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Why do we weigh less in the morning?

Why do we weigh less in the morning?


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At first I thought it may be related to physics. You know, in one half of the day, the gravity changes, and the scale shows a different weight than the other. Then at night, gravity intensifies, and you become slightly heavier.

But I'm a bit skeptical about that. Is that true? That it's somehow related to gravitational fields?


Veritasium created an excellent video just on this topic, which I would recommend watching, but will summarize here.

A common misconception is that we lose weight when we digest food or burn calories. Keep in mind that that broken down food and those calories*aren't "going anywhere", so technically you shouldn't loose any mass (unless you get rid of the molecules by going to the restroom).

However, in the "informal" tests done by Derek Muller, he lost about 250 grams each night. Since during the night you sweat (which evaporates or gets absorbed into the sheets and blankets), he estimated that about 150 grams was lost through perspiration and breathing out water vapor.

The more surprising loss of mass, was 0.012 grams of carbon lost with each breath when breathing in oxygen, and then breathing out carbon dioxide. Although this seems like a tiny loss, assuming you breathe in and out about 7,680 times each night, that tiny mass loss adds up to almost 100 grams of weight loss through breathing alone.

I guess health magazines should start running articles like "Top way to lose more weight? Researchers say breathe more!"


There is indeed a slight weight variation during the day. About 2 - 4 lbs (approx. 1 - 2 kg) [1, 2].

Some causes are:

  • water loss through respiration, perspiration or urination [1].
  • the relative long period without eating and drinking [2].
  • metabolic processing of food and drinks during sleep.

References:

  1. Cindy Banyai. http://www.livestrong.com/article/483853-how-much-can-weight-fluctuate-from-morning-to-night/
  2. http://www.weightlossforall.com/weighing-less-morning.htm

There is only one way to gain weight, consume things. Thus after any period of time not consuming anything (i.e. sleeping) we must necessarily weigh <= what we weighted at the start of that time period. Add in respiration, and that becomes a strict inequality!


Do we weigh less at night?

My question is do we and objects weigh less at night time? I could imagine that an additional gravitational upward pull of the sun during day time will work to a certain degree against the downward pull of the earth.


ELI5: Why do we weigh less in the morning than the night before?

Like it says in the title: How are we lighter in the morning? What happens with the weight? What happens with our body?

Your body burns calories while you sleep as well.

You sweat, and you exhale. Both involve mass leaving your body. Hopefully you don't do more than that without getting up to use the bathroom.

You only lose around 150-250 grams overnight if you ignore any trips to the bathroom.

Roughly 50% of the weight you lose overnight is through sweat/evaporation through breath.

The remaining 50% is a little more complex. Your metabolic process uses up oxygen and returns carbon dioxide (which is heavier than oxygen per molecule) so you literally breath out the weight.

Mixture of things, gas release, lost sweat and saliva, and other shed tissue (hair, skin, etc. ) Most of it would be fluids

Fat + O2 -> H2O + CO2 + Energy

Basically, sleeping is much more calorically intensive than you might imagine (By my estimate, you burn about 25% of your daily calories while sleeping), so you inhale oxygen, and your body's metabolic functions react it with body fat, which eventually break down into water and carbon dioxide, which you exhale, sweat out, or it evaporates. Since you're not eating or drinking throughout the night, your body is not gaining mass, but continuously losing.


Why do we weigh less when we wake up in the morning?

If you do not use the bathroom during the night, how would you weigh less the following morning? I can't understand how weight can be lost when something like sweat or urine weren't to leave the body. Thanks

You lose water from perspiration and breathing.

One possible mechanism is respiration: we inhale molecules of oxygen (O2), exhale molecules of carbon dioxide (CO2) -- that carbon atom comes from our stored fuel like glucose or fats, being broken down for metabolic energy. So yeah, the gas we exhale is heavier than what we inhale and we lose mass that way.

We exhale about 432 L of CO2 a day. For simpler calculation we're gonna assume that its a lazy Saturday and you slept for an impressive 12 hrs and exhaled 216 L of CO2 at 1 atm. So we exhale 5.7888×10 24 atoms of CO2 every night. Multiply that by mass of C in grams (1.994 x 10 -23g) and you get 115.429g. Or a quarter of a pound. Wow that's actually surprising. Someone should check my math.


i feel, look and weigh less in the morning,

within 30 mins, seems like my gut drops out and feel chunkier

i have tested over the last week

i weigh some specific weight at say 8am within 1 minute of getting out of bed,

now i deliberately dont eat or drink anything for 3 hours (just to test) and weight 200grams more at the 11am weigh,

check your weight next time. strange

Can't tell you exactly but it probably has something to do with your water balance..

Everybody looks at his best in the morning

Iron, sometimes it sets my teeth on edge, other times it helps me control the chaos.

