What is water weight and how to lose it

Contents

How to lose weight on water diet

8 Things That Can Make You Gain Water Weight

Plus, how to beat the bloat.

You’ve probably heard that when you lose weight fast, it’s usually water weight. Or maybe you point fingers at water weight after stepping on the scale when you’re feeling totally bloated. But what exactly is water weight–and how do you get rid of it?

Water weight is when fluid collects in your tissues, causing them to swell–and it can make you feel pretty miserable. “Water weight is where the body retains fluid that normally would go to the kidneys,” explains Lynn Mack, MD, associate professor of internal medicine at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Instead of peeing out that extra fluid, your body stores it between your organs and skin, she says.

That can be uncomfortable–but it’s usually temporary, and it doesn’t mean you’ve gained actual weight.

Of course, simply knowing that water weight often goes away on its own doesn’t make bloating or swelling feel any better. So here are some tips on how to both prevent water weight and lose it if it’s already there.

Causes of water weight

Salt and carbs. One of the most common causes of water weight is too much salt in your diet. Sodium binds with water and keeps it trapped in the body. “The higher the sodium in the diet, the more fluid retention a person will have,” says Dr. Mack.

Carbs can also have an impact on fluid retention, specifically if you start adding them back after a period of restricting them.

“The carbohydrates we don’t use right away for energy we store as glycogen,” explains Joanna Sheill DiCicco, a registered dietitian at Henry Ford Center for Health Promotion in Detroit. “Glycogen pulls in water, so the more glycogen we are storing, the more water we are taking in.”

“When we are on restrictive diets and at first lose weight quickly, that really is just water weight from the loss of stored glycogen from our muscles,” says DiCicco.

Menstruation. Many women retain water weight the week before their period due to fluctuating hormones. Fluid retention may reach its peak the first day of your actual period, before subsiding for that cycle.

“With this type of fluid retention, the breasts can get really tender and some women get belly fullness,” says Dr. Mack.

You might also notice swelling in your face, legs, arms, and pubic area in the days leading up to your period.

Pregnancy. Pregnancy can cause you to gain water weight, especially as you get closer to your due date. You may see swelling in your hands, feet, or ankles. Hormones are partly to blame, but your growing baby also puts strain on your blood vessels.

“With pregnancy, you have a big belly so the [pressure causes] the fluid to go out into the tissues, and it has trouble getting back into the vessels,” says Jennifer Wu, MD, an ob-gyn at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

If your only symptom is swelling, it’s probably normal (although the weight may not all come off the minute you deliver your baby). If you have sudden swelling that hurts, you may have developed a blood clot (especially if the problem is only in one leg) or a spike in blood pressure. Either way, if you have these symptoms, get to a doctor right away.

Hormonal birth control. Just like there’s a connection between pregnancy and menstruation and water retention, hormonal birth control can also sometimes cause water weight.

Both the estrogen and progestin in birth control pills can be culprits, says Dr. Mack. Usually the water weight isn’t major and doesn’t last long, Dr. Wu adds, but you may want to talk to your ob-gyn about other birth control options.

Cortisol. Cortisol is best known as a “stress hormone,” although it’s actually much more than that. It’s involved in keeping blood sugar levels stable, balancing metabolism, reducing inflammation, and even forming memories.

Water retention as a result of elevated cortisol levels isn’t common, but it can happen.

“You’d have to have a pathophysiologic release of cortisol for that,” says Dr. Mack. In other words, there would have to be a lot of cortisol. “Just being stressed won’t do that.” (Phew.)

Cushing syndrome, for instance, might cause water retention. This is when tumors on the pituitary or adrenal glands release too much cortisol into the blood. People with low levels of thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism) can develop swelling around their eyes, says Dr. Mack.

Travel. Sitting for long periods of time on cross-country flights or lengthy road trips can cause water retention.

“Your muscles contract literally from sitting for too long,” says Dr. Mack, and your feet and legs may swell in response as the fluid pools there.

Medications. Certain meds can cause you to retain fluid. These include drugs for high blood pressure like calcium channel blockers, corticosteroids, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Some diabetes drugs, called thiazolidinediones, also do this.

