Not much in this world can make an honest woman curse quite as much as the scale.
On the one hand we know it’s not a big deal. We are aware the scale doesn’t define us. We know the cultural conditioning that tells us all women should be a dainty 100 pounds is dumb. We know we want to be strong and confident and own our space. We’ve also seen the countless SFM transformation photos with drastic body composition changes and almost no change in the scale.
And yet. When that scale bobbles up, it’s easy to feel your heart sink and your fists clench.
Almost, we can understand (if not forgive) this slight when we have had an off week with our macros. We’ve hit 4/7, had a bunch of Chinese food last night – okay, scale, we don’t like it, but we get it.
But what about when you’re doing everything right? You hit your macros every day, got your fiber in, and rocked your workouts… for a whole week! (Or perhaps much longer!) So WHY, scale, WHY?
First, let me reassure you that after a week (or longer) of hitting the numbers provided by your SFM coach, you DID NOT GAIN FAT. Allow me to repeat: you did not hit 6-7/7 and gain fat.
Also, let me share an annoying truth: the scale going up and down is part of the process. Even doing everything right, the scale will fluctuate. That’s just what the scale does. Your coach is not worried about what your scale does day to day or from this week to next week. Your coach just wants to see a downward trend over time.
That said, what causes these fluctuations in weight?
Note: Our clients weigh in at the same time every day: fasted, first thing in the morning after waking up, before drinking anything, perhaps after an AM bowel movement, and naked or in a bathing suit. Weight can change drastically during the day so to determine trends and day-to-day fluctuations this standard is needed.
- Water intake and output (how much you drink and how much you sweat, pee, etc.).
- Food intake and output (how much you eat and how much you poop, also how late you ate last night and if it was a bigger meal than normal).
- Sodium intake (lots of salty food = water retention).
- Worked those muscles extra hard (micro tears to your muscles retain fluid in the healing process).
- About to start your cycle or on your cycle (body retains more water due to fluctuating hormones).
- Interrupted sleep/frequent waking/poor quality sleep.
- Medications or hormones.
- Them gainz!! You could be gaining muscle as you lose fat (recomping). The scale can increase in this case, even as you lose inches.
- You’re new to macros and your body is adjusting to higher protein, higher carbs, and/or potentially more food than you were eating before. You may experience bloating/constipation, and feel fuller or heavier initially, but over time your body WILL adjust. Give it time and keep hitting those numbers!
What’s up with the scale being up and down, then? Turns out you aren’t a robot… or a rock. You are a complicated living organism. Your body is primarily fluid. Your intake (food, water, fiber, sodium) is different every day. Your output (pee, poop, exercise, steps) is different every day. Other factors also cause variation.
This is why the scale is NOT the end all be all. It is one data point that sometimes doesn’t tell us much. Your progress photos and measurements tell the true story. This is also why we don’t recommend creating goals around the scale. You cannot control the scale, but you can control your planning, food prep, and macro intake. Make a goal to hit your numbers consistently 13 out of every 14 days. Consistency is what matters in this journey, and I promise as you make that your focus, the scale will follow suit with time.