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hyooge e-ego Join Date: Jul 2010 Location: United Kingdom (Great Britain) Age: 36 Posts: 3,227 Rep Power: 7225

DUDE - reread my post, im not just talking looks , but more importantly weight gain scale wise.

and also you missed it, if you dont eat for 12 hours during the day, you dont LOOK thinner.

only after sleeping, first thing in the moring,

im not here to debate it, just ask im curious as to why 3 hours after waking, without even a sip of water do i look fatter and weight more.

hyooge e-ego Join Date: Jul 2010 Location: United Kingdom (Great Britain) Age: 36 Posts: 3,227 Rep Power: 7225

DUDE - reread my post, im not just talking looks , but more importantly weight gain scale wise.

and also you missed it, if you dont eat for 12 hours during the day, you dont LOOK thinner.

only after sleeping, first thing in the moring,

im not here to debate it, just ask im curious as to why 3 hours after waking, without even a sip of water do i look fatter and weight more.

actually if i go 12 hours without eating during the day i look thinner/less bloated than when i eat every 2-3 hous.

i dont know why you weigh more. You say you weigh 200grams more. thats not much at all its just a slight weight fluctuation. Theres been days ive ate a stupid amount and weigh less in the night than in the morning despite looking more bloated.

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Dunno about the weight gain man, if you're not eating anything. I've never experienced that. Without putting anything into your body, the only thing that will make you gain "weight" (not mass) is the effect of gravity. There would have to be a 0.038 m/s^2 difference to account for a 1 lb gain on the scale at 252 pounds. Since 9.8/252 = 0.038 (9.8 m/s^2 is the acceleration due to gravity on Earth).

So, I don't know, maybe around noon the gravitational force is stronger than as the sun is rising (when you wake up).

Dunno about the weight gain man, if you're not eating anything. I've never experienced that. Without putting anything into your body, the only thing that will make you gain "weight" (not mass) is the effect of gravity. There would have to be a 0.038 m/s^2 difference to account for a 1 lb gain on the scale at 252 pounds. Since 9.8/252 = 0.038 (9.8 m/s^2 is the acceleration due to gravity on Earth).

So, I don't know, maybe around noon the gravitational force is stronger than as the sun is rising (when you wake up).

yeah that was what is was thinking,

so i recon, it might have something to do with my scales,

anyway, it was just thrown out there,

after 12 hours of being awake without eating i feel thinner, but dont look any thinner in the mirror.

Most likely it's that you stood at a slightly different angle on the scale, or that as things shift in your body from being in the new vertical position, it's putting the weight in slightly different places on the scale. Remember, we aren't using scientific scales most times, your normal $20-$40 scale is not perfectly set up to weigh the same no matter the balance of what's on it.

To check this, grab a 5 pound weight. Measure your weight while holding it directly above your head. Now measure your weight holding it directly out in front of you. Then do it to each side. I'll bet you'll get some differences of weights as you move the 5lbs around, although the weight itself didn't get any heavier/lighter.


Do I weigh less on the equator than at the North Pole?

Yes, you weigh less on the equator than at the North or South Pole, but the difference is small. Note that your body itself does not change. Rather it is the force of gravity and other forces that change as you approach the poles. These forces change right back when you return to your original latitude. In short, a trip to the equator is not a viable long-term weight-loss program.

Your weight is the combination of all the large-scale, long-term forces on your body. While the earth's gravity is by far the strongest large-scale force, it is not the only one. What you experience as "something pulling you down" is actually the total of all the forces and not just gravity. The four dominant large-scale, long-term forces are:

  1. The earth's gravity
  2. The sun's gravity
  3. The moon's gravity
  4. The earth's centrifugal force

Note that although earth's Coriolis force plays a major role in shaping hurricanes and ocean currents, since it is not a static force, it does not contribute to your overall weight. Also, additional forces appear when you ride a roller-coaster, an elevator, a swing, or another vehicle, but these forces are transient, so they do not contribute to your overall, long-term weight. Finally, electromagnetic and nuclear forces are either too small-scale, or too short-term to contribute to your overall weight.

For our purposes, we want to consider the forces that differ significantly at the equator versus the poles. While the sun's gravity is strong enough to keep us and the earth in orbit, the sun's position relative to a spot on the equator versus the poles is constantly changing. As a result, averaged over a few days, the gravitational force of the sun on a spot on the equator is the same as the gravitational force of the sun on a spot on the poles. The same situation applies to the moon. This leaves only earth's gravity and earth's centrifugal force as the two forces that contribute to your weight differing at the equator versus the poles.

