What It Might Mean If You Have Weight Fluctuation

It's sabotaging your goals.

What it means if you have weight fluctuation getty

It may be frustrating to see your scale tip toward your ideal weight, and then the next day start headed back up. But weight fluctuation is a very normal part of being human.

According to Monica Auslander Moreno, MS, RD, LD/N, a nutrition consultant for RSP Nutrition, “We have constant fluid shifts and metabolic processes that contribute to our weight. You'll notice that your weight is lower in the morning; you haven't drank/eaten anything all night, so by sheer laws of mass alone, you'll weigh less. Then you'll have 16 ounces of water and a pound will appear on the scale."


Did you suddenly "get fat"? Not exactly. “There's fluid losses from exercise, bowel movements, shifts from salt and sugar, and medications can cause shifts, not to mention cyclical hormone fluctuations can have tremendous weight effects, especially on women,” Moreno says.

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Though daily weight fluctuation is typical and isn’t a big deal, frequent ups and downs throughout your lifetime is not healthy. Says Dr. David Greuner of NYC Surgical Associates“A person’s weight fluctuates a little from day to day due to the fluids in your body. Food weight and water weight cause the numbers on the scale to go up and down, as does salt intake. If you are a yo-yo dieter and your weight fluctuates significantly over time, you may experience cardiovascular problems, among other issues."


But what are the other causes of weight fluctuation aside from your body doing what comes natural?

1. Menstruation

Bloat and other symptoms associated with your period will make the scale fluctuate for many women about the same time each month. So if you're on your period and are finding that your weight isn't consistent, this may be the cause.

2. Birth control

Any birth control that is hormone-based can cause weight fluctuation. According to Caleb Backe, a certified health and wellness expert for Maple Holistics., “The balance of hormones in your body is delicate and constantly fluctuating. Anything that affects a change in your hormones can lead to physical manifestations of these changes. Weight fluctuation is a normal side-effect of a hormonal IUD.”

3. Low thyroid

The large majority of people with an underactive thyroid are female, because it is an autoimmune illness.


“Unfortunately, standard testing misses over 50 percent of people who benefit from thyroid hormone, and most physicians just don’t know this. So, if you are tired, achy, cold tolerant, or constipated in addition to being unable to lose weight, you deserve a trial of thyroid hormone by prescription,” advises Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D., an integrative medicine authority.

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4. Inadequate sleep

Sleep regulates our appetite and growth hormones. But what happens when you aren't getting enough shut-eye?


“Inadequate sleep is associated with an average 6 1/2-pound weight gain and 30 percent increased risk of obesity. To put things in perspective, the average night’s sleep in the United States until light bulbs were invented was nine hours a night,” Teitelbaum says.

5. Adrenal fatigue

Do you get hangry or irritable when you're hungry? "Hanger" is a real thing, and it may just be causing your weight fluctuation. Says Teitelbaum, “This suggests adrenal fatigue. It causes sugar cravings which can pack on the pounds.”

6. Fibromyalgia  

Do you have the paradox of inability to sleep despite exhaustion, and widespread achiness? If so, you likely have fibromyalgia.

“Unfortunately, 85 percent of people with fibromyalgia have not yet received the correct diagnosis. Two studies by our research group have shown that the drop in metabolism from fibromyalgia causes an average 32 1/2-pound weight gain,” Teitelbaum warns.


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Aly Walansky is a NY-based lifestyles writer. Her work appears in dozens of digital and print publications regularly. Visit her on Twitter or email her at alywalansky@gmail.com.