There comes a time in our lives (or more) when we realize that we have gained weight.
At first, we lose easily, but then the scales seem to "stuck".
What is going wrong?
1. Hydration: Water plays an important role in our lives. Poor hydration can cause the scale number to increase.
Intake of fluids and electrolytes have a positive effect on our weight. We can set a daily water intake goal and we can reach this goal by having a bottle of water always by our side or putting a reminder on our mobile phone, at regular intervals. It is also good to improve the balance of electrolytes in our body -by avoiding sea salt and by using pink Himalayan salt (which often contains higher levels of electrolytes such as potassium, magnesium, etc.).
2. Sleep and anxiety: Sleep and stress have one thing in common - they both increase cortisol, which not only raises blood sugar levels (makes us hungrier) but also promotes a hormone called ADH, which regulates fluid retention (making us keep more water weight). Make sleep your priority and take care of its quality. An hour before bedtime, turn off any form of artificial light, sleep in a dark room and (if possible), before 10 pm.
Studies have shown that sleeping between 3 and 5 am and pm is the most important and most beneficial time for our body because during that time the brain really rests. When it comes to stress, taking a few deep breaths, meditating, reading a book, and planning for the day ahead can be greatly reduce it. The most important thing is to stop worrying about the future and stop living in the past.
3. Hormones (for women). "This time of month" results in the rapid depletion of hormones such as estrogen and progesterone, which affect water retention, while also increases a chemical in the body called prostaglandins, which affects digestion (we feel bloated).
Many of these symptoms are inevitable, but they can be reduced by avoiding caffeine and food that cause stomach upsets.
Why should we not discourage ourselves and give up?
The answer to this question is very simple!
The common denominator in all of the above, is fluid retention. In other words, the increased number on the scale, results from the weight of water in our body.
We do not need to follow a strict diet, nor to "sweat as never before" on the treadmill, because this number is not fat.
Should we trust scale numbers for tracking our progress? The scale shows us a number but it can not figure out if this number represents fat, muscle mass, body fluids. We should not trust the common scales. There is also the conviction that, gym or pharmacy scales are the most trusted and valid. Many people have weighed themselves on these scales and their springs have loosened. This leads to incorrect and untrusted numbers.
The safest way to understand, if we have lost fat (because that is what we aim when we are on deficit) is to measure with a tape measure on specific parts of the body, to take pictures at regular basis and to measure ourselves on a professional scale that our nutritionist or dietician has.
Tania L. ISSA Certified Nutritionist ISSA Personal Trainer.