As we learned in high school, earth's gravity is approximately constant all over the surface of the earth. But this is only an approximation. If the earth were perfectly spherical and if its density were perfectly uniform, then the strength of earth's gravity would be exactly constant at all points on its surface. But it's not. There are three major complications to earth's gravitational field. First the earth is not a sphere. The earth is spinning, causing it to slightly flatten like a pizza crust thrown and spun in the air. As a result, the earth is an oblate spheroid and not a perfect sphere. If you stand at sea level on the equator, you are 6378 km from the center of the earth. In contrast, at each pole, you are only 6357 km from the center of the earth. Since the strength of gravity weakens as you get farther away from a gravitational body, the points on the equator are farther and have weaker gravity than the poles. The other two complications to earth's gravitational field non-uniform internal density and local surface mass variations such as mountains are small enough factors that we will neglect them here. Therefore, assuming the entire mass of the earth is located at its center, we can calculate the force of earth's gravity at the equator and at the poles. Using Newton's law of gravity, we find that the force of earth's gravity on your body at the equator is 9.798 m/s 2 times the mass of your body, whereas at the poles it is 9.863 m/s 2 times the mass of your body.

The earth's centrifugal force also varies with latitude. The centrifugal force is the outward force felt whenever you are in a rotating reference frame. While the centrifugal force is a non-fundamental force caused ultimately by the inertia of bodies, it is very real for the body in a rotating reference frame, such as your body on the surface of the rotating earth. The centrifugal force is proportional to the tangential speed of the rotating reference frame. The equator is moving quickly as the earth's spins, so it has a lot of centrifugal force. In contrast, the poles are not spinning at all, so they have zero centrifugal force. Since centrifugal force points outwards from the center of rotation, it tends to cancel out a little bit of earth's gravity. If the earth were not spinning, you would be heavier as you would feel the full force of gravity. Since there is more centrifugal force at the equator to cancel gravity, your overall weight at the equator versus at the poles is even less. The centrifugal force on your body at the equator is 0.034 m/s 2 times the mass of your body. The centrifugal force at the poles is zero.

Your total weight at sea level at the equator (gravity minus centrifugal force) is therefore 9.764 m/s 2 times your mass, whereas your weight is 9.863 m/s 2 times your mass at the poles. If we use a more accurate model (such as taking into account the shape of the continents) these numbers will be slightly different, but the overall point will be the same: you weigh about 1% less at the equator than at the poles. If you weigh 200 pounds (90.7 kg) at the North Pole, you will weigh 198 pounds (89.8 kg) at the equator. Note that we have focused on the equator and the poles as the extremes, but the same effect applies to all latitudes. You weigh slightly less in Mexico City than in New York City, as Mexico City is closer to the equator.


Should you weight yourself?

There is no set rule that in order for weight loss and staying at a healthy weight you need to weigh yourself. It works well for some people, and research suggests it can help keep weight off after going through weight loss.

However, some weight loss programs specifically do not use weighing as a part of their program, and certainly some people can keep weight off without even using a scale.

If someone struggles with disordered eating, using a scale could be more harmful than helpful.

If you find yourself obsessing about the scale number and weighing yourself multiple times a day, not using the scale at all may be a healthier approach.


WHY U weigh more in the morning

I always weigh less in the am unless I eat a ton of food the day before.

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One thing to remember is that our bodies are never one 'true' weight. We fluctuate within a range, and it's perfectly normal - that's why, if you're going to weigh yourself daily, you have to be aware that some mornings will be higher than others, and that that's not a bad thing. There are a million little things that affect body weight, so it's impossible to pin it just on what you ate the night before.

The important thing, whenever you choose to weigh, is consistency. Whether you're doing morning weigh-ins or waiting until the PM, you'll want to try to match the conditions as closely as possible. Wear similar clothes, weigh at the same time of day, and recognize that things like sleep, time of the month, new or changed activity and sodium can have an effect.

Personally, I take a weight reading as one puzzle piece in the whole picture. It's useful information to have, and it can be fascinating once you start to see patterns in how your body responds to certain things (this is why I enjoy tracking my weight daily), but one single sample reading is never enough to determine success, failure or overall health.


When Is the Best Time to Weigh Yourself?

If you’re trying to lose weight, the scale can be a double-edged sword. When you’re slaying your diet and exercise goals, stepping on it brings a wave of joy. But when you hit a slump or plateau, you might have the urge to throw it out the window.

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Your scale can be a useful tool in your health journey. But you need to know when and how to weigh yourself to get accurate and helpful info from it. Registered dietitian Chelsey Ludwiczak, RD, shares her expertise on how to use your scale to reach your health goals.

Should you weigh yourself regularly?

Your weight is just one piece of your overall health picture. So do you really need to weigh yourself?

“Regularly weighing yourself can help you stay on track with your weight loss or weight maintenance goals,” says Ludwiczak. “It’s like having a weekly budget. If you go over your budget one week, you want to know so you can fix it. If you don’t realize you’re overspending every week, it adds up.”

The scale helps you keep track of your own weight so that you can change behaviors before 1 pound of weight gain becomes 5 or 10.

