For the past two weeks I’ve faithfully been following a balanced diet and exercising regularly. Last night I weighed myself and found out I lost 12 pounds! I was so excited that I couldn’t wait to weigh myself again this morning. I thought I’d be even thinner, but instead I gained back three pounds. What’s the story?

Chalk it up to plain ol’ water weight. Salt intake, hormonal changes, perspiration-all of these cause the body’s balance of fluids to fluctuate by as many as eight pounds from day to day. The better way to track weight loss: Limit yourself to weekly weigh-ins, and don’t despair if you see a slight upward spike. Losing “fluffy” fat and gaining lean, dense muscle mass may add a few pounds. For reassurance, slip into your favorite jeans right after your weigh-in. A looser fit is indisputable proof of progress.

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