why do we weigh less in the morning

Solving the mystery: Why do we weigh less in the morning?

February 7. 2022

During your weight loss journey and life in general, it takes time to stop looking at the numbers on the scale and start listening to your body and leaning on how you feel about yourself. But anyhow, does weighing yourself multiple times a day sound familiar? Everyone who has ever been overweight or struggled with being satisfied with his looks did it. You are not alone!

Seeing your weight fluctuate during the day can be devastating. When you step on that scale in the morning and see fewer pounds, you feel so motivated and happy only to weigh yourself later in the day and see you have “gained” it all back. But that increase in number has nothing to do with your actual weight. It’s about body processes you can’t control.

The numbers on the scale can be very frustrating, and you might wonder why do we all weigh less in the morning than the rest of the day, as well as which number is more reliable.

Types of weight

Your scale doesn’t know the difference between muscle weight and “fat” weight. It only shows you your overall weight, including water, fat, and muscle. When you’re losing weight, you want to lose fat and not muscle weight. If you struggle to lose fat weight, you can try some other methods that can trigger fat burning, such as lipo b and lipo c injections.

Also, if you’re working out, you’re gaining muscle, which can have you tap in place with your number on the scale or even show a bigger number. This is just the right example of why a number on the scale shouldn’t be taken as a criterion. Your physical appearance is a better representative of your progress. People who look at the number on the scale as a sole indicator of their progress often slide into extremely unhealthy fad diets.

But one major cause of daily weight fluctuation is water weight. Water makes 50-60% of your total body weight, so you can already guess – drinking more water during the day can show a bigger number on the scale in the evening. That’s also why we do weigh less in the morning because, during sleep, our body is almost dehydrated.

After 7-8 hours of sleep, your body is empty of food and excess fluids. While you sleep, your digestive system digests all the food intake during the day, and your kidneys filter all the fluids. After you urinate and defecate in the morning, your body appears lighter on the scale. So yes, you do weigh less in the morning. But once you start eating and drinking, healthy or unhealthy, it appears the lost weight “returns.”

How often should you weigh yourself?

Weighing yourself multiple times a day is unnecessary and can only harm your focus and drive to lose weight. Fluctuation in weight is normal because it depends on how much you drank and ate, but also your hormones. 

Burning calories during a physical activity won’t instantly make you lose fat and weight, so don’t weigh yourself before and after a workout as it won’t make any difference.

There are two different patterns of weighing yourself: daily and weekly. Weighing yourself daily increases your self-monitoring and holding yourself accountable. This way, you have more realistic feedback on your weight than weighing yourself multiple times a day. Weighing yourself on a weekly basis is, let’s say, challenging. It mostly depends on your determination and tendency to slip up with your eating pattern. By weighing yourself a couple of times a week, you see changes slower, so you can easily get demotivated and discouraged. You can quickly get into the mindset that until the next weigh-in, you’ll have time to make up for and accumulate a skipped workout or a couple of cheat meals.

So, choosing between these patients should be up to you. Daily weighing ensures more discipline. But if you find yourself obsessing about your progress, you should maybe take a break. Or make a pattern of your own that suits you! But after all, you don’t necessarily need to choose between these two; you can weigh yourself every other day. 

How to weigh yourself properly

Whichever pattern of weighing you choose, it is equally important to do it properly. So how do you do it?

Firstly, make sure your scale is calibrated correctly. Then, when weighing yourself, try to be consistent and weigh yourself at the same time. If the number you see is important for your mental health, you should do it in the morning as you do weigh less then. If you choose to do it in the morning, make sure you always follow the same routine-empty your bladder and have a bowel movement. Also, you can do it without wearing any clothes as they can also affect the numbers on the scale, or choose some lightweight clothing.

At some point, you will realize that weight may not always be an accurate indicator that you’re making progress. Instead of focusing on the numbers on the scale, try measuring your body with a tape measure. It is well known that a pound of muscle has less volume than a pound of fat. And as we said, the scale doesn’t know the difference between the two. You can contact any weight loss clinic to learn how to measure yourself correctly. And you should always write down your measurements so you can track how much you’ve lost.

Why can weight fluctuate

Water: As we mentioned above, water makes up more than half of your body weight, so any fluids you add to your body can add weight. Even the fluids you sweat out during your workout get immediately replaced after you drink water (but it doesn’t cause long term gain).

Medication: because it can affect your metabolism, appetite, or water retention.

Alcohol:  because it slows down digestion and takes more time to eliminate it from the body.

Food: Heavy meals can also add weight; foods rich in sodium and carbohydrates cause more water retention, making you feel bloated and heavier. You can check fasting-mimicking diet recipes if you want to avoid those types of food.

Urine and stool: because constipation and holding it in can add several pounds.

Menstrual cycle: because you retain more water during certain parts of your cycle, so you feel heavier on the first days of your period.

Final thoughts

So, there are several factors of why we actually do weigh less in the morning, and those are: we haven’t been eating or drinking for several hours, in the morning we get rid of everything your body digested while we were asleep, and because of weight fluctuation that happens throughout the whole day.

If you need any help tracking your progress and going through your goals, feel free to get in touch with us and schedule your call anytime!

Nurse Walton


Nurse Walton

Born and raised in Chicago, IL, Chanay received her Practical Nurse licensure and went to work in clinical specialties such as Home Health, Assisted Living, Long-Term Care and Dialysis Centers. Through this work, she realized the importance of diet, nutrition and weight loss among her patients. This led her to open A Better Weigh, Inc. Medical Weight Loss Center in 2009.

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