Your body is holding on to excess water, and you can blame it on your menstrual cycle, dehydration, and salty snacks.
One day you step on the scale and see that you’ve lost a few pounds.
You gleam with joy, as you realize the new diet you’ve been on is finally working.
The next day you step on the scale and see that you’ve gained some pounds?
How is it possible to gain weight within 24 hours and why does it change on a day to day basis?
The answer is water weight and it mostly revolves around what you put into your body.
Water weight is extra water that your body holds on to and builds up in your tissues.
The excess fluid can make you look bloated in your midsection and make your ankles, legs, and hands swollen.
Water weight is a common issue that can be caused by a number of things including:
- Menstrual cycle & hormones
- Poor diet – high sodium intake
- Lack of physical activity
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help you lose water weight and keep it off for good.
Symptoms of Water Weight
Some people confuse water weight for belly fat, but water weight isn’t “fat” at all; it’s excess fluid.
Here are symptoms to look for to find out of your body is retaining water.
- swollen ankles, fingers, wrists
- stomach bloating (notably after meals)
- gaining weight in a short period of time
- a small indent remains on your skin after you’ve pressed against it.
What Causes Water Weight
Eating too many carbs – Carbohydrates are stored as glycogen, an energy source, in muscles and liver. Each gram of glycogen that gets stored away brings 3 grams of water with it.
Eating too much salty food (sodium) – Eating too much sodium causes your body to retain water to dilute the excessive amounts of sodium and keep the water-to-sodium ratio balanced.
Eating too much sugar – Eating sugary foods can cause your body to produce an excess amount of insulin. This leads to the build-up of salt & water in the kidneys, resulting in water weight.
Lack of physical activity – Exercise regularly to burn the glycogen stored up in your body and to sweat out excess water.
Menstrual cycle & hormones – Taking magnesium can help reduce water weight and alleviate your monthly cycle symptoms.
Pregnancy – Swelling in feet and ankles is common during pregnancy.
Medications – Water retention is a side effect of many medications. Research the list of side effects for any medications you’re taking to see if it’s the cause of your water weight.
Ways to get rid of water weight
Exercise regularly – Sweating will help eliminate excess water from your body and reduce your water weight.
Drink more water – Dehydration makes your body hold on to water.
Drinking water on a regular basis will keep you hydrated and stop your body from retaining extra water. It’s recommended that adults drink 2 liters of water a day.
Reduce the amount of sodium (salt) you eat – Sodium is hidden in a lot of processed & packaged foods such as salad dressings, frozen entrees, and snack foods.
Always check the nutrition facts label to see how much sodium is in the food product.
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend adults should eat no more than 2300 mg of sodium per day to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Cut carbohydrates– Your body will store less glycogen when you cut out carbohydrates. A lower amount of glycogen stores equals a lower amount of water weight.
Take magnesium or eat foods rich in magnesium – Magnesium can help alleviate PMS symptoms such as bloating, tenderness in breasts, and water retention.
Some magnesium-rich foods include dark chocolate, bananas, kale, avocados, and spinach.
Eat diuretic foods– Certain foods act as diuretics by removing extra water and salt from the body when you urinate. A few diuretic foods are:
Consider diuretic herbs – There are natural herbs that work as a diuretic by increasing urination flow. A hot cup of tea with one of these herbs can reduce your water retention:
- Damiana leaves
- Dandelion leaves
- Butcher’s broom
- Nettle leaves
Get some rest– Sleep is important and it plays a role in getting rid of your water weight. Aim to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night.
Reduce your stress levels – Stress causes your adrenal gland to produce more aldosterone, the hormone that regulates salt and water in the body.
While it’s easier said than done, try to reduce your stress levels by taking breaks during your workday and relaxing when you get home from work or school.
Water weight is a common issue that can be caused by a poor diet, not exercising, and hormone changes. To get rid of water weight, exercise regularly and stick to a healthy lifestyle. If you have any concerns about your water weight, talk to your physician.