10 Reasons Why the Scale Is Stubborn

How many of you follow your plan to a T and excitedly step on the scale only to get the wind knocked out of your sails with a number you weren’t expecting? If so, please keep reading

This has happened to me time and time again. Each time, although I know better and understand why I wish I could read a little reminder to point my mental game back in the right direction. So I’m going to create my reminder as this blog post.  I typically throw my hands up and say I KNEW THIS WOULDN’T WORK when I have been able to pinpoint the issue as one of the ten reasons on this little list.

Top 10 reasons why the scale isn’t immediately reflecting your fat loss efforts:


  1. If you haven’t been sleeping well, you could have weight gain from an increased appetite related to sleep deprivation and unknowingly be consuming more than you think (another reason why tracking rocks). Lack of sleep has shown to increase the hormone ghrelin and decrease the hormone leptin. Ghrelin tells your brain you are hungry and leptin tells your brain you are full. Although if you have been tracking and have not overindulged, your body simply needs time to recuperate, rest, and recover from training and the inflammation training can cause.
  2. If it is your “time of the month” as a female- don’t even get on that thing. Water retention city.
  3. If you had a massive sodium fluctuation, you would see a change. Although I do not track sodium, being a creature of habit I have roughly between 1500- 2000 mg per day. If you nosh on something covered in soy sauce, eat at Pizza Hut, have something from a restaurant that is not your norm- expect an uptick in the scale.
  4. Inconsistent water intake- fluctuating amounts of water can lead to dehydration (lower scale weight) or water retention (higher scale weight). It is best to keep your hydration consistent as possible.  And drinking more water does not cause you to retain more water- the opposite is true.
  5. Just had a high carb day- this relates to the amount of glycogen that is stored in your liver and muscle tissue. The amount varies for each person based on weight, activity, lean muscle. Learn more about this. What does that mean for scale weight? A potential increase of up to 7.5 lbs.
  6. Status of your undigested food- if it’s sitting in your intestinal tract that is extra weight until you have a bathroom break
  7. Leg day- when you weight train- you break down muscle fibers that in a sense are rebuilt better- water will enter into the muscle during repair and can increase your scale weight.
  8. Stress/ increases in cortisol level (stress hormone) in body can hinder weight loss efforts
  9. Certain medications- check with your doctor if you think your medication may be affecting your weight loss efforts and or if you believe there is an underlying issue that is preventing you from losing weight such as a sluggish thyroid or hormone imbalance
  10. You have hit a plateau in your weight loss efforts and need to adjust your current plan/ macros. How to tell if you have hit a plateau is another blog post entirely, but as a female, if three weeks has passed without scale changes, it is safe to say you have hit a plateau. You can adjust by lowering your caloric intake 7- 10 percent as a general guideline.


If the short term fluctuations with the scale are driving you batty, I recommend weighing less often, such as one time per week. Take into account these factors before you become frustrated. Control the factors that are in your control- such as adhering to your macronutrients, staying hydrated, sticking to your training plan, and getting rest. Know these readings will not change how you progress in the long term if you can learn to shake off the ugly readings and stay focused.