Posted by: Joe English | August 19, 2011

Training — Why Does Your Body Weight Fluctuate When Running?

running-advice-bugWe have a good reader question today from Ashley about body weight fluctuations. While Ashley has recently lost a lot of weight, the question has broader application to everyone out there. Let’s start with the question:

“I had a question that I am sure is common but I want to make sure! I had weight loss surgery 1/7/10 (LapBand) and have lost 70 pounds. I have always been active with things such as spinning, kickboxing, running, etc. When I run, it is usually 1-2 times per week for distance and 1-2 times per week with interval(2 mins brisk walk, 1 minute sprinting for a total of 18-24 minutes). When I run for distance it is usually 2-2.5 miles. I recently started practicing for a 5K, which is not much more than what I usually run, but it seems my weight has gone up 2-3 pounds in one day. Is this common? I am just concerned because it is not as though I have just started running, as many people with questions have stated. Of course after having lost 70 out of my 75-80 pounds that I want to lose to be at my goal, I don’t want to go in the opposite direction. I started lifting 3 times per week on July 4th as well, could this also be part of the gain? I have been racking my brain for the last two months because my weight is fluctuating so much and I’m trying to find the culprit.”

First, good job Ashley on the weight loss accomplishment. The main thing to remember is that your weight is an indicator of your overall health. By losing this weight, you have eased the burden on your heart, your joints and your muscles. All of these are good things for your body that will help you a longer and more healthful life.

When it comes to weight fluctuations, there are usually two factors in play. The first is the amount of fluid in your body and this increases and decreases throughout your day. We all instinctively know that we lose fluid through sweat when we exercise, which has an impact on our weight. But we also increase out weight throughout the day as we drink fluid. Fluid is heavy and as we go along through the day drinking water and coffee and other beverages, not to mention eating, our weight does tend to increase a bit. Our body weight can also be impacted by things like going to the bathroom in the morning and (of course) what we’re wearing when we weigh ourselves. It isn’t uncommon for body weight to move 1-3 pounds in any given day, depending on your weight and these other factors. Keep this in mind as I make some recommendations below on how and when to weight yourself.

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