Your doctor or pharmacist will be able to tell you if fluid retention is a side effect of any medications you’re taking and if there are alternatives that might not cause water weight.

Poor circulation. Our circulatory systems become weaker as we get older, or sometimes as the result of a more serious condition like heart failure (which is also more common as we age), says Elizabeth Kavaler, MD, a urologist with Lenox Hill Hospital.

The valves in the veins of our legs, which are supposed to keep blood flowing upward to the heart, collapse a little, so the blood pools in the lower extremities and causes fluid retention.

“It’s physics,” says Dr. Mack. “You just get more pressure pushing down on those legs.”

How to lose water weight (or at least control it)

Avoid super-salty foods. It’s not so much the saltshaker on your table you have to worry about, it’s processed foods. These contribute about 75% of our salt intake, according to the FDA, since many use salt as a preservative.

“All of your processed, packaged foods are going to have more sodium simply because [the manufacturers] want them to stay on the shelf longer,” says DiCicco.

Cook from scratch when you can, using non-processed items like fresh fruits and vegetables. If you do need a packaged item, read the label and compare sodium content across similar products.

Drink MORE water. You might think that putting more water into your body just adds more water weight. In fact, the opposite is true. If your body feels starved for water, it will hold on to whatever water it has.

If you’re retaining water, make sure you’re getting plenty of H2O, especially if you’re also eating salty foods.

It might also help to limit tea, coffee, and alcohol, all of which can be dehydrating. Cranberry juice, on the other hand, has a slight diuretic effect and may help flush out some excess water.

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Exercise regularly. Physical activity is key to losing water weight. Not only will you be sweating out some fluid, but you’ll also get thirsty and want to drink more water, says DiCicco.

Moving around can also help decrease puffiness. If you’re driving long distances, stop the car at regular intervals so you can get out and stretch your legs. Walk around when you can on planes, buses, or trains, and do simple exercises with your feet and legs while seated.

Regular exercise is also important if you’re pregnant (although resting with your feet up is smart as well).

Eat hydrating foods. This is almost as good as drinking water. “Foods that have a high water content help with increasing one’s overall hydration,” says DiCicco. Taking in more fluids–even in the form of hydrating foods–will ultimately help your body excrete water, she says.

Watermelon, spinach, strawberries, and cantaloupe, among other fruits and veggies, all have a lot of water.

Eating potassium-rich foods like tomatoes and sweet potatoes (and most fruits and vegetables) can also help you get rid of excess salt, says DiCicco.

How Drinking More Water Can Help You Lose Weight

For a long time, drinking water has been thought to help with weight loss.

In fact, 30–59% of US adults who try to lose weight increase their water intake (1, 2).

Many studies show that drinking more water may benefit weight loss and maintenance (3).

This article explains how drinking water can help you lose weight.

Most of the studies listed below looked at the effect of drinking one, 0.5 liter (17 oz) serving of water.

Drinking water increases the amount of calories you burn, which is known as resting energy expenditure (4).

In adults, resting energy expenditure has been shown to increase by 24–30% within 10 minutes of drinking water. This lasts at least 60 minutes (5, 6).

Supporting this, one study of overweight and obese children found a 25% increase in resting energy expenditure after drinking cold water (7).

A study of overweight women examined the effects of increasing water intake to over 1 liter (34 oz) per day. They found that over a 12-month period, this resulted in an extra 2 kg (4.4 lbs) of weight loss (8).

Since these women didn’t make any lifestyle changes except to drink more water, these results are very impressive.

Additionally, both of these studies indicate that drinking 0.5 liters (17 oz) of water results in an extra 23 calories burned. On a yearly basis, that sums up to roughly 17,000 calories — or over 2 kg (4.4 lbs) of fat.

Several other studies have monitored overweight people who drank 1-1.5 liters (34–50 oz) of water daily for a few weeks. They found a significant reduction in weight, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference and body fat (8, 9, 10).

These results may be even more impressive when the water is cold. When you drink cold water, your body uses extra calories to warm the water up to body temperature.

Bottom Line:Drinking 0.5 liters (17 oz) of water may increase the amount of calories burned for at least an hour. Some studies show that this can lead to modest weight loss.

