Lose Water Weight the Natural Way
Water weight makes up an incredible amount of our body mass.
Water is essential as it is vital for our health and our sheer existence. On average, we should be drinking around 2 litres of water a day. This, of course, contributes to our water weight.
The human body is made up of around 55%-75% of water so water retention can be a problem for many people, it can cause swelling, weight gain, and aching, which leaves many people affected questioning how to lose water weight.
Learning how to lose water weight isn’t easy and there can be multiple causes behind the issue. This can range from a simple increase in your salt intake to more serious causes such as kidney disease.
If you are holding onto excess water (unintentionally) then you could be holding up to 10 pounds of extra weight at any given time. Fortunately, you can drop this water weight with just a few changes to your diet and lifestyle.
What is Water Weight?
Before we delve into it, let’s discuss what water weight is and how you get it first. It’s important to know what exactly water retention is and what the causes are.
Carbohydrates that you consume are converted into glucose which is used to provide energy for your cells. Those that remain get converted into glycogen, which is stored in your muscle cells and liver. These glycogen levels are efficient when you need the energy later in the day as they are quickly broken down to generate fuel for your activity.
For each gram of glycogen in storage, there are around three grams of water along with it, this shows that glycogen holds on to a lot of water. As a result, this can result in quite a lot of extra weight.
Keeping your exercise routine up or dieting creates an energy deficit. This means that when there isn’t enough glucose available your body will take the glycogen for extra energy.
The loss of the water attached to the glycogen can cause quick weight loss followed by ‘plateau’ after the glycogen levels become depleted.
When you start a new diet and start to lose weight quickly for the first few days, this is most likely water weight that you are losing, since after this your weight loss will most likely come to a swift and hard stop.
How do you get water weight?
What weight accumulates through several different possible causes of water retention. This can include your lifestyle or different health conditions.
Let’s go through the most common ways that people accumulate water weight…
Lack of exercise
As with most things, exercise is the key to everything. Well, not EVERYTHING, however, if you are sitting at your desk all day for long periods of time without any physical activity, this can lead to quite a lot of water retention. This is why it’s important to get some kind of activity in during the working day. Even just walking around the office or going to your car (not to sit in of course) can help prevent water weight.
Lack of protein
If you have a severe lack of protein then this can, and most likely will, lead to water retention. This is due to protein playing a considerable role in maintaining the balance of fluids through keeping salt and water inside the blood vessels and preventing it from leaking into the tissues.
Essentially, if you don’t get enough protein, this will most likely lead to water retention.
High intake of salt
There are several reasons why you need to keep an eye on your salt intake. To start with it keeps you healthy but also if you have a HIGH salt intake then you are increasing your chances of accumulating more water.
Sodium is an essential mineral which is involved in the balance of fluids. If you have a high blood pressure, then you might be sensitive to salt, so you be especially vulnerable to the adverse effects that come along with salt.
A build-up of fluids is perhaps one of the more severe symptoms of heart failure. When your heart doesn’t adequately pump blood throughout your body, blood can ‘pool’ up and push back in the vessels which can lead to fluid retention.
Changes in hormones
Particularly for a woman, changes in certain hormones such as progesterone and estradiol can be behind the shifts in fluid and water retention. Water weight can especially increase in the week before menstruation which can sum up to several pounds of excess fluid.
Luckily, these changes in weight are temporary and usually go back to normal within a few days.
When the bodies kidneys aren’t functioning correctly due to kidney disease, water can start to accumulate and build up which can cause weight gain and swelling. Patients who have kidney disease are most times, advised to limit how much fluids they consume to prevent water retention.
The WRONG way to lose water weight
Using medications like laxatives or diuretics can help lose weight, however, it can also lead to electrolyte disturbances and adverse effects on your health as well.
The adverse effects of an imbalance in electrolytes can be caused through the medications above, laxatives and diuretics, which can result in confusion, dry mouth, muscle cramps, heart palpitations, fatigue and more.
Not only is this unhealthy but they also produce short-term results, so not something you could continue doing for months, or maybe even years, on end. As soon as you start your normal diet routine, you will you will start to ‘refresh’ your glycogen stores and then gain the water weight back (with more water)!
Instead, you should try these tips to help you lose water weight safely.
The right way to lose water weight
There are safer methods that can be used to shift water weight.
Funnily enough, drinking water to stay hydrated can flush out your accumulated water and cut down on the water retention. If you aim to drink up to 50% of your body weight, then you should start seeing results soon after.
If you wish to increase your consumption of water then drink a glass before each meal and snack, or you can set yourself an alarm for regular intervals to remind yourself to drink.
Potassium is a mineral which is involved in the balance of fluids and can help water loss by increasing the urine output and lowering the levels of sodium.
Research published in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases suggested that by limiting your intake of potassium could lead to water retention and an increased blood pressure.
Experts recommend getting around 4,700 milligrams of potassium on a daily basis. Green vegetables, potatoes, avocados, tomatoes and more are rich in potassium. Include a few of those foods in your daily diet then you should start to see a change.
Sodium has a big hand to play in the retention of water. If you decrease your intake of sodium, then you should see the weight start to slide off. The recommended amount of daily sodium is 2,300 milligrams (this is equal to one teaspoon).
However, the salt shaker won’t cut it this time. Most processed foods are the best source of sodium, 77% to be exact. Cheeses, soups, savoury snacks, canned meats and frozen meals are packed to the brim with loads of sodium.
The best way to cut the amount of sodium you take is to unprocessed foods in your diet. If you have processed foods now and then that’s fine, however, try and go for ones which have a low-rate of sodium whenever possible.
Magnesium rich foods
Magnesium is a food which helps regulate fluid balance by promoting the production of urine. Multiple studies have found that after raising the intake of magnesium, water weight begins to slide off.
One of the studies looked at women who were supplemented with 200 milligrams of magnesium for two months. this resulted in a decrease in premenstrual symptoms which are related to water retention (weight gain, bloating, swelling etc.).