Do you feel like you’re carrying around more weight than you should be? “I don’t understand,” you may tell yourself. “I exercise and try to eat healthy, yet the scale shows that I’ve gained a few extra pounds!”
Those “extra pounds” you’re carrying around might be water weight.
Since your body contains anywhere from 55% to 75% water, your weight will fluctuate.
What Is Water Weight?
Water weight occurs when your body retains fluid—it is caused by a buildup of fluid in the circulatory system or in the body tissues.
It usually occurs when there is a change in pressure inside the capillaries; when the capillary walls are leaking, the water will stay in the tissues, which will cause swelling.
It can also occur if there is too much fluid in the lymphatic system. The fluid will remain in the tissues, which will cause swelling in the legs, ankles, feet, or any other parts where the fluids leaked. In other words, water retention isn’t pretty—it could make you look and feel bloated.
Is It Water Weight or Body Fat?
It can be tricky to determine whether or not the weight you are losing (or gaining) is water weight or body fat. As I mentioned above, our body contains anywhere from 55% to 75% water, while the rest of our body contains a mixture of muscle and fat. On a daily basis, our water weight can fluctuate anywhere from two to four pounds.
It is not possible to gain or lose that much body fat or muscle in one day. In order to gain one pound, you would need to consume an extra 3,500 calories on top of your daily intake. So if you notice this big of a difference in a day, chances are it is water weight. However, if the number on the scale stays the same for a few days, the weight gain or loss will most likely be fat or muscle.
How to Lose Your Water Weight
Here are a few steps you can take to lose your water weight:
1. Go hard with cardio
If you don’t already have a regular workout plan scheduled, then this is the first step you should take. Regularly doing cardiovascular exercise increases your heart rate, which contributes toburning fat. Working out also increases your metabolism and burns any residual toxins in your body that might be prone to retaining liquids. You should aim to exercise at least 30 to 60 minutes a day.
2. Reduce your sodium intake
Let’s say you already have an effective exercise routine in place, yet you are still carrying around excess water weight. Take a close look at your sodium intake. People who consume high-sodium meals tend to feel and look more bloated, because water molecules are attracted to sodium.
Too much sodium, in most cases, is what is responsible for water retention. You don’t have to completely cut salt out of your diet; just stay within the recommended daily range. Relatively healthy adults should aim for 1,500 mg of sodium per day and not exceed 2,300 mg.
3. Reduce your sugar intake
Too much sugar can result in higher levels of insulin in your body; this will lead to water retention. Try to increase the amount of protein and fiber in your diet and reduce your sugar intake. Protein and fiber contribute to building muscles, which can increase your metabolic rate and help burn fat.
4. Drink more water
Isn’t it ironic that drinking more water can get rid of water weight? You can’t get rid of water weight unless you consume the right amount of liquids. If you don’t consume enough fluids when exercising, your body will be dehydrated. As a result, every inch of water that your body consumes will be grabbed and held on to by tissues.
5. Go natural
Revamp your diet so that you are consuming more natural foods to help flush out the excess water. These foods can easily speed up the loss of water weight in your diet. Fruits and vegetables are a great source, because they also contain antioxidants that will eliminate free radicals.
Taking these steps will not only help to reduce excess water weight, but will also benefit your overall health and improve the way you look and feel. Your body will thank you by getting rid of that extra weight, and in return, will help you live a longer, healthier life.