Water Weight Gain - STOP PANICKING!

I see a lot of panicked posts from people fretting about a sudden jump on the scale. Usually, it's " Help! I went on vacation and gained 15 pounds!" Or, "Help! I had a crazy weekend and gained 4 pounds!" Or, my personal favorite, "Help! I ate a piece of bread and gained 1.27 pounds!"

The replies always try to assure the OP that it is water weight/natural fluctuations and will go away. There are so many causes of water and fluid retention, but really, any sudden jump on the scale is not likely to be fat gain.

I wanted to share an example of multiple combined factors that I recently experienced. This is a little extreme, but here goes:

I maintain my weight between 125-130. Before leaving for a week-long vacation, I weighed myself at 126. After my trip, I weighed myself at 136. Did I really gain 10 pounds of fat in 7 days? Unless I ate 35,000 calories above my maintenance for the week, then no. Here were the main factors for water and fluid retention in my case:

-Air travel: 6 hours of flying each way.
-Eating out at restaurants: Sodium and carb-heavy foods, alcohol.
-Increased exercise: Strenuous mountain hikes.
-Injury: Got flipped out of a raft into whitewater and slammed against rocks. Bruising and swelling.
-Dehydration: Was probably not drinking enough water for the amount of activity.

So, after returning from the trip, I got back to my regular eating habits, rested, and drank a ton of water. The 10 pounds was gone a week later.

Anyone else have water weight gain examples that can help convince people not to obsess over every pound on the scale?


  • Jdismybug1
    Jdismybug1 Posts: 443 Member
    Not drinking enough water. I didn't drink nearly as much water as I usually do, come Monday morning I look about the same but the scale hates me.
  • daltontf
    daltontf Posts: 63 Member
    I gained 4 lbs. during weekend before and through the 4th of July. Dropped 3.8 of them in two days afterwards.
  • try2again
    try2again Posts: 3,564 Member
    Nice post- hope it will be seen. Another issue I see is many simply don't understand that fluctuating water weight is normal and has nothing to do with a person's body fat or weight loss efforts. You can explain the various reasons the body retains more water for a bit and the next question is often, "How do I fix it?" (The answer: You don't. It goes away by itself... until it goes back up for some reason.)
  • tinkerbellang83
    tinkerbellang83 Posts: 9,057 Member
    I gain water weight almost every weekend, why? because that's when I indulge in higher sodium food and occasionally alcohol, it's also when I do the most walking. Come Tuesday it's gone :smile:
  • MommyMeggo
    MommyMeggo Posts: 1,222 Member
    "Anyone else have water weight gain examples that can help convince people not to obsess over every pound on the scale?"

  • msdemmie
    msdemmie Posts: 14 Member
    Unfortunately the scale number controls my dietician. My current panic .. after three weeks of getting my my exercise up to speed and regular and all food weighed, calories consistently under budget ( under 1200 ) and a nice steady loss, I appear according the the chemists scales which I use once a week to make sure I am on track, report a weight gain of 3 kilos in one week. 24 hours into an ear infection antibiotics would not cause this surely ? So I am guessing the chemist needs his scales recalibrating ..... I take a blood pressure pill along with a diuretic , so that should take care of any excess water yes ? Any insights welcome ...... and will open up my diary so that it can be seen should that help.
  • msdemmie
    msdemmie Posts: 14 Member
    PAV8888 wrote: »
    msdemmie wrote: »
    Unfortunately the scale number controls my dietician.

    If your dietitian is looking at your scale number as a trend and in context, then carry on with this fine dietitian.

    If your dietitian is making diet changes based on a female's once weekly scale number measured at a chemist's... get a new dietitian because she obviously does not understand why and how weight varies in humans.

    Have only seen her once, hoping she is the former not the latter. She has emphasised the need for downward trend , mainly by marker pen as the whole appointment was in Portuguese as she spoke no English - there could be room for translation error. Also think she was a bit taken aback by my use of MFP , think she felt left out of her job somewhat.
  • msdemmie
    msdemmie Posts: 14 Member

    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    Speculating: The infection itself might cause some temporary water weight, via inflammation/immune response. For sure, I wouldn't panic until at least a week after that's all cleared up.

    I could understand some change/reaction.... 3 kilos eradicating three weeks hard slog for me seems a bit excessive and incredibly demoralising.

  • boredloser
    boredloser Posts: 119 Member
    There was a thread yesterday and the op was wondering why they had gained 5lbs when they weighed themselves right after eating and drinking about 5lbs worth of food and booze.