Have you ever stepped on the scale after a morning weigh in and wondered, “Why did I gain weight overnight? It’s happened to me more times than I can count. It’s a more common experience than you might think.
While overnight weight gain is not unusual, it’s avoidable if you know the causes.
It’s also easy to reverse once you understand the factors that cause it.
Why Do I Gain Weight Overnight?
Here are twelve science-backed reasons you might see weight gain in the morning, that wasn’t there the night before.
1. You Had More Sodium Than Usual
Sodium is one major factor that can cause weight gain overnight. Sodium can cause you to retain a large volume of water and weigh in heavier on the scale the next morning. Very salty foods are a common cause of sodium, so try cutting your salt intake down!
Also, other sodium variants beyond table salt can cause this phenomenon, such as monosodium glutamate, otherwise known as MSG, sodium nitrite, sodium saccharin, and baking soda, for example. And you may be consuming more sodium than you even know.
Many processed foods can contain a lot of sodium, so it’s important to read the labels before you purchase food so that you can avoid consuming excess sodium.
If your excessive sodium intake was just a one-time thing, try drinking some extra water to help flush the sodium out of your system a lot more quickly. Plus, drinking water is good for you!
2. You Had More Carbs Than Usual the Day Before
Eating a lot of carbs generally can cause weight gain, but specifically, eating a lot of carbs one day when you normally don’t can also cause you to retain weight and weigh in heavier the next morning.
One gram of a carbohydrate retains three grams of water, so it’s a really easy way to gain a lot of weight quickly. This is especially true if you’ve been staying away from the carbs recently.
Suddenly eating a lot of carbs after staying away from them for a long time can cause your body to store more glycogen and cause more bloating.
If you suddenly ate a lot of carbohydrates and saw a weight gain, don’t stress out. Going back to your normal diet will likely see you back at your normal weight within a couple of days.
3. You Weighed in Earlier Than Normal
If you weigh in earlier than normal, there can still be food left in your stomach. More importantly, the longer you sleep, the more water you’ll breathe out as respiration. So if you weigh in earlier than normal, you’ll likely to weigh in heavier than usual.
Try to weigh yourself at the same time every day so that you’ll get a consistent measurement and a more accurate picture of how much you weigh. Try creating a schedule so that you can stay consistent.
You can also create a sleep schedule, which will keep you healthier and make it easier to weigh in at a consistent time each day.
4. You’ve Eaten Foods That Cause Bloating
Certain foods, like artificial sweeteners (such as sorbitol, erythritol, or xylitol), processed foods, carbonated sodas, and for some people, dairy, can all cause bloating.
If you ate something that’s not your norm the day before and were feeling a little gassy before bed, this might just be the cause of why you weighed in heavier the next morning. However, depending on what you ate, you may want to check in with a healthcare professional.
For example, if dairy products consistently leave you bloated, you may want to make sure that you’re not suffering from lactose intolerance. Or you could be sensitive or have another allergy.
5. You Did an Intense Workout the Day Before
If you did an intense workout the day before, this can cause water retention as the muscles work to repair micro abrasions and tears. If this is the type of weight gain that’s affecting you, then don’t worry about today’s weigh in.
Water retention from working out is likely to go away on its own, and this type of weight gain isn’t related to body fat.
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On the other hand, if you’ve been worried about your workout routine, there are other things you can do to get yourself back on track. If you’re having trouble with your workouts, then check out these tips on working out from home.
6. You Haven’t Had a Bowel Movement Yet
If you weigh in before taking your morning poop instead of after, you’ll likely observe body weight fluctuations. That’s especially true if you’re having an issue like constipation.
The average bowel movement of adult human weighs around 0.25 to one pounds. Of course, larger people who eat more and those who have less frequent bowel movements will tend to have heavier poops.
Whether or not this factor will impact you will depend on:
- Your body size
- The size of your daily bowel movement(s)
- The sensitivity of your scale (i.e., it’s ability to measure to a single or double decimal point)
Thus, if you’d like to see a lower weight, try using the bathroom before you get on the scale.
