Yep. I do weigh myself. I weigh myself almost every morning. In fact, I weigh myself more than once in the morning. Now this may be a little TMI but I’ll weigh myself with “heavy boobs” (pre-first nursing/pumping session of the day) and then after I nurse the baby or pump. It’s amazing the difference! Sometimes I’ve dropped 2lbs in the span of 30 minutes. Crazy. And then if I teach a RPM class in the early morning, the sweat loss makes the scale dip even further.
So it’s really hard to say an exact number for how much I weigh right now. For the most part, I’ve been slowly creeping back down to my pre-pregnancy weight due to in part my increased workout schedule and paying a little more attention to what I eat. (Check out my immediate post pregnancy pictures/goals here).
However, last week I gained 5 lbs in two days! And this was on top of the 14 classes I taught during that week. At first I was a little upset and shocked especially because of all the exercise I had done that week. And that should have been my clue to why I gained that weight.
In order for me to have gained 5 lbs in the span of two days I would have had to consumed an excess of 17,500 calories to gain that weight (1 lb = 3500 cal). I wonder how many donuts that equates to. Or how many slices of pizza. Or how many margaritas.
The logical side of me was like “eh, it’ll go away once I rest and recover.” But the emotional side of me was like “shit, I thought I was done with the 160s (insert tantrum here).”
In the end, the logical side of my won. Why though? There’s a physiological reason why I was 5 lbs heavier after a week of 14 classes.
Inflammation and water retention.
Exercise is perceived by the body as a stress. Individual muscle fibers are working on overdrive during a particularly hard workout or string of workouts resulting in cellular damage and fatigue. Your body responds to this kind of stress by retaining as much fluid to repair microscopic muscle fiber tears. This is especially true if you are weight training which produces a considerable amount of muscle damage. Water is necessary to rebuild stronger muscle cells.
The same is true for intense cardiovascular training. In order to refuel your muscles, your body retains glycogen, which is a string of sugar molecules that your muscles use for quick energy. When glycogen is produced in the liver and stored in the muscles, a certain amount of water is stored along with it.
So it’s been said before to ditch the scale because it can be misleading. I partly agree with this as water weight can fluctuate the number on the scale +/- up to 5-10 lbs. But I do recommend using a scale to measure weight loss but keeping water weight in mind.
Tips to accurately weigh yourself.
- Be consistent with the time of day you weigh yourself. You will weigh more throughout the day based on when you last ate, exercised etc.
- Be consistent with the amount of clothes you are wearing. Ideally, weigh yourself naked. Duh! Clothes do contribute to your weight.
- Use the same scale. Each scale is different. When measuring for weight loss, the amount lost between measurements is what’s really important.
There are other ways to “measure” body composition changes. You can use a body fat calculator which uses an electrical current that measures fat/muscle density (this is found on a hand held device or on some advanced bathroom scales). This method is highly dependent on hydration so be mindful of that. If you’re dehydrated, you’ll measure at a higher body fat percentage.
Use the clothes test. Are your clothes fitting a little looser? Are you on a tighter belt notch? Then you’ve probably lost a few pounds. This doesn’t really work with my current wardrobe of yoga pants, running shorts and tank tops 🙂
So in conclusion, I don’t give a damn that my scale said I weighed 5 lbs more earlier this week because I know more about physiology than that silly heap of electronic components. And how do I know I’m right? I’m already down 4 lbs this morning after 3 days of “rest” (only 1 or 2 classes a day 🙂 ).