Why I Gain Weight Right Before Weigh In: An Experiment

I’ve posted before that I often have a spike on my weight in the morning the day before and/or day of weigh in.  I weigh each morning before eating or drinking anything.  Right now, I weigh in on Saturdays. A fairly typically pattern is I’m down between half a pound and a pound on Thursday and then it jumps up a couple of tenths of a pound on Friday and jumps a little more on Saturday.  I then go to my Weight Watchers meeting and find that my weight is only down .2 of a pound or not at all.

I think I’ve figured out one contributing factor.  This may be of the TMI variety, but I think it is important to talk about.  Essentially, I think that at least some of this is, well, bathroom related.

Typically we go to the meeting on Saturday morning, the eat lunch out.  We usually eat out again on Sunday or Monday, and occasionally have one more meal out.  I usually avoid eating out on Wednesday through Friday.  In fact I tend to eat low points on this days, usually close to my daily minimum of 26 points or only a couple of points higher.  No one meal is usually very high in point.  So — not to put too fine a point on it — I often don’t go to the bathroom much on Thursday or Friday (except to pee).

Last week was an example of this.  My weight was down during the week, but jumped up toward the end of the week as I didn’t go to the bathroom.  I didn’t really feel constipated, but nothing was really happening.  So, Saturday I go in and have a .2 pound loss which was disappointing since I had seen a much larger loss on the scale at mid-week.  After the meeting, we went to Sweet Tomatoes for lunch where I had a large meal for me.  We went home and I promptly went to the bathroom and wished that had happened on Friday.

I’ve seen this happen over and over again.  I think that the reason for the late week “gain” is simply related to this pattern of not going to the bathroom late in the week because I’m restricting what I eat on those days and I’m not having any really large meals.  While I’ve seen this pattern for awhile, I have found it impossible to eat more on Thursday or Friday.  Logic says I would do better eating more on those days (and eating less earlier in the week to keep total food the same) and maybe then I would have that tiny bit of constipation (if you can call it that) right at weigh in.  While logic would say that, I’ve always been afraid that if I had a large meal on Friday then my weight would jump up because of that even if I had the points available to eat the meal.

One time I did go to Panera on a Friday but I ate a salad that wasn’t very high calorie so I didn’t eat any more on a typical day and it wasn’t the kind of large meal that I was looking for.

I’ve finally decided this week to take the chance of an experiment.

First — I’ve had a very good week eating.   At this morning (last day of my Weight Watchers week), I had 24 weekly points left (so I had eaten 25 of them) plus another 13 activity points.  My average calories per day is 1185.  And, I’ve exercised a total of 5 days (one of the days was only 20 minutes, the others were all at least 40 minutes).  My fitbit tells me that I should be down about .6 of a pound at this point.  But, on the scale I’m only down .2 pound at the start of the day.  So, I decided eat out at Sweet Tomatoes again today.  I had a large meal (about 800 calories) and came home and soon after went to the bathroom.  So, I achieved what I’ve been wanting for Friday.  My goal is to end the day at about 31 Points Plus so I will end the week with 19 weekly points left, plus 13 activity points.

I am very interested to see what happens in the morning.  Since I went to the bathroom today, will I show a loss on Saturday morning.  Quite often, after eating out on Saturday afternoon, I will get up Sunday morning and find that I’m down lower than I was when I weighed in on Saturday.  I made a point to choose a place to eat for lunch where I wouldn’t eat anything high sodium that might promote water retention.  So, I’m hoping that even though I’m eating more points than I usually do on Friday that I’ll show a loss tomorrow since my overall eating is very similar to last week.  Last week, I ate a total of 213 Points Plus with the distribution being that I ate more points the first few days of the week.  I ate 26 points last Friday.  This week (if I end up eating 31 points today), I will be at a total of 212 Points Plus (virtually the same as last week) but my calorie distribution is very even over the week and my lowest day was Tuesday (27 Points Plus) with yesterday and today being 31 Points Plus.  And, the difference being that last week I think I was mildly constipated on Thursday and Friday which didn’t resolve until after my large meal on Saturday.  This week, that isn’t a problem since I had the large meal today.

I’m not sure what will happen.  It may be that eating more Points Plus on Thursday and Friday will outweigh the fact of my going to the bathroom today and that I will have a .2 pound loss (what it was as of this morning) into a gain.  On the other hand, maybe I am on to something I will show a loss closer to what my calorie deficit per Fitbit would predict.  We’ll find out tomorrow!


  1. says

    Interesting! You know, even though I average (only) around 1200 calories a day myself, I guess because I eat a lot of raw veggies and a fair amount of nuts (at least 1 ounce a day, usually 1.5)….I never have that issue. Sure, on some days, I poop (LOL) a smaller amount than other days, but there is always something, and always right after awakening. (yes, that’s why I weigh AFTER that trip to the loo, but before I have more water. Yes, I play that game myself. LOL)

    I weigh daily now. It’s just the best way for me to be fully accountable. (actually, posting the weight daily on my blog has become the extremely fantastic way for me to be fully accountable!) I usually am my lowest of the week on Saturdays (I think because I rise later on Saturdays)…or Fridays before the Friday lunch out, but I IF (fast) through Friday dinner, so it generally balances out.

    Interesting observations, and it will be fun to watch you play this out! 🙂

    p.s. I really love the color/design of your blog. I think it’s my very most favorite, and I’ve been to a LOT of blogs. 🙂
    Gwen recently posted…Friday Scale Accountability ClubMy Profile

  2. Kitty says

    I actually eat an ounce of nuts almost every day and eat fairly high fiber so I’m actually very regular…except on Thursday and Friday. On those days I eat closer to the WW minimum (26 Points) which works out to about 1000 calories and that is spread throughout the day. I think I just don’t eat enough at one time to, well, produce anything. Anyway, I’ll find out tomorrow how the experiment went.

    (And thanks for the comment on the blog design/color.)

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