One morning the scale shows you’re right on track, but the next day, you’re up a few pounds. Can you actually gain weight overnight? Well, to gain one single pound of fat, you’d have to eat about 3,500 calories more than you can burn off. So to gain five pounds in one day, you’d need to eat close to 20-thousand calories in 24 hours. But gaining five pounds of water weight in a day?
Your weight will fluctuate on a daily basis, but if you step on the scale and see you’ve gained a few pounds quickly, one of these reasons could be why:
You hit the gym hard – After a heavy workout that uses a lot of large muscles, you can weigh a few extra pounds for several days because the tears in your muscle cells heal through a process of natural inflammation. That involves fluid pooling around the muscle cells, which can make you puff up.
You ate a lot of salt – “Excess sodium intake can lead to immediate water weight gain,” explains weight-loss specialist Dr. Julie Ellner. So don’t worry if the scale shows it after a night of salty chips and margaritas.
You’ve started a high-protein, low-carb diet – Fiber helps keep everything moving in your digestive system, so if you’re not getting fiber from whole grains, fruit and starchy vegetables, you could get backed up and Dr. Ellner says that “internal traffic jam can translate to a couple of pounds of retained matter.”
You’re dehydrated – A lack of water can send your kidneys into fluid conservation mode, which can lead to an increase in water weight.
You’re about to get your period – PMS binging aside, your hormones could be at fault for pre-period pounds. Dr. Ellner says some women start to gain water weight about five days before their cycle starts, but thankfully, that water retention is short-lived.
You’re pregnant – Weight-loss doctor Melody Covington says if you’re experiencing rapid weight gain, especially while on a diet, you could be expecting. She explains that overweight women can become more fertile with weight loss, so when in doubt, take a pregnancy test to be sure.