Weight Fluctuation: Why 5 Pounds May Not Be A Big Deal
If you live with diabetes, you know that juggling medications, diet and exercise is crucial for good management, including maintaining a healthy weight. Among the diabetes community, people with type 2 diabetes tend to face the most judgment for their weight, which is unwarranted and bred from common misconceptions.
Unfortunately, judgment usually comes from all sides: doctors, peers, colleagues, friends and even family. Facing so much judgment can lead people with type 2 diabetes to hyperfocus on their weight, which can be toxic to physical and mental well-being.
But losing or gaining five pounds may not be a big deal! Remember to ask yourself these questions if you’re worried about what the scale says lately.
Are weight fluctuations normal?
It is normal for your weight to fluctuate throughout the day, most notably from morning to night. Going up or down between 2-5 pounds is standard for most people, but everyone’s normal weight fluctuations can differ. Your body may fluctuate on a broader scale than what’s considered typical. That’s okay—just be aware of what your normal is.
Your body’s weight will naturally change, and one data point—either up or down—does not mean you’re definitively gaining or losing weight. Also, gaining or losing minimal weight will not affect your blood sugar levels or health.
Call your doctor to rule out any underlying health issues if you’re gaining and losing ten pounds more routinely and haven’t made significant lifestyle changes.
Why does my weight fluctuate?
Weight can fluctuate for several reasons. Some of these include:
- Hormonal changes, such as your period, can cause swelling and weight gain.
- Fluid retention
- The amount of water you drink or being dehydrated
- The amount of food you’d had or the timing of your meals
- How well you’ve slept
- Food intolerances
- The timing of your last bowel movement or meal
- If you’ve had an excess of salt, which pulls water into the bloodstream, increasing both blood pressure and weight (temporarily).
- Stress: If you notice your weight fluctuating upwards when you experience the “Sunday scaries” or “manic Mondays,” you’re not the only one! A study showed that weight typically starts to climb on Saturday, peaks, and starts to decrease each Tuesday. Elevated cortisol levels—your body’s stress hormone—can influence weight gain.
5 pounds is nothing to stress over
The body temporarily gaining and losing 5 pounds over a week is a natural part of being human.
Your blood sugars will not suffer as a result, and you won’t experience increased insulin resistance or adverse health consequences from the swing of a few pounds. Obsessing over daily weight fluctuations can be harmful to your mental health.
It is also helpful to remember that sometimes weight gain is necessary to improve your health—you may be underweight or lose weight by maintaining dangerously high blood sugars. Especially in scenarios like this, putting on weight is a sign of good health.
If you or a loved one are experiencing any form of disordered eating, contact your doctor and loved ones for support. If you are not getting the support you need from them, hotlines like Alsana can help.
What to focus on instead of weight
Avoiding the scale altogether can actually be more productive for people with diabetes than looking at it daily. This is true of anyone who’s experienced self-consciousness around their weight.
Many factors, essential to remember when living with diabetes, influence overall health. Living a lifestyle that includes daily movement and healthy eating, drinking plenty of water, taking all your medications as prescribed and managing your blood sugar levels will ensure that your weight will land within a natural, healthy range.
If you’d like to pay attention to your weight without the thought of it becoming toxic, striving for an ideal weight range is typically more effective than aiming for an ideal (stagnant) weight. Bodies change over time, and you may naturally weigh more on some days.
Aiming to stay within a weight range can be a lighter mental load than pinpointing a weight you want to achieve. Total health is so much more than weight, and what is healthy for one person looks different for another. Health comes in ALL shapes and sizes, and your health is not synonymous with your weight alone.
Editor’s Note: This content was made possible with support from Lilly, an active partner of Beyond Type 2 at the time of publication.