Have you woken up in the morning, stepped on the scale and noticed that you have gained weight overnight? While it’s understandable to gain a few pounds after vacation or if you haven’t been exercising or eating healthy, it can be shocking when you gain weight for seemingly no reason at all.
Eating more sodium than usual, eating late, more carbs or even starting new medication can cause weight gain whilst you sleep. Fluctuations in weight happen most of the time and it is totally normal to gain weight whilst you sleep.
You swear you’re not eating more or exercising less, I know it can feel like there’s some dark magic at play. There are many reasons for sudden weight gain and in this post we will tell you what they are.
You Ate More Sodium Than You Usually Do
Your body may retain excess water for a few reasons, but the most likely is related to your sodium intake. If you eat more sodium than normal on a given day, your body will retain more water.
Some people are more sensitive to this. For example, if you typically eat very fresh, whole, clean foods and work out regularly, and then miss a workout and eat a super salty meal, chances are your weight fluctuation will seem more drastic than someone who typically eats more salt.
Mild dehydration can also cause your body to retain fluids. It sounds counterintuitive, but drinking more will help your body get rid of fluids more efficiently and flush excess sodium.
For most fluid-related weight gain, assuming you go back to your normal eating and drinking habits, the weight gain should really only last 24 to 48 hours. A lot of it will depend on how quickly your kidneys remove the excess water from your body, and whether or not you sweat out some of the excess fluid.
You Are Constipated
As you eat throughout the day, your weight may increase a few pounds until the next time you effectively empty out your bowels.
If things are a little backed up, not only will you feel and look bloated, but your body will contain more weight than if you were to efficiently clear out the old to make room for the new.
Make sure you’re eating enough fibre, staying hydrated, and keeping active so that your bowels can do their thing.
You Worked Out Too Hard
After a heavy workout, especially if you perform big, compound movements that recruit a lot of large muscles, you can easily weigh a few extra pounds for several days.
Those microscopic tears that occur in your muscle cells after every workout heal through a process of natural inflammation. That involves some pooling of fluids around the muscle cells, which can make you puff up.
This does not mean you should skip those calorie torching strength moves. Just let your muscles recover and forget about the scale.
You Drank A Too Much Water
It’s true that staying well-hydrated is a good move if you’re trying to lose weight. But the first few days of upping your water intake could actually cause the number on the scale to creep up, too.
This is because weight is not just the measurement of fat in your body. It is the weight of your bones, organs, muscles, fluid and waste.
When you’re dehydrated, you actually weigh less, but that doesn’t mean you are healthier. Let’s say you don’t drink much fluid one day, and the next morning you wake up and your weight is down.
Then you drink a ton of water and the next day it looks like you gained 2 pounds. That does not mean you gained 2 pounds of fat, it just means that your body was depleted of water the day before.
You Ate More Carbs Than Usual
Though carbohydrates are not the enemy of weight loss, eating an unusual amount of them over the course of one day or even a few days can make it seem like you’ve gained weight.
Carbohydrates can result in water weight showing up on the scale. This is why people lose weight faster initially on a lower-carbohydrate diet.
The body doesn’t hold onto the extra water. It’s also why people may gain weight quickly when they eventually go off that lower-carbohydrate diet. That water weight comes back and the scale bounces up.
It’s The Weekend
One study found that people’s weights tended to go down during the workweek, hitting their lowest point on Friday morning. Weights went up over the weekends to their highest point on Monday mornings.
People who lost weight overall still followed this pattern, they just lost more weight during the week than those who remained the same or gained weight over the course of the study.
While just one small study cannot be applied to the population at large, it does allow some insight into normal weight patterns. It signifies that even though the scale is going up and down, over time, your overall weight can change.
You Ate Your Last Meal Later Than Usual
If you pushed dinner back later than normal, you might be seeing food mass on the scale the next morning. And if you keep a regular schedule, you’re likely accustomed to weighing yourself at a specific point in your digestion.
So you might simply be seeing your weight at a different stage in the digestive process.
You Upped Your Fibre Intake
Fibre is great for you. But if you up your fibre intake too quickly, it might take some time for your body to catch up and you might see that reflected on the scale.
More fibre will turn into a heavier, bulkier, waterier, and more massive bowel movements. This will hold onto water, also increasing weight.
As soon as you have that bowel movement, that weight will be shed, so this would not be true weight gain, such as fat or lean mass.
Your Period Is Coming Up
Right before Your periods, you hold onto water and gain weight, but it’s not always as simple as holding some extra water. Hormonal shifts can also compel women to reach for saltier foods, which may additionally result in excess water weight from increased sodium.
This isn’t any cause for alarm because once you get your period, the hormone shifts again. This leads you to shed that water weight, and the scale to come back down.
You Switched To Intermittent Fasting
There are plenty of studies that show the benefits of intermittent fasting. One such benefit is getting to consume larger meals, since the eating window is smaller. But if you just started eating this way and ate a bigger meal than usual, the scale could jump temporarily.
And while several factors on this list may be contributing weight gain, it could also be something you never considered.
The scale might jump from larger portions based on the sheer increase in blood volume from large meals. This increase can derive from two sources: water inherent in food and water retained as a result of excess sodium.
You Started New Medication
Some medications include potential side effects of weight gain. In most, it’s due to a change in hormones causing an increased appetite and consuming more calories causing true weight gain.
However, there are some medications, like steroids, that cause water retention resulting in what may seem like weight gain but is simply a fluctuation due to fluids in the body.
These fluctuations can be larger than those caused by diet based water retention, and may not resolve until you go off the meds. With this type of water retention you’ll likely feel the physical side effects in your extremities, puffy feet and hands.
Lack Of Physical Activity
A lack of exercise is a major factor in gaining weight overnight. During the night, your body makes use of the energy stores to repair damaged cells, build up new muscles, and replenish the body after physical activity.
But if you haven’t been doing any physical activity, all the excess calories in your body will simply be stored as fat, leading to weight gain. Make regular exercise a part of your daily life in order to get better quality sleep each night.
Late Night Snacks
We all know about the rule of not eating after 6 p.m. but it doesn’t stop us from late dinners or midnight snacks.
However, studies remind us that eating late leads to weight gain. Additionally, it may increase cholesterol, insulin levels, and negatively affect our hormonal markers.
Remember that if your calorie intake is much bigger than what you’re burning, it eventually leads to weight gain.
You Didn’t Sleep Well
A healthy amount of sleep is about 7-8 hours per night, but if it’s less than this on a daily basis, that’s when many health problems begin.
Studies have proven that there’s a link between sleep deprivation and negative changes in metabolism.
Another decisive factor might be that not having enough sleep leads to fatigue, less physical activity and more weight gain.
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