Losing weight can be challenging for some people, especially when you want to make sure the weight loss comes from fat not muscle. On the bright side, though, there is something called water weight, which is far easier to get rid of, and can provide at the very least a morale boost at the start of your weight loss journey.
Chances are, if you’ve had a temporary unexplained weight gain, that it probably is your body holding onto excess water. Why does this happen and how do you get rid of excess water?
Water and Weight Loss
The average human body is made up of about 60% water, so of course water and hydration are going to play a key role in weight loss. Being properly hydrated can affect many of the body’s functions. People who want to lose weight need to stay hydrated so that their system has the necessary means to flush the fat away and still maintain energy levels to keep the momentum going. When working out, staying hydrated is key to building muscles as water helps transport needed nutrients throughout tissues, including muscles. Also, if a person allows themselves to become dehydrated they can find themselves feeling lethargic and have a lack of energy, sometimes for days following the dehydration.
Drink Water to Lose Weight
Drinking water is essential to a healthy life, and plays an important role in not just weight loss but overall weight regulation. If your body senses itself becoming dehydrated it will begin to hold on to water wherever it can, resulting in swollen extremities, like your hands, feet, and ankles – this is called water retention (your body retaining water).
Dehydration is one of the main causes of water weight, as the body works to hold onto every drop of water it can, in case of emergency. Staying hydrated by increasing water intake and consistently drinking enough water signals to your body to stop retaining this water. Drinking water not only helps your body get rid of toxins, but is also a proven way to help reduce the development of fat deposits.
When you drink enough water, you will often find that you are not as hungry, particularly if you drink a glass of water before your meal. Also, are you really hungry? Sometimes when you are thirsty, you will get confused at the signal and you will think that you are hungry instead, causing you to overeat.
What is Water Weight?
Water weight is another name for temporary weight gained by your body because of water retention. Some water weight is natural, for example, women will notice that hormones can cause a slight gain in water weight during their natural cycles.
Abnormal water weight can be caused by too much salt in your diet which causes your kidneys to tell the body to hold onto extra water to help balance and dilute the salt to a more normal rate before flushing it out of your body. Water weight can also be caused by a sedentary lifestyle (for example if you’re not getting enough activity due to a desk job), and is common among frequnet travelers who forget to hydrate during their travels.
Other hormonal imbalances may cause water weight which is abnormal and if they continue, consult with your doctor.
Is Water Weight Good or Bad?
In most cases, having abnormal water weight gain is bad, and all you have to do is look at the causes of water weight gain to understand why.
Water weight gain due to poor hydration habits can cause extra strain on your kidneys and liver, in addition to other organs and overall body health and functioning.
Water weight gain from too much salt or sodium similarly strains your body and makes your organs work overtime to flush the excess salt from your body.
Water weight gain from menstrual cycles is a completely normal function of your body and while it may be uncomfortable and/or frustrating, keep in mind it is temporary and healthy for your body.
Water weight from a sedentary lifestyle is not good, and strives should be taken to try to break up the seated time so that it does not occur. Ideas for this include, more frequent breaks for shorter time spans, also using lunch time to get in a brisk walk.
How to Lose Water Weight Fast
This is going to sound counterintuitive but to lose water wight, the single best thing you can do is to drink more water.
Think about what happens when you drink more water:
- Your body doesn’t retain water because it’s consistently getting enough of it
- Your body does a better job of maintaining healthy organs and musculature
- Your body does a better job of flushing toxins, and regulating other bodily functions
- Your body does a better job of absorbing nutrients from food and keeping you full from food for longer
All of these things combined give your body the resources it needs to function optimally as well as burn fat more efficiently.
- Drink enough water based on what your body tells you, not a random number like 8 cups – the amount of water you need will vary based on your size, activity level, and types of foods you eat. Listen to your body and drink enough water.
- Eat foods rich in Potassium, while avoiding diuretics such as caffeine and alcohol, and foods high in salt or sodium (especially processed foods)
The bottom line is, drink your water and your body will thank you by letting go of the water it is holding onto.
Diuretics to Lose Water Weight
It may be tempting to take diuretics in order to drop the water weight fast, but in doing so, your body also releases things it needs in that flushing. If you use diuretics, you may end up flushing important nutrients and electrolytes from your body. This can do more harm than good in the long-term.