The Science of Scale Fluctuations (cont.)

(This is a continuation of the first part. You can find it here.)

Weight Loss isn’t Linear

Like I stated before there are so many ways you can change the course of your weigh-ins. Unless you eat the exact same thing every day and do the exact same things, in the same city, and moving at the same pace, you are going to land at a different point from day to day.

If looking for change then you have to watch the overall pattern to understand where you are really falling. That is of course, if you think the scale should matter in the first place. That is a different story though isn’t it?

The problem is that weight loss isn’t linear. Fat loss has shown to be more linear, but weight loss isn’t at all. What this means is that weight loss hardly ever has constant downward progression. There are usually two main determining factors for this.

1-Body fat percentage

2-Severity of Deficit

If you provide the same percentage of deficit for a male at 29% body fat and a male at 12% body fat you are going to see a much faster rate of weight loss for the male with larger body fat. Larger bodies store more water along with their fat mass and muscle mass. As you increase in fat and muscle you will also increase at a steady rate with water. This is why we can see someone just increase so fast in the scales as the weight comes on.

You don’t normally gain 6 pounds of fat when you go up 6 pounds on the scale. Depending on your body’s setup you can gain 2 pounds of fat and 4 pounds of water. Therefore the reverse is also true.

With deficit severity if you provided 2 females at 30% body fat with the exact same deficit they will, on average, lose at roughly the same rate. If you put one at a more extreme deficit, at least initially, the one with the large deficit is going to lose more excess water and more linear on the scale, at least in the beginning.

Larger deficits can bring stalls or plateaus at a quicker pace and since re-feeds and breaks are needed to help aid that, you will gain back the water you lost. Still, depending on how severe the diet and the situation, majority of the time a more severe deficit (>800) is going to provide more linear results.

The “Whoosh” Factor

The “whoosh” is when you are watching your weight day in and out and there is little to small changes even with big deficits. One day, out of nowhere, the scale will drop dramatically lower than it had been registering. This is known as a whoosh.

The “whoosh” could be any number of factors and no one knows for sure. One idea, and the one that makes the most sense, is that as fat cells empty, they refill with water. After a certain point and time, under unknown conditions, these cells alleviate the water and the “whoosh” is born.

The exact trigger that brings about this is unknown. Some hypothesize that it is much like water and carb loading. The body had loaded that area with stored fat, the fat leaves but the body isn’t sure yet that these areas don’t need to stay big and open for storage. So to protect itself it fills with water and doesn’t extract until it is sure that all systems are a go.

There has been a lot of correlations with re-feeds and whooshes, there has also been a lot of experiments with trying to time whooshes. I myself have found them to be hit and miss. The best method thus far is in the Water Manual in the section of “Method: Water-Only Manipulation.” It appears thus far using this method is best at triggering the whoosh and that even with the weight regain that is sure to follow after depletion, the overall trend is down.

For those of you who own the book and want to give it a shot if you feel you are retaining feel free to report to me your results. If you desire to have the manual you get it with the Fat Loss Troubleshoot package.

I will say that in order to see constant steady drops maintaining an adequate intake of minerals is key. With the right vitamins and electrolyte drinks I have found that you run into less stalls, therefore running into less whooshes.

The missing pounds

In this last section I want you to pull together all the information you have to understand how you can lose pounds of fat, but never see them on the scale.

Below I am going to write out 3 different scenarios. I will tell you my conclusion at the end, but it is up to you to figure it out on your own first what the problem is. I used to do this all the time in my “What did they do wrong” series. Perhaps I should bring it back?

Case# 1 – Bob

Bob is 5’8, 270, and 39% body fat. He has an average daily deficit of 20%. On weekdays he hits lower numbers than on weekends, putting him in a bounce situation with his numbers. In the beginning he saw more linear loss but has been stuck at the same weight for 4 weeks now. What could be a logical reason for Bob weighing the same?

Case#2 – Jane

Jane is 5’4, 131, body fat unknown. Jane teaches an aerobics class every night at her gym. She has been struggling for years to lose her final few pounds of body fat. Over the past 8 week Jane started to a lifting program and is really progressing in her weights. Jane basically eats the same thing everyday so she knows it isn’t her food intake causing the stall. She barely sees any movement on the scale and it has stayed basically the same for 7 weeks now. 7 weeks is way too long, what is wrong here?

Case#3 – Carol

Carol has been dieting for 12  weeks. She is 5’7 and 244 pounds. She has been eating 5-6 meals a day, training 4 times a week, and following a food point systems. She start at week 1 at 240 pounds. She is up 4 pounds. What is wrong?

The answers:

Case#1 – Bob

Bob just isn’t in that large of a deficit. 20% overall can mean little visual scale loss, especially if on the weekends he is eating higher sodium filled foods, which is very common.

Case#2 – Jane

The average woman with effort and newbie gains can gain approximately ½ pound of muscle a week. That rate can be faster in a beginner especially. Also remember with increased training that means increase in glycogen storage. So it would seem that Jane is actually doing very well to be staying the same weight instead of increasing. It is likely or at least very possible that Jane put on a few pounds of muscle and water, and dropped some body fat. We also have to take into account her already lean level which will increase her chance for muscle gains and body fat loss at the same time.

Case#3 – Carol

Carol is likely eating too much. She is also not tracking her food intake diligently. On top of that, the more aggressive the training on obese individuals the worse they are going to retain water. If she is new to training she could have added a little muscle as well. If carol targeted her intake better and hit a more aggressive deficit she would likely start to see the scale move.

So, how did you do? Did you master the logic of scale fluctuations?

Before starting any new diet and exercise program please check with your doctor and clear any exercise and/or diet changes with them before beginning. I am not a doctor or registered dietitian. I do not claim to cure any cause, condition or disease. I do not provide medical aid or nutrition for the purpose of health or disease and claim to be a doctor or dietitian. This is merely an opinion blog. Read full disclaimer here -