Why Weight Loss Isn't Linear

Why Weight Loss Isn’t Linear: The Truth About Our Fluctuating Weight

Did you know that we tend to gain and lose weight on a daily basis? The human body is fascinating in this way, but for fitness enthusiasts and those of you who are on a diet, this type of weight fluctuation can be very frustrating.

While weight loss seems like it should occur in a straight line, unfortunately, it doesn’t. Losing weight and building muscle is not an easy or neat process. Weight seems to fluctuate from day to day and week to week, which is why weight loss isn’t linear. One day your body may look and feel as though it’s on the right track and the next you feel like you’ve gained five pounds. There are times when your scale may indicate positive changes, but when you look in the mirror, you’re just not seeing it. So, why are you working so hard but you’re not seeing the results you’ve been struggling to achieve?

Our weight can fluctuate from day to day, depending on several factors such as:

  • Water weight
  • Dehydration
  • Eating a large meal
  • How many layers of clothes we’re wearing
  • Hormonal changes
  • Constipation

This is why weight loss is not linear. Your weight is constantly fluctuating, which can be stressful if you’re someone who weighs themselves daily. Considering there are so many factors that can impact our day to day weight, I recommend weighing yourself once a week and taking careful measurements once a month.

Now that you know why your weight can fluctuate so much on a day to day basis, continue reading to learn what you can do to track your weight loss and gains more accurately, and how you can stay motivated to keep working for that perfect body.

Weight Fluctuation

Why is it that our weight seems to fluctuate so much on a regular basis, or weight loss just doesn’t occur at all? There are several factors that come into play when it comes to how much you’ll weigh on a day to day basis when you’re looking for physical changes such as a decrease in inches.

To shed those unwanted pounds you’ll need to burn more calories than you eat. In order to stay at the same weight you’ll simply burn as many calories as you consume. Of course, in order to pack on the pounds you’ll have to consume more calories than you burn.

Weight Fluctuation

This means if you want to lose weight you have to create a calorie deficit and create a calorie surplus to gain. When it comes to building muscle and losing fat your macronutrient breakdown and workouts are what become the defining factors in terms of creating these types of changes.

However, even if you know you’re doing everything right, the chances are you’re still not going to see any consistent changes, or at least, not the changes that you would expect.

But don’t panic or drastically change your diet and workouts. There are several factors that come into play that can affect your weight gain and loss on a daily basis.

Fluid Retention

When it comes to daily weight fluctuation, fluid retention can play a big role, especially after you’ve eaten a particularly salty meal. A meal that’s high in salt can cause your body to retain water weight, which can add several pounds.

But don’t be alarmed if you’re feeling bloated or you end up weighing a lot more the morning after a cheat meal. Keep in mind that this type of weight is just temporary and that you’ll eventually lose this extra weight.


Food that’s not digested can also add extra weight, which is why most trainers recommend weighing yourself first thing in the morning, as opposed to at the end of the day.


If you’re constipated, then you can expect to weigh an extra pound or two, especially if you haven’t had a bowel movement in a couple of days.


A loss of fluid can cause you to lose weight, just like an increase in fluid can cause you to gain. The loss of fluids right after manual labor or a challenging workout are both very common. Unfortunately, this type of weight loss is only temporary. After working out, it’s very important to make sure you rehydrate yourself in order to boost your energy and avoid any weight discrepancies on the scale.


The clothes that you wear can add a few pounds, which is why you should always weigh yourself when you’re naked.

How Fast Can You Gain Weight?

How Fast Can You Gain Weight?

Have you ever had a few great meals over the weekend and wondered exactly how much weight you’ve gained? Is it possible to gain or lose a lot of weight in just a matter of a day or two? It is possible to lose or gain weight at a rapid rate, however, the pros recommend not trying to lose more than two pounds a week, otherwise, you’ll put yourself at risk of muscle loss. This type of muscle loss can be disproportionate and will lead to a loss of lean mass.

If you want to gain weight, it’s possible to gain more than a pound a week, but it’s not recommended since it’s unhealthy for your body to store too much fat at one time.

If you try to gain weight slowly, you’ll minimize the amount of fat you put back on and instead, you’ll end up putting on more lean muscle mass.

Stop Focusing on the Scale

Because our bodies change slightly from day to day due to the reasons we’ve discussed, our weight is constantly changing. But if you’ve been very strict about your diet and dedicated to working out every morning, like clockwork, then this type of weight fluctuation can be very frustrating and discouraging.