Water May Be Secret Weapon in Weight Loss

Study Shows Drinking Water Helps People Lose Weight and Keep the Pounds Off

This content has not been reviewed within the past year and may not represent WebMD’s most up-to-date information.

To find the most current information, please enter your topic of interest into our search box.

“>From the WebMD Archives

Aug. 23, 2010 — Drinking water before each meal has been shown to help promote weight loss, according to a new study.

Brenda Davy, PhD, an associate professor of nutrition at Virginia Tech and senior author of a new study, says that drinking just two 8-ounce glasses of water before meals helps people melt pounds away.

The study is being presented at the 2010 National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Boston.

“We are presenting results of the first randomized controlled intervention trial demonstrating that increased water consumption is an effective weight loss strategy,” Davy says in a news release. “We found in earlier studies that middle aged and older people who drank two cups of water right before eating a meal ate between 75 and 90 fewer calories during the meal.”

She tells WebMD that many people substitute sweet-tasting calorie-containing beverages for water.

“If you look at research on beverage consumption trends, our average intake of sugar-sweetened beverages has increased dramatically in the past three or four decades,” Davy tells WebMD in an email. “So, likely we are drinking other beverages in place of water.”

Drinking Water and Weight Loss

Her study included 48 adults between age 55 and 75 who were divided into two groups.

One group drank two cups of water before meals and the other didn’t. All participants ate a low-calorie diet throughout the study.

After 12 weeks, water drinkers lost about 15.5 pounds, compared to non-water-drinking dieters, who lost only 11 pounds.

Davy tells WebMD that the study participants drank about 1.5 cups of water per day prior to joining in the study.

Not only were those who drank water before meals more successful after 12 weeks, but they also kept “the weight off for a full year after the weight loss study.”

Even better, most water drinkers, followed for an additional 12 months, not only kept weight off but “even lost another 1 to 2 pounds,” she tells WebMD.

The message, she says, is clear: “People should drink more water and less sugary, high-calorie drinks.”

How Water Aids Weight Loss

She points out that folklore and everyday experience both have suggested that water promotes weight loss, but little scientific information has been offered on the topic.

This doesn’t mean that good old H2O is a magic potion, but that drinking water may help people shed pounds for the simple reason that it has no calories and fills up the stomach, making people less hungry.

Davy says water makes people feel fuller, inducing them to eat less food. She also offers good news for those who prefer diet sodas and other drinks with artificial sweeteners, saying such liquid refreshment fills people up, too. But she advises against drinking beverages made tasty with sugar and high fructose corn syrup, which are high in calories.

Davy says no one knows how much water people should drink daily, and that the federal Institute of Medicine says healthy people can let thirst be their guide.

However, she recommends that women drink about nine cups of fluids every day, including water and other beverages, and men about 13 cups.

It is possible, she adds, to drink too much water, which can lead to a rare but serious condition known as water intoxication.

The study was funded by the Institute for Public Health and Water Research, a nonprofit, independent science and education organization.

This study was presented at a medical conference. The findings should be considered preliminary as they have not yet undergone the “peer review” process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.

News release, American Chemical Society.

2010 National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, Boston, Aug. 22-26, 2010.

Brenda Davy, PhD, associate professor, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.

How to Lose Water Weight the Right Way

Published: September 18, 2017

Water is crucial to health and accounts for a pretty big chunk of your body composition. In fact, the human body is made up of between 55 percent to 75 percent water. (1) Still, water retention is a common problem and can cause issues like swelling, aches and weight gain, leading many to wonder how to lose water weight.

Learning how to lose water weight can be tricky, and there can be many different causes behind water retention, ranging from high salt intake to kidney disease.

If you’re holding on to excess water, you could be carrying an extra five to 10 pounds at any given time. Some case studies have even reported on patients with up to 88 pounds of edema, or water retention, as a result of multiple health issues. (2)

Luckily, making just a few simple lifestyle modifications can help you drop the water weight — and keep it off for good.

What Is Water Weight?

Before we can discuss how to lose water weight, it’s important to understand what exactly water retention is and what causes it.

