If you have ever stepped on the scale and found you were 3 or 5 pounds heavier than the previous day, this article will show you causes of overnight weight gain or weight loss.
Gaining weight overnight can be frustrating. For some, it leads to emotional eating and loss of motivation to eat healthily.
Before you dip your fork into a piece of cake due to frustration, realize that gaining weight overnight doesn’t necessarily mean you have gained fat.
Sometimes your body holds excess water, which makes you heavier than you are. Activities like sitting in a sauna can make you lose water and as a result trigger sudden weight loss.
In other cases, the weight fluctuates due to fat loss or health issues. Below are possible reasons why people gain or lose weight overnight.
CAUSES OF OVERNIGHT WEIGHT GAIN OR WEIGHT LOSS
1. EATING TOO MANY CARBS
Heavy consumption of starchy carbs such as white rice, bread, pasta, and potatoes can make you gain weight overnight.
Carbs make your body retain excess water. For every gram of carbs your body stores, it retains 2 to 3 grams of water.
It is for this reason that high intake of carbohydrates results in increased body weight. The increase is due to the fluid retention, not that you have gained fat overnight.
At the same time, avoiding carbs depletes glycogen stores, which in return flushes away the water attached to glycogen, making you lose weight overnight.
2. EATING TOO MUCH SODIUM
Foods with high sodium content can make your body retain water, which increases your weight on the scale.
Sodium sensitivity varies from person to person. Your body may retain more water compared to someone else who ate the same amount of sodium as you.
Don’t assume your sodium intake is low because you use little table salt. Most of the sodium we consume comes from processed foods. Canned soup, frozen meals, peanut butter, beef jerky, and salad dressings are some of the foods high in sodium.
Luckily, you can reverse the overnight weight gain by cutting down on sodium and eating potassium-rich foods such as bananas and sweet potatoes. But beware of the side effects of salt-less diets.
3. IRREGULAR BOWEL MOVEMENT
Irregular bowel activity can add a few pounds on the scale. According to studies, we produce an average of 106 grams of stool each day.
If your bowel activity is low, an accumulation of stool may cause a slight increase in your body weight.
Along with enhancing weight loss, dietary fiber can help improve your bowel movement.
Medications that affect bodily function may cause overnight weight gain.
According to the Obesity Action Coalition, some medications can increase the absorption and storage of glucose in your body, which can cause accumulation of fat in the belly area.
OAC healthcare professionals also add that medications used to treat high blood pressure, diabetes, migraines, and mood disorders could lead to weight increase, and this can be as high as gaining 10-20 pounds within a couple of months.
If you start gaining weight after taking a medication, notify your doctor or pharmacist.
5. INTENSE WORKOUTS
Research shows that you can lose 3 to 4 liters of water in an hour through sweating during exercise. The excessive sweating can make you a few pounds lighter than you are.
Drink water during exercise to replenish the fluid lost through sweat.
6. FOOD WEIGHT
The food and water you consume contribute to the daily weight fluctuations on the scales.
If you compare your weight before you eat any food or drink in the morning and after your dinner in the evening, you will notice a clear difference between the two readings.
The good thing is that this weight gain is temporary. It disappears when the body uses the food to fuel metabolic activities.
7. DRINKING ALCOHOL
Alcohol consumption may cause water retention, which in return causes overnight weight gain.
Alcohol is a diuretic which can induce excessive urination, causing loss of urinary fluid and sometimes, fluid imbalances.
The diuretic effect of alcohol may leave you dehydrated, prompting your body to retain more water.
If you are like most women, you experience some level of bloating before and during your menstrual period.
The body begins to retain fluid from the middle of the follicular period and retains the highest amount of water on the first day of menstrual flow.
Some researchers say that fluid retention and weight fluctuation is not due to hormonal changes but emotional eating during the build-up to the menstrual period.
9. SLOW THYROID
A dysfunctional thyroid gland may be the reason you are gaining fat.
The thyroid gland plays a central role in the regulation of metabolism. An under-active thyroid gland or hypothyroidism slows down metabolism, impairing your body’s ability to burn calories efficiently and consequently causes weight gain.
If you suspect you have hypothyroidism or suddenly start gaining weight without changing your diet or workout routine, talk to your doctor.
Increased stress levels can be a silent fat depositor. When you are stressed for a prolonged period, the hormone cortisol builds up in the body. And it encourages the accumulation of fat in the body, especially belly fat.
11. TOO MUCH HEALTHY FOOD
Many people erroneously think that it’s okay to overeat healthy foods.
However, portion control is important if you want to lose weight. Even though fat burning foods are very filling and low in calories, eating too much of them can cause weight gain.
You might gain weight overnight if you don’t drink enough water.
For one thing, dehydration makes the body retain water. Secondly, people tend to overeat when dehydrated because they confuse thirst with hunger.
On the other hand, researchers at the University of Utah found that drinking two glasses of water before eating could increase weight loss drastically.
13. SLEEP DEPRIVATION
Research shows that sleep deprivation decreases the satiety hormone leptin and increases the level of ghrelin the hunger hormone, prompting us to crave junk food and increasing the tendency to overeat.
Avoid using the phone or watching TV 30 minutes before bed if you want to fall asleep faster and sleep deeply. Research shows that exposure to the blue light emitted by these devices causes sleeplessness.
Diseases such as celiac disease can cause sudden weight loss. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder linked to gluten. People with celiac disease tend to suffer stomach pain, nausea, and discolored stool when they eat burgers and other fatty foods.
Some types of cancer can also cause sudden weight gain. These cancers usually affect the stomach. Get your stomach and bowel checked if you experience unexplained weight loss.
Most times, we experience overnight weight gain or weight loss due to water retention. Once you balance water levels in your body, your weight will go back to normal.
If you suspect you are gaining or losing weight due to an illness or hormonal problem, see a doctor immediately.