Of course, your weight varies throughout the day. Your weight is different morning/evening, before/after eating, and so on. Naturally if you are tracking your weight, you should measure your weight at exactly the same time each day.

However, out of curiosity, I have found variations as high as 2 or even more kilograms. (Call it 2% to 3%.)

Does anyone have any specific information on the normal or usual weight variation through the 24 hours of day? Is "two or three kilograms" just wildly too much?

I realise that "extreme weight managers" such as boxers, bodybuilders and so on can deliberately vary their weight by huge amounts in a day or less. However what I am asking about here is the normal variation for a typical person, eating and drinking normally, perhaps doing an hour of aerobic exercise a day.

Anyway - in normal life is a weight variation as high as 2-3 kg per day, unusual? What's the norm?

  • 1
    I wouldn't worry about it too much. I do the same routine everyday and randomly weigh between 140 and 150 lbs at the same time of day.
    – Nick
    Jul 23 '11 at 18:50
  • I removed a huge bit below the main part of the question. This information wasn't related to your question and might only lead to off topic discussion.
    – Baarn
    Jan 17 '13 at 21:19

That's within the normal variance. Several things can contribute to the higher number on the scale including, but not limited to:

  • Water retention
  • Undigested food in the stomach (fresh after a banquet)
  • Mild allergic reaction to food
  • For women: menstruation
  • mild fat gain
  • building muscle (while sleeping)
  • feces yet to be expelled

So here's the deal, just because the scale shows a higher number than normal doesn't mean you have gained all that as fat. In fact you might have a couple things working together to give you that 2-4kg swing from morning till evening. Yet, by morning your body has been able to process the undigested food, deal with the mild allergic reaction, build new muscle, etc. As a result the inflated number goes back down.

I think the most common reason for scale swings throughout the day is the different levels of water retention. After a day of insufficient hydration and a lot of salty foods, I'm more bloated than after a day of plenty of water and more sane food choices.

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    Don't forget to include error rate of the scale itself. I've put my weights on the scale and they've managed to gain and lose weight on different days. Jul 18 '11 at 16:57
  • @Joe I still don't trust it. :) I've used many supposedly "good" electric scales and their calibration routines just don't seem to work for large weights. I do have pretty good confidence in my 1 kg scale, but that doesn't do me much good. Jul 18 '11 at 19:48
  • Hi @Chris -- absolutely agree. I am getting probably the best electric scale, other than commercial scales (ie for weighing pallets, etc). It is not here yet - I'll give you a report on it. Note that the one I'm getting is a "single point" scale which makes all the difference - but still! If you're in the USA you can actually buy a REAL scale relatively cheaply ... amazon.com/Seca-700-Physicians-Balance-Height/dp/B001394XE6 - but of course you need the room for it. basically anyone who can, should buy a real (beam) scale. The electric ones are crap and fall apart anyway!!!!
    – Fattie
    Jul 18 '11 at 20:26
  • @Berin, I am also interested in this allergic reaction to food. This is something new for me. Jul 19 '11 at 3:24
  • I have a friend who can't process certain types of foods. It's not a common ailment, and I can't remember the medical name for it. The bottom line is that when she has foods that she can't process, her body responds by getting bloated. It's not a violent allergic reaction where she would need to get epinephrin shots like someone who is allergic to peanuts would. However, it is enough to cause some temporary weight gain until that food is out of her system. Jul 19 '11 at 13:13

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