Weight Trend

Understand MacroFactor's approach to weight trending

Your weight trend highlights meaningful changes in weight, free from large swings due to transient weight fluctuations related to total body water and gastrointestinal contents, and other factors.

What you need to know. Each day that you weigh in, MacroFactor will analyze the new data point in context of your scale weight over time to determine your Trend Weight Estimate. This estimate accounts for daily fluctuations in weight to help you understand the meaningful changes in weight that move you closer or further away from your physique goals. Weight Trend also underpins MacroFactor's expenditure calculation and safeguards your weekly budget against noise.

How does it work?

MacroFactor looks at your raw scale weight and fills in the gaps it sees using linear interpolation (in other words, if you weighed 151 pounds on Monday and 150 pounds on Wednesday, but you didn’t log your weight on Tuesday, the app will assume you weighed 150.5 pounds on Tuesday when calculating your weight trend). This data is called "Scale Weight" and appears as a pale line on the Weight Trend page. The Scale Weight is then analyzed using MacroFactor's algorithm to determine the Weight Trend line that appears in deep purple. The most recent value is used to present your Current Trend.

Getting the most out of Weight Trend. Weight Trend is resilient to missing weight entries. However, you will get the best results if you weigh in consistently. If you have a smart scale, we recommend that you connect it to MacroFactor through one of our data sources. That way, MacroFactor will automatically receive updates from your daily weigh-ins, without you having to enter your weight manually.


I logged my weight today, but the Weight Trend page shows a different number. Why is that?

Weight Trend is different from your "Scale Weight." To view your raw data, go to the Dashboard Page and scroll down until you see the Scale Weight. Tap the Scale Weight tile to view, edit, and add raw weight data. Weight Trend is based on your scale weight. It represents the meaningful state and changes of your body weight that is free from daily fluctuations related to total body water and gastrointestinal contents, and other factors.

Do I have to weigh in every day to get an accurate Weight Trend estimate?

No, the Weight Trend algorithm is resilient to gaps in data. However, we recommend that you weigh in daily or at least three times per week to get the best possible results.

Deep dive

Body weight data tends to be quite noisy. Even when you're not gaining or losing weight, it's not uncommon for your weight to fluctuate by a few pounds (or kilos). Your "weight trend" is the signal in all of that noise.

In technical terms, your weight trend is a moving average of your weight data that places greater emphasis on more recent weigh-ins. In practical terms, it tells you the overall direction your body weight is moving in, and the rate at which it's changing.

MacroFactor's most important calculations – your daily energy expenditure and your weekly calorie target – are based on changes in your weight trend, rather than changes in your scale weight. Focusing on your weight trend accomplishes two important purposes.

First, using trended weight ensures that our calorie recommendations won't swing around wildly, overreacting to fluctuations in scale weight. For example, let's assume you're trying to lose a pound (half a kilo) per week, and let's assume you weighed 185 pounds (84kg) last Sunday, and you weigh 187 pounds (85kg) this Sunday. Let's also assume that your dietary adherence was perfect for the past week. If we made dietary adjustments based on once-weekly weigh-ins or week-over-week changes in scale weight, we'd need to decrease your calorie targets precipitously. If we thought our calorie recommendations would let you lose a pound per week, but you actually gained two pounds, that would mean that we'd need to decrease your calorie targets by more than 1000 Calories per day to get you back on track.

However, your weight leading up to the 185-pound weigh-in last Sunday may have been averaging about 187 pounds, with 185 pounds representing a small downward deviation from the norm, and your weight leading up to the 187-pound weigh-in this Sunday may have been averaging 186 pounds, with 187 representing a small upward deviation from the norm. When we look at how your average weight is changing over time, it's perfectly in line with your goals, meaning we don't need to make any large changes to your calorie goals (and certainly not a change of >1000 Calories per day). Focusing on changes in your weight trend is a bit more sophisticated than simply looking at changes in your average weight week-to-week, but it's conceptually similar: it strips away a lot of the noise inherent in body weight data, allowing us to make more gradual (and accurate) adjustments to your calorie targets to keep you on track toward your goals.

The second benefit of focusing on trend weight is that it can help people maintain a bit more peace of mind when trying to gain or lose weight. When you're trying to lose weight, it may not be particularly fun to step on the scale and see you're a couple of pounds heavier than yesterday, and when you're trying to gain weight, it's not particularly fun to wake up a couple of pounds lighter than yesterday. However, your weight trend won't overreact to daily fluctuations in scale weight. It will show you if your overall trajectory is still in line with your goals. If you see that your weight trend is still heading in the right direction, that can take a bit of the disappointment out of a daily weigh-in that's a bit heavier or lighter than you'd prefer.

Additionally, your weight trend has an extra fringe benefit: it's generally fairly indicative of your "true" weight when you're attempting to gain or lose weight. It's helpful to think of your body weight as a range rather than a single fixed value, with your "true" weight being the midpoint of that range. Some days you'll be retaining a bit more water due to glycogen, sodium intake, or hydration status, and some days you'll be retaining a bit less water. Some days you'll weigh a bit more due to a larger mass of food in your intestines from the night before. These factors aren't necessarily reflective of long-term changes in energy storage and changes in body mass over time, but they can influence the number on the scale on a day-to-day basis, defining a range of potential body weights at any given point in time. However, the factors that influence where you'll fall within your range of potential body weights are influenced by your dietary intake. When you're in a calorie surplus, you'll generally have higher muscle glycogen levels, you'll generally have a bit more food digesting in your intestines, and you may even be a bit more hydrated (due to the water content of food). As a result, you'll generally be near the top of your range of potential body weights. Conversely, if you're in a calorie deficit, you'll generally have lower muscle glycogen levels, and you'll generally have a bit less food digesting in your intestines. As a result, you'll generally be close to the bottom of your range of potential body weights. If you transition from a calorie surplus to maintenance calories, it's not uncommon to lose a pound or two on the scale, as your body weight drifts back toward your "true" weight (the midpoint of your range of potential body weights day-to-day). Similarly, if you transition from a calorie deficit to maintenance calories, you'll generally gain a couple of pounds, as your day-to-day weigh-ins drift back toward your "true" weight.

Since your weight trend is back-looking (it's calculated based on your current weight, as well as previous weigh-ins), it'll generally be below your current scale weight when you're attempting to gain weight, and above your current scale weight when you're attempting to lose weight. As such, in addition to the most important benefits of focusing on your weight trend – peace of mind and less extreme/more appropriate calorie adjustments – your weight trend will give you a good idea of your "true" weight when you're in the process of gaining or losing weight.

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