Weight loss patterns - drop, stop and roller coaster

Options
Disclaimer: I am very happy with the progress I've made, but I'm just curious to know what is happening in this body of mine.

Although I've very consistently hit my target calories and burned a similar amount of calories every day, I've noticed that my weight loss tends to follow a particular pattern: I'll get to a low point in my weight, stall there for a day, then for the next 3-5 days, I'll be on a roller coaster of 1-2 lbs above my lowest weight, and then all of a sudden I'll get on the scale and have dropped a lb or more below my previous lowest point. This same pattern has repeated for about the last 8 weeks.

I understand that this is why most people recommend that you don't weigh yourself every day, because it can be frustrating and discouraging. It doesn't really bother me that much because I realize I'm still losing at a very consistent rate weekly. But would anyone mind providing a scientific explanation of what is happening?

Also, does anyone else notice a consistent pattern in their weight loss like this?
«13

Replies

  • Branstin
    Branstin Posts: 2,320 Member
    Options
    Since there are many reasons for weight fluctuation like lack of sleep, water, bowels, hormones, etc., each one may have to be researched separately.
  • NumbrsNerd
    NumbrsNerd Posts: 202 Member
    Options
    This happens to me too. For me, it's hormonal. Typically, I show losses on days 5 - 15 or so of my cycle. Once I ovulate, I jump up in lbs and climb back up (sometimes up to 8 lbs or so) and hang out there until a day or so until AF is gone. Drop and back up, drop and back up.

    I once charted my losses for months and saw that almost every time I had a drop, I bounced back up a little the very next day.

    It's frustrating!

    By I do agree with Branstin, there are A LOT of possible reasons: sleep, hydration, bowel regularity, hormones - all possible suspects.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,868 Member
    Options
    Those are called natural body weight fluctuations and are as a result of water retention/release, timing of food and beverage in/out, more or less waste in your system, etc. That is why everyone says weight loss isn't linear...when you get to maintenance you will also find that your body weight isn't static and you will have a range of weight due to the above factors among other things.

    I've been maintaining for a year now and my weight can swing 3-5 Lbs day to day. Example, on Monday morning I was 186.4...Tuesday I was 182.3 and this morning I'm 183.1. My average over 12 months is right around 183 Lbs which is what I consider my "true" weight to be.

    Regardless of your weight control goals, you have to view things as a general trend, not a linear function...which is difficult because most of use tend to be linear thinkers.
  • Qarol
    Qarol Posts: 6,171 Member
    Options
    Speaking of averages, I take the weekly average of my daily weigh ins. It helps me account for those fluctuations and not be so bothered.
  • Aaron_K123
    Aaron_K123 Posts: 7,122 Member
    Options
    I weigh myself daily and after having watched my scale weight for two months and graphing it it looks like a rhythmic heartbeat going up and down in a steady beat. Its almost like I have a weekly cycle which is odd. I assume it has something to do with my exercise routine but there is definitely a pattern of highs and lows during the week.

    Similar disclaimer that this doesn't bother me its just interesting.

    EDIT: here is a picture

    dwuzjd.jpg
  • aserranzana16
    aserranzana16 Posts: 43 Member
    Options
    The hormonal thing is interesting - I never thought about that...
  • aserranzana16
    aserranzana16 Posts: 43 Member
    Options
    Aaron_K123 - I bet if I charted my weight loss, it'd look somewhat similar. Maybe I'll try doing that to see if I can pinpoint anything in my diet or exercise that may contribute. Again, not that it matters in the long run, because I'm still steadily losing overall, but I'm fascinated by how our bodies deal with weight loss.
  • medusa211
    medusa211 Posts: 8 Member
    Options
    Daily weigh-ins are tricky.. They can be very discouraging when you get stuck on the numbers.. Weight can be from water retention, hormone-related, the amount of sodium in your food, food allergies..etc. I think a once a week weigh-in regimen might put your mind at ease:smile:
  • krawhitham
    krawhitham Posts: 831 Member
    Options
    Ooh Me!

    I get plenty of sleep, stay well hydrated every day and I'm consistent with my food intake. I exercise almost every day.

    I'll stay the same weight or go up 3 lbs after a loss. Then, 3-4 weeks later, I'll be a whole lb down! For example, last month I got to 158 lbs. For the last 3 weeks I've been 161 lbs almost every day. In about a week or so, I will be seeing 157 on the scale.

    It just happens like that for me. I started at 172, and it has been this way the entire way. The week of my period I go UP about 5 lbs! So this month during my period I was about 163 for 4-5 days straight, and then dropped back to 159-160. But, since I'm consistent and keeping up the good work, I expect to see 157 shortly :)

    Slooooow and steady...
  • Tanya949
    Tanya949 Posts: 606 Member
    Options
    I weigh every day, knowing that there will be ups and downs. I do not freak out about the ups after a down. I find it really interesting to see the daily fluctuations as I try to estimate what my next weight will be. After 2 months, I estimate correctly more often than not, I see a really predictable pattern emerging. And I almost always hit a new low on Saturdays.
  • aserranzana16
    aserranzana16 Posts: 43 Member
    Options
    Daily weigh-ins are tricky.. They can be very discouraging when you get stuck on the numbers.. Weight can be from water retention, hormone-related, the amount of sodium in your food, food allergies..etc. I think a once a week weigh-in regimen might put your mind at ease:smile:

    Yeah, I've considered moving to weekly weigh-ins. It's difficult though - I've got a compulsive streak in me that needs to step on the scale every day...I just have to keep reminding myself that it's the overall weight loss that matters.
  • aserranzana16
    aserranzana16 Posts: 43 Member
    Options
    Ooh Me!

