Here are the results of my weighing every day experiment. I hope they help you!…
I have so many communications with people who say they’ve gained or lost a pound overnight and they are either pleased or upset and I advise people NOT to weigh every day because natural variations in the body’s weight are so common, that you are not getting an accurate picture. The best option for weighing is once a week – at a regular time of day and, ideally, naked. If you have not lost as expected, try weighing again the next day to see if this was a short term variation, but weight loss should only be even close to accurate from one week to the next.
To illustrate how much someone of even normal weight – not on a diet – varies, I decided to weigh myself every day for a month. I have been 7.12-8 stone for c. 15 years and therefore consider myself a pretty constant weight. When my beloved cat died I lost all interest in eating for a few days and dropped to 7.9-7.10 and then returned to 7.12-8 stone as soon as we got another rescue cat and I fell in love with him. Andy and I went to Jamaica for our wedding/honeymoon and the resort happened to be holding an epicurean food festival at the same time. What luck! I ate some of the best food I have ever tasted in my life, didn’t worry much about keeping fats and carbs separate and returned home a couple of pounds over 8 stone and then returned to normal within a couple of days. This is the whole principle of the natural weight – something that your body naturally tends back to.
So, here we go! (I have a set of Tanita ‘serious duty’ scales – for clients – so this is as accurate as I can get. All dates are for September to October 2009):
Thur 17 September 7.13.0 (last day of my period)
Fri 18 September 7.13.4
Sat 19 September 7.12.4
Sun 20 September 7.13.6
Mon 21 September 7.12.6
Tue 22 September 7.13.2
Wed 23 September 8.00.0
Thur 24 September 7.13.8
Fri 25 September 7.13.8
Sat 26 September 7.13.0
Sun 27 September 7.12.6
Mon 28 September 7.13.2
Tue 29 September 7.12.6
Wed 30 September 7.11.8
Thur 1 October 7.12.2
Fri 2 October Away – sorry – there’s never a month when I’m not away for a couple of days
Sat 3 October Away
Sun 4 October Away
Mon 5 October 7.13.2
Tue 6 October 7.13.8
Wed 7 October 7.13.2
Thur 8 October 7.12.8
Fri 9 October 7.12.4
Sat 10 October 7.13.8
Sun 11 October 8.00.2 (first day of my period)
Mon 12 October 7.13.2
Tue 13 October 7.12.8
Wed 14 October 7.12.4
Extra test on one day:
On Thur 8th October, I braved the cold weather (in the interests of research!) to strip off every 2 hours, to show what happens during the day:
9am 7.13.4 (after breakfast and going to the loo!)
11am 7.13.2 (had another large decaff coffee after breakfast, but wee’d lots too)
1pm 8.00.2 (after lunch – the food weighed c. 1lb)
3pm 7.13.6 (lots of water/decaf coffee and wees in the afternoon)
7pm 8.00.2 (after dinner – c. 1lb of food again)
There was only one occasion when, by sheer fluke, my weight was the same 2 days in a row (24-25 September).
The lowest weight could possibly be ‘explained’ by the day before being unusually warm and sunny in the UK and I worked on my PC outside and could have dehydrated a bit.
The highest (non time of the month) weight is likely explained by me going to a black tie event on Tue 22 Sept and the veggie option was a pie – no kidding! About half a kilo in weight, this thing was the size of a normal dinner plate (there was no room for veg at all) and it was a white flour, pastry pie filled with cheese and spinach. The calorie/energy content was probably 1000-1500 calories. It was only moderately tasty but I ate the whole lot because I was hungry – after all the speeches we didn’t get scoff until after 9pm. I probably still had most of this pie in me when I weighed the next morning!
A woman’s hormones fluctuate more in a month than a man’s do in a lifetime! Hence we do vary at different times of the month – hormones affect water retention, appetite and all sorts. I don’t know a single woman who doesn’t ‘gain’ 1-2lbs, or more, just before her period and I am no exception. It drops off within a day or two or starting – that’s just part of being a woman. We get shoes and multiple orgasms so, hey ho!
The average weight, across the whole month, is 7.13.0. In the books I say that my weight is 8 stone (nice round number). I am more typically 7.12 – 8 stone, as the above shows, so the average weight during the month is bang in the middle of this range. The variation from this is + or – 1lb. This is less than a 1% fluctuation in a month (and it’s similar every month, every year and has been for years now). I think this is remarkably constant, but some of you see similar fluctuations in your own weight and tell me you’ve gained or lost a pound. I really hope this helps show that you haven’t.
Are these fluctuations normal? Absolutely! The scales (good as they are) are probably not that accurate to start with (I did learn something I didn’t know – the scales don’t bother with odd numbers for fractions of pounds. It’s always 13.2 or 12.4 or 11.8 etc – never 12.7).
What drives them? Quite simply – food and drink going in and waste products going out. The daily recordings (Thur 8th October) show how you can eat a good size meal and gain 1lb (because you have put 1lb of food into your digestive tract) and then ½ lb has gone in fluid extracted by the body from this food even a couple of hours later.
Did I feel any different on the highest and lowest days? Not at all during the month – none of my clothes felt any different (all this food in and out stuff is taking place largely in the digestive tract and that has no impact on the waistband). I felt a bit dopey after the white flour pie and the late night, but felt completely ‘normal’ again after a healthy breakfast. I do feel a bit different just before my period – I am aware that I am holding water on my thighs and boobs and really close fitting clothes can feel a bit too snug, but it comes and goes so quickly.
Moral of the story?
Don’t weigh yourself every day!
Please don’t take into account half pounds and 0.4 of a pound etc. This is anorexic style behaviour and doesn’t fit with having a healthy and balanced attitude to food and weight. Please don’t be that obsessive – it makes me want to hug you and say “start living your life, not recording your weight to within an ounce!”
Don’t panic if you ‘gain’ a pound – if you are following the ‘rules’ of The Harcombe Diet, you are so unlikely to have actually gained weight – this will be normal fuel and waste product ins and outs going on in the body.
Be prepared to plateau on any weight loss journey. The idea that weight loss follows a predictable formula is complete and utter nonsense (but you know that or, following a c. 1000 calorie a day diet, an average woman should lose 104 lbs each year, every year, year in, year out! That’s 7 stone 6lbs every year. Most of my clients are trying to survive on 1000-1500 calories a day and haven’t lost a single pound in years – the “to lose 1lb of fat, you need to create a deficit of 3500 calories a day” is a fairy story – and you know it.
Hope this helps!