Q&A: Are short-term weight fluctuations normal?

Consumer Reports News: August 21, 2009 08:38 AM

My weight often goes up by a few pounds over the course of a day. Is that normal? —C.C., Saskatoon, Saskatchewan 

Yes. A person’s weight can fluctuate by several pounds a day depending on what they’ve eaten or had to drink, how active they are, how many times they’ve gone to the bathroom, and how much salt they’ve ingested. Anytime you consume more calories than you burn in a given 24-hour period, you’ll gain; anytime the opposite happens, you’ll lose. Even small amounts of food and drink can cause short-term weight increases, while the fluid lost during a sweaty session of exercise can temporarily reduce your weight. More important than monitoring those daily fluctuations is maintaining a healthy weight over time, ideally by eating a balanced diet and getting plenty of exercise.

Finding out why cutting fat doesn't always lead to weight loss, take a look at 10 perks of exercise you might not be aware of, and see the evidence for exercise and a low-calorie diet (subscribers only) for fighting obesity.


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