    I get plenty of sleep, stay well hydrated every day and I'm consistent with my food intake. I exercise almost every day.

    I'll stay the same weight or go up 3 lbs after a loss. Then, 3-4 weeks later, I'll be a whole lb down! For example, last month I got to 158 lbs. For the last 3 weeks I've been 161 lbs almost every day. In about a week or so, I will be seeing 157 on the scale.

    It just happens like that for me. I started at 172, and it has been this way the entire way. The week of my period I go UP about 5 lbs! So this month during my period I was about 163 for 4-5 days straight, and then dropped back to 159-160. But, since I'm consistent and keeping up the good work, I expect to see 157 shortly :)

    Slooooow and steady...

    Slow and steady is right! I remember the first time this happened, after the first couple of weeks of really rapid, consistent weight loss. I started talking plateau after 3 days and cutting back drastically on my calories. Then it happened two more times and I realized that I can't take dramatic action every time the scale stalls or goes back up. That's why I'm trying to learn more about how the body deals with weight loss so that I DON'T do stupid stuff that could potentially hurt me or derail the healthy habits I'm trying to establish.

    It sounds like you've already got it! I'm trying to develop that healthy of a mindset.
  • aserranzana16
    aserranzana16 Posts: 43 Member
    Options
    I weigh every day, knowing that there will be ups and downs. I do not freak out about the ups after a down. I find it really interesting to see the daily fluctuations as I try to estimate what my next weight will be. After 2 months, I estimate correctly more often than not, I see a really predictable pattern emerging. And I almost always hit a new low on Saturdays.

    Yup, I'm really hoping to see a big drop in a couple of days!
  • kelly_e_montana
    kelly_e_montana Posts: 1,999 Member
    Options
    Yep, I'm like that. I will take a big drop to my lowest point right after my period, go up for no reason about 2-3 pounds in the next few days, lose another pound over the month to be just higher than the post-period weight, go up five pounds around my period and then take another drop that takes me 2 pounds below where I was after the previous period. It's pretty crazy but really consistent for me.
  • asciiqwerty
    asciiqwerty Posts: 565 Member
    Options
    weekly excercise cycles
    monthly lady cycles
    weekly eating habit cycles
    dauly sleep cycles

    >> weight loss is not linear

    if you log your weight in mfp, it charts your weight for you
    http://www.myfitnesspal.com/reports

    it will still have fluctuations if you weigh weekly too
  • Aaron_K123
    Aaron_K123 Posts: 7,122 Member
    Options
    >> weight loss is not linear

    If you log for long enough and are consistent enough in your diet it actually ends up being pretty linear at least in my experience. But yeah on the short term scale of a month it bounces up and down like crazy. Linearity is certainly the best approximation for a curvefit to the data that will yield a prediction of future result.
  • aserranzana16
    aserranzana16 Posts: 43 Member
    Options
    Yep, I'm like that. I will take a big drop to my lowest point right after my period, go up for no reason about 2-3 pounds in the next few days, lose another pound over the month to be just higher than the post-period weight, go up five pounds around my period and then take another drop that takes me 2 pounds below where I was after the previous period. It's pretty crazy but really consistent for me.

    I just took a look back at mfp weight chart and it looks like I am following a similar pattern with regard to my period, I just wasn't aware of it. This is great to know - now I'll be mentally prepared to see my number go up!
  • riffraff2112
    riffraff2112 Posts: 1,757 Member
    Options
    The pattern you describe is exactly what happens to me. I am a 46 yr old male, and the best I can figure out, I tend to gain weight the day after intense cardio or weight training. Most likely all the water I retain, repairing the muscle damage that was done (I try to drink a lot of water when I am working hard!)...and then usually a day or two later, my weight drops down to a new low.
    Almost exactly as you described.
    You have the right frame of mind not to get too upset with day to day totals cause they are dictated more by things that we do not have control over.
    I too weigh myself often (sometimes 3 times a day) and record everything fanatically because I think the more information i have , the better able I will be to fine tune training, nutrition and resting.
    Good question and plenty of great answers here!
  • Aaron_K123
    Aaron_K123 Posts: 7,122 Member
    Options
    I do think the more data you collect and the longer you log for the more you can start seeing patterns arise from the noise and the more you can accurately predict what your body will do next. Looking at the graph of my weight over the last two months I'm expecting my weight to drop tomorrow which would put me at a new low. Now I just get to wait and see if that's right. Even if its not right its just more data point which will aid in better predictions later on.
  • aserranzana16
    aserranzana16 Posts: 43 Member
    Options
    I do feel like the more I know about patterns and what to expect, the less I stress over fluctuations.