If you’ve been steadily losing weight for a long time, the chances are good that you’re not gaining it back overnight. More likely, you’re simply experiencing a slow pace of progress or eating nearly as many calories as you’re burning, which can make it difficult to notice any positive results.
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If your pace of weight loss has been slow — for example, if you’ve lost about 5 lbs. in 12 weeks — then any weight gain you experience may be immediately evident. You can step on the scale in the morning and see that you weigh a couple pounds more than you did several days ago, but according to FitSugar.com, weight fluctuation of up to a pound or slightly more is normal even throughout the course of a day.
Are you dehydrated? If so, that can make it seem as if you’re gaining weight overnight. Eating a lot of salty foods or getting too little water on an everyday basis will encourage your body to retain fluids, which can add a couple pounds or more to your weight. In addition, Dr. Melina Jampolis of CNN.com says that being even 1 percent dehydrated can cause your metabolism to drop enough to interfere with steady weight-loss progress.
If you’ve recently changed your eating patterns or you tend to splurge in what you eat at night, those extra calories can show up on the scale in the morning. Combined with water weight, it’s possible to see a difference of several pounds within the span of several days. Keep in mind that you need to consume 3,500 extra calories on top of what you burn to gain a pound, which may seem like a lot, but it’s not a hard number to reach if you eat a lot of dessert or high-calorie snacks. Curb that snacking by stocking your house with natural, low-calorie and nutritious options.
Rarely, people experience a nighttime eating condition known as a sleep-related eating disorder, or SRED. During a SRED episode, a person will get up from bed and sleepwalk to the kitchen, prepare food and eat it before returning to bed. In the morning, that person may have no recollection of eating during the night. If SRED episodes happen often enough, significant weight gain becomes a real possibility, according to ClevelandClinic.org.
It can be helpful to wait it out and stick with your weight loss plan if you notice only small gains and fluctuations in the morning when you step on the scale, but if you’re taking note of big changes and you seem to be consistently gaining, speak with your doctor.