The scale can change 1, 2, 3, or even 4 pounds from day-to-day. That doesn’t mean you are gaining or losing 4 lbs of fat or muscle in a day- there are multiple factors that affect your body weight. Recent water and sodium intake are chief among them. You might also be holding water due to stress, sleep, and hormonal activity. Water fluctuations only account for a small percentage of your change in weight, but it’s enough to confuse and concern people.
Changes in water weight will not be so drastic that they interfere with your fat loss, and they don’t have to prevent you from tracking your weight loss correctly. Let’s say you’re losing a pound per week. If water bloat affects the scale, the trend of your weight will still go down from week to week. If water bloat makes your weight range between 151-153lbs all week, if you are losing that pound of fat per week, you will be in the range of 150-152lbs the next week. The following week you’ll be 149-151lbs, and so forth. It is possible to retain excess water for weeks at a time, causing your weight to stagnate, but that’s usually followed by a “whooshing effect” in which you lose the excess water at once and you see a sudden drop of a few pounds!
It’s helpful to weigh yourself multiple times in a week if you are losing weight and want to track it accurately. What if you weigh yourself only once per week? Perhaps on the night before you had a big meal with lots of water, plenty of sodium, and you’re retaining that in your body when you weigh yourself. Your weight will be higher than on other days, and it isn’t giving you an accurate measurement of fat you lost. This could convince you to make unnecessary changes to your diet and cause you to worry unnecessarily.
On the other side of the coin, if you are somewhat dehydrated when you step on the scale that one morning, your body weight could drop from the previous week even if you haven’t lost any fat, preventing you from making much needed changes.
If you want to measure accurate changes, step on the scale 3x a week, and take the average of those numbers. Compare these weekly averages. Your body weight is going to go up-and-down in a nonlinear fashion. That’s okay! This shouldn’t stop you from getting to the body weight you want.