Weight Fluctuations


‘I’ve gained 2lbs overnight!?’

Last night I had a bit of a ‘cheat’, takeaway curry for dinner and a big helping of cinema popcorn with a few sweets. Most of the time my diet is pretty good, made up of high protein, whole foods, fruit, veg and plenty of water, but sometimes I like to treat myself.

This morning I weighed in and gained 2lbs from yesterday, and I’m guessing a lot of you have had this at some point. You have one bad meal, and suddenly all your hard work has disappeared overnight. So how can you have gained 2lbs so quickly?

1lb of body fat is roughly equivalent to 3,500 calories, so 2lbs is 7000calories. It is very unlikely you ate 7000 calories more than you should have, so don’t worry, its not all body fat. 1lb of water is equivalent to 450ml water, so 2lbs is just under 1 litre…

When you eat fast food, or takeaways, or just generally processed/packaged food, it is usually very high in salt. By increasing the level of salt in your body, your cells will draw in more water, and like I said it only takes 1litre of extra water for a 2lb weight gain. It takes time for your body to process food, liquid and excess salt, so the weight on the scales can be caused by a few things

1.     Excess salt/water retention
2.     Big meal still in your system
3.     Constipation (all water has been removed from waste to counteract the salt)
4.     Hormones (we’ll cover this another day)

So if you have had a bad meal and you see the scales jump up suddenly, firstly you shouldn’t worry, secondly you don’t need to weigh after you know you’ve over eaten. Weight yourself weekly, at the same time each week wearing the same thing, this way you can monitor long term changes, and if your weight isn’t moving then you need to adjust your diet/training plan.

Weighing yourself everyday is likely to give you the feeling that your diet isn’t working, because your seeing every little fluctuation throughout the week, and your weight can fluctuate by up to 5lbs per day!

Points to take away from this

1.     It’s ok to treat yourself occasionally
2.     The number on the scales isn’t everything
3.     Salty food will cause water retention and weight gain, it isn’t body fat
4.     Weigh yourself weekly, not daily

Thanks for reading. Good luck.

Ben Hutton
Personal Trainer


Ben Hutton