, if you arise at 8am, and go to bed at 12am, then always look at weighing yourself around 4pm. In this case, this is exactly halfway through the day and will give time for your body to re-hydrate from the fluid lost during sleep, and also stop the temporary weight gained from any possible overfeed, as well as drinking too much during the latter times a day.
Because drinking and eating habits may not change for years it’s also important to weigh yourself at the same time of the day in order to obtain a more accurate assessment of your current weight. Checking to see if you’ve lost weight at the wrong time can cause you to feel disappointed or over assess your weight loss progress!
Other Changes in Fluid Balance
For some people with a bad diet, high in processed or other salty foods, it’s possible that their weight may even go beyond normal range during the day. This is because high intakes of salt / sodium help us to hold more water. The result is we could gain a little more water weight than a diet made up of more natural foods and products. In fact, some experts have suggested that many overweight individuals could be carrying an extra 5 pounds just from excessive fluid gains caused from a “bad” diet of processed foods and snack products high in salt.
The way to lose excess water weight gained from the diet is to start gradually reducing the amount of high salt foods from the diet. It could be a good idea to try to eliminate a single high salt food item from the diet each week until your diet contains about 80% natural or low-salt foods. Replace the eliminated food with a similar, but a more natural type from the same food group. This way you can maintain a balanced diet full of your preferred food items without completely changing to a new diet altogether. Although, you should always check with a dietitian a before changing your current diet!!