But if you want to keep your head in the game and make it to your fitness goals, then your first step is not paying so much attention to what the scale says. While it’s true that people that weigh themselves daily do end up having a lower risk of gaining all the weight they lost back, they’re also subjected to torture on a daily basis. I recommend only weighing yourself once a week. This will help you to adjust your workouts for each week, based on what the scale says, but it also prevents you from going overboard and obsessing about your gains or weight loss results.

Believing in the Process

Our bodies are like machines. If you follow a solid workout regimen and eat right, you’re going to reach your weight loss goals. So, don’t panic if your body doesn’t look the way it should right now. Losing weight and gaining muscle in all the right places is a lengthy process that can take several months to achieve. What’s important here is that you understand that it’s a process and that you keep the faith that if you keep going you’ll end up with the results you’ve been working so hard for.

Set Realistic Goals

There’s nothing wrong with pushing yourself to reach your fitness or weight loss goals, but again, you have to understand that achieving the perfect body is a process and not something that’s going to happen overnight or in a matter of weeks. Set smaller goals each week. If you still haven’t achieved those rock hard abs by the end of the week, it can make you feel discouraged and defeated, but if you managed to lose an inch or two, you can still celebrate your accomplishment. Setting smaller goals on a weekly basis will help to keep you motivated and can make getting fit more of a fun and challenging process instead of a hopeless one. Keep in mind that men usually gain around two pounds of muscle per month and women usually gain around half a pound up to one pound of lean muscle mass per month. With this in mind, set those smaller goals and focus more on your weekly accomplishments as opposed to the end goal.

Tracking Your Progress

Tracking Your Progress

When you’re trying to lose weight or gain muscle mass, it’s important that you track your progress, just closely enough to ensure you’re on the right path to meeting your goals.

As I discussed earlier, since weight loss is not linear, weighing yourself just once a week makes more sense since you won’t be constantly stressed over your daily fluctuating weight.

But weighing yourself on the scale really isn’t enough to track your progress, especially if you’re lifting weights. Instead of just weighing yourself, try also taking measurements. A loss of inches is often a much better indication of your progress as opposed to what the scale says.

You can take measurements weekly or monthly. When you take measurements, make sure you measure your arms both when they’re flexed and relaxed, your waist, shoulders, thighs when flexed and relaxed, calves, and your chest.

If you don’t want to measure everything, you should at least measure your waist.

Photographing Your Progress

Taking photos every week can also be a great way to measure your progress. Try taking photos in a variety of poses, then view last week’s photos to look for any changes.

Related Questions

Do Fat Burners Help With Weight Loss?

Not all fat burners work and some can cause a variety of unwanted side effects such as jitteriness, rapid heartbeat, and anxiety. But there are fat burners out there that can help to boost your energy so you can get the most out of each workout. The key is finding one that works for you. If you’d like to learn more about fat burners and a product that received pretty rave reviews from those in the fitness industry, then click here to read my Phen 375 review.

Can You Lose Weight Easier on a Vegan Diet?

This is a highly debated topic in the fitness industry. The answer is yes and no. Just like with a basic carnivore diet, the vegan diet consists of foods that are good for you and foods that can cause you to gain weight. As an example, a vegan can eat French fries, which are not exactly good for you. So, just like a traditional carnivore diet, if you want to lose weight, you’ll also need to follow a vegan diet that consists mainly of healthy food choices and no processed foods. Just because a food is labeled vegan doesn’t mean it’s healthy. To learn more, click here to read my article on can you get lean on a vegan diet ?

How Much Can You Gain in Water Weight?

Many people are surprised to learn that on average a person will gain anywhere from two pounds up to five pounds in water weight. But ultimately, you can gain as much as ten pounds.  Obviously, this can be alarming for anyone. Fortunately, water weight is only temporary. If you’re struggling to ditch the water weight, while it may sound counterproductive, drinking more water can actually help to flush out your system and help you to lose all that water weight much faster. So can working out or using a sauna. If you’re struggling with water weight often, you may also need to adjust your diet. A diet that’s high in sodium can cause your body to hang onto those extra pounds.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know why weight loss isn’t linear, you have a better idea of how to accurately track your fitness progress. Remember, the way we lose weight isn’t a neat process. Our weight changes on a daily basis, for a number of reasons, whether it’ fluid retention or hormonal changes. But by knowing how to track your progress the right way, you can stay on top of your fitness goals and achieve the perfect body you’ve been working so hard for.