But there’s an exception to the weigh-in habit. “If you have a history of eating disorders or anxiety about the scale, avoid weighing yourself for now,” Ludwiczak says. “Speak with a psychologist or mental health professional about these concerns.”

How often to weigh yourself

It’s not how often you weigh yourself, but how you do it, Ludwiczak says. The key is consistency.

“It should always be on the same scale, at the same time and wearing the same thing or without clothes,” she explains.

If you want to step on the scale weekly, for example, do it on the same day each week. “Your weight won’t be consistent if you weigh yourself on Friday and Monday,” she says. “Many people have a different routine on the weekends. They might eat out more, drink alcohol or snack more. Compare that to Friday, if you’ve been eating consistently for five days, and you’ll see a big difference.”

You’ll also get a more reliable result if you weigh yourself first thing in the morning, as food and drink can change what the scale says for a few hours.

The best day to weigh yourself

Some research says you should weigh yourself on Wednesdays because it’s the middle of the week. Ludwiczak says Wednesdays are good, but you’re not tied to that day.

“Many people like to see what they weigh on Friday because they’ve had a consistent routine throughout the week,” she explains. “You see where your weight is after you’ve held a routine for five days. Then you can adjust your routine if you’re not seeing results.”

Reasons for “overnight” weight gain

Certain things may cause a rapid change on the scale, sending you into a panic. But take a breath — overnight weight gain is not a thing. “Some people ask why they seemingly gained five pounds overnight,” Ludwiczak says. “We know that 3,500 calories equals one pound of weight gain. If you’ve gained five pounds overnight, it’s unlikely that you ate 17,500 calories. It’s probably due to other factors.”

Water retention is a major cause of an overnight change on the scale. You might be retaining more water if you:

  • Ate high-sodium foods.
  • Drank alcohol.
  • Traveled, including flying or long drives.
  • Have premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or started your menstrual cycle.

If you’re retaining water without an obvious reason, see your doctor.

Maybe you’re not bloated, but your weight still went up overnight. In those cases, think about the last time you went to the bathroom. Constipation is another reason people see a rapid weight increase.

When the scale won’t budge

Even the most dedicated person can hit a weight-loss plateau, which is oh-so frustrating. But the number on the scale is a piece of your overall health, not the whole picture.

“During any health journey, there’s more than one way to measure success,” Ludwiczak says. “The scale is just one factor. You can also take body measurements once a week, such as your waist or thighs. Those measurements may show that you’re losing inches instead of pounds, suggesting you’re losing fat mass and gaining muscle, since muscle weighs more than fat.”

Look in your closet for another way to check in on your health goals. “Maybe your favorite pair of jeans fits better, even though you haven’t lost much weight,” Ludwiczak says. “This could be a sign that your body composition is changing, even though the scale isn’t reflecting that.”

Your weight doesn’t define you

Maybe you’ve got a number in mind, but your scale taunts you with another one. Don’t give up. It’s time to take some power away from the scale.

“You’re more than that number,” Ludwiczak says. “Your scale isn’t going to reflect all the positive changes you make. Think about how your food choices are making you healthier. Focus on the amazing mental and physical benefits of regular exercise. Maybe you have more energy to play with your kids. So many victories are not scale-related.”

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Why do you weigh less in the morning?

If you have ever stepped on the weighing scale early in the morning, you will know that you weigh a few kilos less in the morning and you have gained a lot of weight by bedtime. While the number on the weighing scale can be frustrating, did you ever wonder why you weigh lighter in the morning and heavier in the evening? Fitness expert Roshni Shah from V’s Fitness, Mumbai tells you why. Also Read - World Obesity Day: Expert decodes the right way to address the epidemic

The reason why you weigh a little less in the morning is because your body is dehydrated in the morning. Since two cups of water weigh around half a kilogramme, even a modest amount of water retention or dehydration can affect your weight throughout the day. In fact, drinking water before bed can keep you from getting dehydrated in the morning, so you are likely to weigh a little higher on the weighing scale. However, if you get up to use the washroom in the night, you will not retain that much water. Also Read - 6 possible causes of sudden weight gain that need attention right now

Another reason why you may weigh less in the morning is that you burned the calories from the food you ate at night. In fact, you may also see lower reading than normal in your weighing scale, if you have weighed yourself right before a workout. However, the low reading is not because of any changes in your body fat, but it is because you sweat a lot while working out which causes you to lose some water from your body. Here are obvious signs that you are putting on weight.

Avoid weighing yourself after dinner as it is usually the biggest meal of the day and the weight of the food and the beverages you consumed put together can make you weigh a lot.

That being said, there is no ideal time to weigh yourself in a day. The best thing to do is to weigh yourself every day around the same time to get the accurate comparison. Also, use these trackers to find out if you have lost weight.