Do weight changes translate into fat loss?
On a day to day basis a scale is an extremely poor tool for giving you information on changes in bodyfat levels which are very small. Daily weight changes are mostly accounted for by four factors: bowel movements, urination, starch and sugar intake, and blood volume. Since your blood volume typically does NOT vary that much the other factors are more relevant.
Bowel Movements and Urination vary a lot between different people anywhere from 1.3lbs to 5.7lbs in a single day. This is one of the reasons to consistently weight yourself after you wake up and go to the bathroom and before you eat or drink much.
However, the biggee when it comes to daily weight fluctuation, is usually glycogen storage levels. Glycogen is just the storage form of glucose aka blood sugar. All starch and sugar ultimately end up as glucose, glycogen or fat.
For example, on the front end of a low carb diet you will show big weight loss which is almost all water because you store glucose/glycogen with water – hence the term carbo “Hydrate”. Muscle and organs contain the highest levels of water, and this is significant because most of your bodyweight comes from muscles and organs.
So daily changes in weight are NOT a good reflection in changes in bodyfat levels!
Can daily weighing help with long-term weight loss and fat loss?
In order to answer this question let’s review the scientific studies that have looked at this issue. The recent advent of WIFI scales is allowing much more accurate weight records because prior to that people had to take the time to write down their weight each day.
In a recent WIFI scale study called the Weight Trial here were the results:
Over a six-month period, those who weighed daily lost about 13 lbs more than the control group.
Even those who weighed themselves up to five times each week lost less weight than the daily weighers.
Daily Weighers were more likely to do things like eating less food and watching less television so clearly the weighing helped by changing behaviors!
Although this study did not measure body fat, it is quite likely that the body weight loss did translate into significant fat loss.
For certain groups, daily weighing is a bad idea such as people with eating disorders and other psychological disorders including extremely low self-esteem. In addition, daily weighing does not work for everyone. For some people the inevitable plateaus or variations in weight loss can very frustrated and quit the whole process!
So daily weighing may be helpful for you, but it is not perfect and it does not accurately measure changes in bodyfat levels so it is important to do use some method of body composition testing to measure these changes which should be your ultimate goal!