How many times have you stepped on the scale only to find out you have gained 5 pounds? Its one of the most frustrating things that can ever happen.
Especially if you have been consistent with your nutrition and training.
So what the heck went wrong?
For most people it will boil down to simply eating too many calories on a daily basis. But for you, the individual who religiously tracks calories and makes sure your portions are always perfectly sized, for you the scale should be moving in the right direction.
Before you get too emotional and go pig out on your favorite cheat meal, lets take a few minutes to discuss just a few of the many reasons you may be gaining weight instead of losing it.
Your Hormones are Playing Tricks On You
Have you been stressed out lately? What about not getting enough sleep? If so you may have high levels of cortisol in your system.
When this happens sodium retention and water retention increase which ultimately makes the number on the scale creep up a little higher.
Something else that can lead to water retention is high levels of estrogen. Women of course understand this all too well.
In the days leading up to their menstrual cycle many women will experience water retention and bloating. This usually results in a net weight gain of 2-5 pounds.
So if its that time of month for you, relax! Just because the number on the scale has gone up doesn’t mean you have gained weight.
Its your hormones and in a few days things will be back to normal. Put the scale away until next week!
You Have Too Much Sodium In Your System
Sodium intake plays a huge roll in how much water weight you hold. Anytime you consume more sodium than normal you can expect your weight to temporarily go up. In many cases you can gain as much as 3 pounds from excessive sodium.
This is because sodium fills your cells with water. And until your sodium water balance is normalized again you will experience weight gain.
Please know that there is no need to cut out sodium completely. Sodium actually has quite a few very important health benefits such as helping you maintain blood volume and regulating nerve function.
You should however monitor your sodium intake to ensure you aren’t going over the recommended daily amount.
At minimum you should be getting 1,500 milligrams per day. If however you workout on a regular basis you should get a minimum of 2,500 milligrams per day as you will sweat a lot of it out during an intense workout.
To prevent sodium fluctuations try to consume the same amount of sodium everyday. By keeping your sodium intake consistent you won’t have to worry about unwanted spikes on the scale.
If you have a fun night out and splurge on a bunch of salty foods, make it a point to avoid the scale for a few days.
This will give your body enough time to re-balance your water sodium levels.
You’ve Been Eating A Lot of Carbs
If you have been consuming more carbs than usual over the last few days your body will store it as muscle glycogen.
For every gram of muscle glycogen that gets stored, your body will in turn store up to 4 grams of water. And while that may not sound like much, it can really add up over the course of a few days.
The average person can store around 500 grams of glycogen. Keep in mind this doesn’t account for fat storage.
Let’s say you decided to go all out one day and eat whatever you wanted. Some call this a cheat meal while others call it a treat meal.
No matter what you call it, at the end of the day it puts you at around 300 grams of carbs. And once you step on the scale you will notice you have gained upwards of 3.5 pounds.
And the worst part is this doesn’t even take into account fat storage which can add even more pounds on the scale.
Here’s the kicker. We always have glycogen stored in our body in some way. The key to getting a more accurate number on the scale is to weigh yourself at the same time everyday.
Ideally you should weigh yourself first thing in the morning before eating any food. This will give you the most accurate weight.
If you don’t weigh yourself first thing in the morning and you end up having a high carb day, wait 4 days before jumping back on the scale.
Doing so will give your body enough time to level things back out.
Always remember that the scale doesn’t always tell the whole story. There are a variety of factors that can affect your weight.
The key is to be as consistent with your nutrition and training and that should get you the results you want.