It’s a familiar scenario: You’re trying to keep tabs on your weight, so you check in and step on the scale. Shockingly, the number is up. Not by a ton, but it’s definitely a few pounds higher than it was yesterday (or the day before). You’ve been exercising regularly and eating well – so what’s up?
Your water weight. When you gain a pound or two in just a few days, water is almost always the culprit. Fat takes more time to accumulate, so it isn’t really possible for you to gain weight from fat in a matter of a day or two, says Sylvia Tara, Ph.D., author of The Secret Life of Fat.
Plus, glycogen, which is the stored form of glucose that our bodies turn to for energy, holds much more water than fat does because of its biochemical makeup, Dr. Tara says. Stored in the liver and muscle cells, glycogen is hydrated with three to four parts of water. So when you lose weight quickly, you’re depleting those glycogen stores, which tells the liver and muscles to hold onto any bit of glucose – and its accompanying water – that you take in when you eat. If you step on the scale at some point during this process, then it’s likely that the number will be higher.
If you’re looking to skip out on the water weight, there are a few tricks you can try. These are the ones Dr. Tara says work best for seeing less fluctuation on the scale.