What you need to be aware of about your weight 

Does your fluctuating weight bother you? There’s no need to panic. Read on to find out why fluctuations in weight occur and what you should be aware of when you weigh yourself.

Pia Teichmann, ecotrophologist

05. February 2024

Your weight fluctuates from day to day, and even throughout the day. (Photo: Pexels)
  • Your weight fluctuates from day to day, and even throughout the day. In fact, it can fluctuate by half a kilo to a whole kilo, but this is completely normal and there is no reason to be alarmed.  
  • You will usually weigh less in the morning than in the evening. This is because the body also needs energy to continue functioning at night. You also lose fluids while you sleep.  
  • Weight gain on the scales may also be linked to water retention, which may be caused by consuming too much salt, for example. Salt retains fluid and this increases the volume of it in your intestines. Once it has been excreted, that extra kilo is lost again. This is true for all salty foods, such as crisps, olives or cheese, cold cuts and pizza.  
  • Fibre, which is mainly found in wholemeal foods and vegetables, also absorbs water in the intestine. This will make you weigh more on the scales, although you haven't actually put on any weight.  
  • The amount you drink can also play a role. Did you get very thirsty and drink a lot? If so, simply wait and see or weigh yourself again the next day. Water is quite heavy and increases your weight on the scales.  
  • You haven't been to the toilet for a while? This can also explain why you weigh more on the scales. Go for a walk, drink plenty of water, eat a few prunes or linseed if you are constipated. You'll soon feel better and your weight on the scales will drop again.   
  • The female menstrual cycle can also affect women's weight. Hormone-related fluid retention may occur over the course of the menstrual cycle, which will be reflected on the scales. Some women feel fuller, too. There's no need to worry though as it will pass.  
  • Even the weather can affect the balance of fluid in the body and result in water retention. The same applies in this case, too: there's no need to be alarmed, the weather is bound to change again at some point.  
  • Still unhappy with what the weighing scales are telling you? Don't put pressure on yourself. Setting small goals is best in any case. Doing so will get you where you want to go faster and motivate you to tackle the next goal.  
  • You should bear this in mind as well: if you consume fewer calories than you need and also stimulate how much energy your body burns by taking more exercise, you will gain muscle mass and lose fat. Weighing scales do not initially reflect this. However, it is possible to see visible changes in the circumference of your body. Your blouse or shirt will suddenly feel looser across your chest, your waistband will no longer pinch or you can tighten your belt by a notch. Monitor your progress.  
  • You shouldn't always worry that the scales might display weight gain every time you eat something. You need to consume an additional 7,000 calories to gain one kilo of body fat. This means that you could put on a whole kilo of fat within the space of just one week if you consume an extra 1,000 calories per day. A pizza, for instance, contains approximately 1000 calories and is usually eaten as an alternative to another meal. This means that you can enjoy a pizza every now and then.

What is the right way to weigh yourself?  

  • The best thing is to weigh yourself only once a week and preferably on the same day each time.  
  • Make sure you weigh yourself at the same time of the day.  
  • The best thing is to weigh yourself directly after getting up, once you have been to the toilet and before you have had breakfast or anything to drink.  
  • Place the scales on a hard, even surface - not on a carpet. This will ensure that you get the most accurate reading.  
  • You should preferably weigh yourself with no clothing on or in just your underwear.  
  • Don't allow yourself to get too stressed by minor fluctuations. You now know that a higher reading on the weighing scales can be due to a range of things.