Things that Can Make a Scale Swing

Good or bad lots of people live by the scale. It’s not a bad thing per say we know from research those that successfully control their weight weigh themselves regularly. However you can certainly take it way too far. Once a week is probably healthy too much more or less and you might be over or under doing it. Personally I weigh myself about once a week but I still hate seeing numbers I’m not expecting to. Save for my period I have a very stable wight within about a pound either way from my set point.

scale swing

That said there are a few things that can make the needle move a very long way in a very short time. So here they are:

A lot of inflammation

I’m not talking an infected thumbnail or even a whole thumb but rather things that effect your whole body. Things like a brutal sunburn, allergies, trauma and sometimes from diet especially alcohol. While it’s possible infection leads to inflammation it’s not necessarily always the case. Whatever the cause inflammation causes tissues to fill with a lot of extra fluid and all that fluid can make your weight swing up pretty dang fast. This year I got a not so bad sunburn on my upper arms and shoulders and the slightest hint of red on my legs and for about three days the scale was between 2-4 lbs up. So if you see a big jump and you just refilled your prescription for your epi-pen that’s probably why.

Your cycle

Ladies this isn’t news is it and it’s never a loss either is it? For some women this can be up to seven pounds for about a week. Yuck! For me it’s usually about three pounds and I would say it feels like its all in my stomach area although honey swears he sees the effects a few inches higher up too. I’m not so sure about that but I like most women would rather not have it happen. Generally you can just feel gross and puffy. If I get on the scale and it’s up a few pounds I’ll usually check my tracking app and yup three days out, you got me again!

Sushi or a high salt meal

One time I went to an all you can eat sushi place you know the kind, order it don’t eat it and you pay full price after a long run with the runchies. So I over, over ordered and then had to eat it all. All dipped in so much soy sauce. The next morning I realized I hadn’t gone a whole lot after all my tea that night and the next morning I WAS 7 POUNDS heavier. Salt makes you retain water in a big way but that’s 6% of my body weight! It took a full two days to make it go away and my sock elastics left impressions in my calfs that day. Give yourself a break if you od’d on the NaCl!

Homemade sushi!


A couple of days without eating much

Not a humble brag I swear but in addition to being active, having a good metabolism I’m also one of those people who forgets to eat when I’m tiered or stressed. If I have a big fight with my partner, which thankfully only happens less than once a year it’s tea all day and half a bagel, maybe a bag of candy, maybe. Stress can bring it on too and sometimes life just conspires to give you some terrible days. If this goes on two or three days I might drop 8 pounds or more but other than a pound or two it’s temporary as well. This comes from a few reasons one is kinda gross and that is you’re putting nothing in but yet you’re emptying the out flow. Which is to say you have an abnormally empty colon and that a bit of weight. The next is you’re likely a bit dehydrated. Despite the 8 glasses a day crowd for a lot of us much of our water content comes from our food. The thing is it’s very temporary and when the bad days pass over the next couple you’re body will go back to normal.

Getting extremely dehydrated

We’re not talking a bit behind on your fluids but rather a long stop completely. The other way this can happen is from long bouts of hard exercise especially in the heat. In fact some experts suggest that you can actually weigh yourself before and after a workout as a way to measure how much water you should be taking in. I understand (to a certain extent) people in fitness competitions actually do this on purpose. While this obviously should be avoided a long hard workout can make you loose about four pounds of weight. Typically this returns to normal once you hydrate after about 12-25 hours. Recently I discovered fake (and often pink) champagne after my really long runs and brick workouts and you know what I drink the entire bottle sometimes in the tub! Not only am I living my best life, it helps me rehydrate, goes a long way to restoring my calorie deficit and is a super fun way to drink grape juice!

Certain sicknesses

Technically this can go either way either you’re eliminating at a higher rate from one end or the other or god help you both or you’re Immune response is causing a lot of inflammation. Either way see the not eating or inflammation section and that applies here.

A week of overdoing it

I guess this could apply to a week of eating very little, exercising constantly and surviving on kale and dreams but I think for most of us it’s the other way around. Sometimes for occasionally a good reason we just let go of all our inhibitions for a week. Maybe it’s Vegas, a breakup, stress, perfect summer weather or a bachelorette weekend, what ever the reason you’re making all the bad health and diet choices multiple times a day. And you know what barring any really stupid intoxicated decisions it will have no long term effect on your health or weight. Vacation or staycation you’re drinking way too much way too often (inflammation), eating a greasy hangover breakfast (and possibly lunch if you’re over 25) (salt), re-gaming the next night and topping the night off with a delicious late night calorific bonus meal before you fall asleep in a mini skirt with your make-up on again. Wake up the next day and repeat. That might even bung you up and so you’ve got some extra on board as well and since you’re not exercising, because who would in that scenario, it’s staying with you longer. Sure that might not be the exact scenario maybe it’s a break up, boxed wine, ice cream, tissues, a chick flick and dominos every night but we’ve all been in both places right? After an extended long weekend or a week of wallowing you might pick yourself up, dust off and step on the scale to access the damage and realize you’ve put on over 10 pounds in a heart beat.

The good news is it’s not real weight and add your cycle to that you’ve got a perfect storm where three factors converge to make you’re life hell only George Clooney isn’t showing up to this one! The bad news is it’s not going away in a day or two either. Afterwards it will take AT LEAST as long to undo the damage as it took to do it in the first place so dig out your fat pants and tunics you’re not going to feel like the best version of your self for a while yet. But it’s next to impossible to actually gain that much real weight in that short a time. You might very well have an extra pound or two on board but not that initial shocking number. Just drink lots of water, return to your regular diet and exercise routine and slowly but surely you’ll return to you’re old self. Texting apologies to anyone you drunk dialled is optional but advised in this phase as well.

The reason I wrote this post is because for good or bad lots of ladies (and maybe men, I’ve never been one) live and die by the number on the scale. If that’s the case you ought to know what you’re doing that might cause you a delayed weight related freak out. What’s the biggest swing you’ve ever seen on the scale and what do you put it down to?

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