7. You Ate Fiber-Rich Foods
Fiber is the non-digestible part of plants. Fiber rich foods are awesome, because they fill you up, keep you regular, lower cholesterol, and play a major role in digestion.
However, if you up your fiber levels quickly, your body might need some time to adjust. When you consume a lot of fiber, you should plan for a bulkier, waterier, and larger bowel movement ahead. Of course, both the fiber and the water it retains can lead to overnight weight gain.
Foods that are particularly high in fiber include beans, lentils, fruits and vegetables. So if you notice overnight weight gain, consider your consumption of these foods the day before.
8. You Ate Late the Night Before
If you eat late the night before, there could be food left in your stomach the next morning that is nudging up the figure you see on the scale. Plus, any food eaten at night is more likely to be stored as fat, rather than as energy, especially if you’re eating foods that are high in carbohydrates.
To avoid weight gain overnight, try eating earlier in the evening and stay away from midnight snacks whenever possible.
Start a regular eating schedule and stick to it in order to avoid gaining weight overnight.
9. You Consumed Alcohol
Many types of alcohol are high in carbohydrate and sugar levels. This can cause your body to retain water and induce weight gain the next morning.
In some cases, drinking may also cause you to stay up later than normal, during which time you may find yourself consuming late night snacks. This will increase the undigested food volume in your body the next morning. If you ordered food from a bar, you probably ate your fair share of salt as well.
If you’re tired from drinking the night before, you may also find yourself sleeping in later than normal. Naturally, this will alter your weigh-in time.
Finally, alcohol can cause internal inflammation and gastrointestinal distress. So if you wake up after a night of drinking, don’t be surprised if you’re feeling “beer/booze bloat.”
10. You Were Nose-Breathing Last Night
When you’re in good health and have clear sinuses, you will nose breath at night. For a variety of reasons, this is the body’s preferred way of breathing. When you do this, you secrete healthy amounts of the hormone vasopressin. Vasopressin is produced by your brain and released by a pea-sized gland called the pituitary.
Unfortunately, when conditions such as allergies or a cold cause you to mouth breath overnight, your body lowers its production of the hormone vasopressin. When you don’t release adequate vasopressin, your kidneys excrete too much water, causing you to urinate and inducing dehydration.
The upside of your overnight bathroom breaks is that you’ll weight in lower than normal in the morning. The downside is your body is not regulating itself properly and dehydration is associated with a host of health problems.
So remember, when you’re in good health and nose-breathing at night, you’ll tend to weigh in heavier than when you’re forced to mouth breath.
11. You’re About to Menstruate
For readers who menstruate, this one’s for you. Before you start your period, fluctuations in hormonal levels can lead to weight gain. This process can start as early as five days before your period begins.
There’s a few factors involved here, one of which is that the female sex hormone estrogen peaks during the latter part of the menstrual cycle, shortly before blood flow begins. High estrogen levels can cause your body to retain fluid, creating weight gain overnight.
Progesterone also tends to be elevated during the later half of the menstrual cycle. This can slow down your digestive tract. In addition to experiencing bloating, you may see this reflected on the scale.
Elevated progesterone also explains why some contraceptives cause weight gain. For example, the birth control medicine Depo-Provera is a common culprit.
12. You Started a New Medication
This cause is one that all too often gets overlooked. Several classes of both over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications can induce weight gain. This is logical, given that most medicines exert their effects by shifting your body’s rhythms.
Common culprits for weight gain can include birth control meds, antidepressants, beta blockers, angiotensin-receptor blockers, migraine meds, antihistamines, and more.
Why does this happen? In the short-term, these medications usually cause water retention. In the long-run, they may increase appetite, down-regulate metabolism, or increase fat storage.
How to Avoid Weight Gain Overnight
If you avoid these twelve common culprits that cause you to gain weight overnight, then you’ll see your weight stabilize (or drop) in no time.
But remember, some of these things causes are actually healthy, so don’t worry too much if you occasionally see your weight fluctuate. It’ll go back to normal soon!