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Weight Fluctuations During Weight Loss

Weight gain can occur throughout an adult lifespan and physiological factors like age, metabolism, and body composition continue to influence your weight. These factors including many others may be more influential when you are on a weight loss program. These can cause changes in your weight, which you may be more interested in if you are trying to lose weight. Almost everyone experiences mild changes during the day, which can be attributed to food and water intake, loss of body fluids, activity, and clearing of bowels. Let us understand more about weight fluctuations during weight loss.

Weight Fluctuations During Weight Loss

When you are following a weight loss plan you often watch your weight at regular intervals to know your progress. Self-weighing has proved to be motivating when you see positive outcomes, but negative outcomes can sometimes be discouraging too. Hence, it is necessary to know about weight fluctuations during weight loss. Not just your diet and exercise, but several other factors affect your weight and indirectly your weight loss plan. Many such factors can be beyond your control. So the only thing that can help you is being aware of these factors and knowing how they influence your weight.

Some of the factors causing weight fluctuations during weight loss include:

Holidays, Weekends, and Seasons

It is commonly observed that weight loss is more or at least consistent during the weekdays as compared to weekends or holidays. A week’s cycle influences your eating habits, exercise, and sleep. A 2014 study has reported a pattern of daily weight changes with greater weight in the early part of the week with decreased weight during the week. It was also noted that increases begin on Saturday and decreases begin on Tuesday, particularly in those who lost and maintained weight. The study concluded that these variations between weekdays and weekends can be considered normal and the focus should be more on long-term habits rather than considering the short-term weight fluctuations during weight loss.1

Recent studies have shown that weekends, holidays, and in some cases, seasons also influence your weight. Variations in these and your changing diet and lifestyle habits during these phases too can cause weight fluctuations during weight loss.

A 2020 study concluded that greater body weight over the weekends and lesser during the weekdays was noted in Europe and North America, which was associated with long-term weight gain.2 Holiday time weight gain, particularly Christmas with around 0.4 to 1 kg weight gain was reported in several countries.2 Although seasonal fluctuations can be inconsistent, it is noted that weight loss is more during summers than during winters.2

Considering these variations, experts believe that changes in your dietary intake, physical activity levels, and energy balance behaviors, during certain periods can ultimately contribute to your weight fluctuations during weight loss. Consumption of energy-rich or processed foods, fast food, etc. is more during weekends or festive holidays. This is often clubbed with relaxing time resulting in less physical activity or missing the exercise schedule. As these behaviors ultimately affect the energy balance, they can eventually lead to weight gain. However, these weight fluctuations during weight loss can be controlled by spending the weekends and vacations in a more health-conscious way and not letting this continue for a longer period.

Mood Changes 

The other important factor that affects your diet and exercise patterns is your emotional health or simply said – your mood. Be it a response to your increased stress, hormonal imbalance, or just lack of adequate sleep, if you have a bad mood you are at risk of weight fluctuations during weight loss. Your emotional health not only affects the way you feel about also affects your appetite, your food choices, and your physical activity levels. Emotional eating, which is eating in response to negative emotions is often associated with mood problems that increase the risk of weight gain.3 A 2019 study has also observed that a shorter duration of sleep combined with higher emotional eating can make you more prone to weight gain.3 These can cause more weight fluctuations during weight loss and you need to consider them and take the right measures to prevent or manage them.

As most of these concerns are linked to stress, physical activity and exercise are considered one of the most effective tools. Higher physical activity is linked to lesser emotional eating as it can relieve stress. It can thus help in controlling the excessive intake of high sugary, high-fat foods during times of stress. Also, burning some calories can help in weight management. Thus, stress or mood changes can cause weight fluctuations during weight loss. So, during such times, you can be more conscious about your diet and exercise routine and adopt strategies to stay motivated towards your weight loss goals. Remember, if you eat right and stay physically active, you can work on both, weight loss and your mood changes.

Fluid imbalance

It is known that fluid retention or water retention can cause an increase in your weight.4 Certain conditions can cause swelling in a particular area or hormonal changes can cause bloating, which is a common cause of weight fluctuations during weight loss. Some medications like non-steroidal anti-inflammatories or corticosteroids too can cause water retention. Similarly, excess water loss in the form of sweat, or during diarrheavomiting can result in weight loss. Simple causes like exercising more, particularly on a hot day can cause more water loss and show weight fluctuations during weight loss. Excessive intake of salt can affect your fluid balance and result in weight gain. Thus, it is important to keep in mind the water intake and water loss in various forms during weight loss.


Weight fluctuations during weight loss are common but often present for a short period. An increase or decrease in weight can be due to an altered intake of water, salt, food, sugary foods, beverages, and alcohol. Also, your routine that includes your sleep, exercise, stress levels, and your health status, including your hormone changes, mood, and medications can result in weight fluctuations during weight loss. Similarly, restricted calorie intake, excess physical activity, dehydration due to loss of sweat, or other body fluids, and illness can cause weight loss.

However, these changes are usually temporary and if you continue to follow your diet and routine, you will see a positive outcome in the long run. To minimize these fluctuations at least with regards to diet and lifestyle, it is advisable to follow a similar pattern of diet and exercise routine without overdoing anything. Maintain a moderate exercise schedule rather than having sudden highs and lows. Avoid skipping meals, instead plan small, frequent nutritious meals. Avoid taking gaps in exercises, you can plan high and low-intensity workouts alternately if you feel exhausted. Be more cautious over the weekends, vacations, or periods of stress and seek support if required.


Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 2, 2022

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