When you eat carbohydrates, many are converted into glucose (sugar) and used to provide energy for the cells. The leftovers are then converted into glycogen, which is stored in the liver and muscle cells. If you need more energy later and there’s no glucose available, these glycogen stores can be quickly broken down and turned into glucose for fuel.

Glycogen holds on to a lot of water. In fact, for each gram of glycogen in storage, there are three grams of water attached to it. As you can imagine, that can add up to quite a bit of extra weight. (3)

If you’ve ever started a new diet or workout routine and found that the pounds slid right off for the first few days only to slow down to a screeching halt a few days later, this is because what you’ve lost initially was water weight.

Dieting or increasing your exercise routine creates an energy deficit, and when there’s not enough glucose available, your body has to pull from those glycogen stores for extra energy.

The loss of all the water attached to the glycogen causes quick weight loss followed by a plateau once your glycogen stores have been depleted.

How You Accumulate Water Weight

The next step in learning how to lose water weight is looking at how it can accumulate. There are several potential causes of water retention, from various health conditions to specific lifestyle factors.

Some of the most common causes of water retention include:

  • High Salt Intake: There are many reasons to keep your salt intake in check, and preventing the buildup of water weight is just one of them. Sodium is an important mineral involved in fluid balance, and excess intake can lead to water retention. Those who have high blood pressure may be “salt-sensitive” and are especially prone to the negative effects of salt.
  • Protein Deficiency: Severe protein deficiency can lead to fluid accumulation. This is because protein plays a major role in maintaining fluid balance by keeping salt and water inside the blood vessels and stopping it from leaking into the tissues. If you’re not getting enough protein in your diet, it can eventually lead to water retention. (4)
  • Physical Inactivity: Whether you spend the whole day standing on your feet or you’re sitting at the desk for long periods of time, too much physical inactivity can lead to water weight accumulation. This can cause your tissues to hold on to extra water, leading to swelling, especially in your feet and ankles.
  • Hormonal Changes: For women in particular, changes in the levels of certain hormones, like estradiol and progesterone, could be to blame for shifts in fluid and water retention. Increases in water weight are particularly common in the week before menstruation and can account for several pounds of excess fluid. Fortunately, these weight changes are temporary and return to normal shortly after. (5)
  • Heart Failure: Fluid buildup is one of the more serious symptoms of heart failure. When your heart isn’t pumping blood efficiently, blood can pool and back up in the vessels, leading to fluid retention. Excess fluid as a result of heart failure can lead to dramatic changes in weight and symptoms like fatigue and shortness of breath. (6)
  • Kidney Disease: The kidneys are like a filtration system for the body. When they aren’t able to work effectively because of kidney disease, water can start to build up and cause swelling and weight gain. Oftentimes, patients with kidney disease are advised to limit their fluid intake to prevent water retention.
  • Medications: Many different types of medications can contribute to the buildup of water weight, such as NSAID pain relievers, oral contraceptives and some heart medications.

How to Lose Water Weight Safely

1. Exercise

Physical inactivity is one of the main culprits of water retention, so getting up and moving is one simple way to help shed water weight quickly and prevent tissues from holding on to excess water in your feet and ankles. Of course, increasing your physical activity is a win-win, because it can also help you lose fat and build muscle too.

Exercising can also cause you to lose water weight by burning up glycogen to provide energy. Not only does this deplete the glycogen stored in your liver and muscles, but it also removes all the water that is attached to it to cause water weight loss.

Note that this doesn’t mean you have to hit the gym twice a day to prevent water weight buildup. Instead, it can be as simple as practicing a few exercise hacks, like using the stairs instead of the elevator, taking a walk during your lunch break, or making sure to get up from the couch or computer for a quick stretch once an hour.

2. Monitor Your Sodium Intake

Because of the major role that sodium has in fluid regulation, decreasing your sodium intake is one of the most effective methods for how to lose water weight. The most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting your daily sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams per day, which is equal to about one teaspoon or six grams. (7)

Surprisingly, the salt shaker isn’t the main source of sodium in the diet. In fact, an estimated 77 percent of sodium in the average diet comes from processed foods. (8)

Foods like canned meats, cold cuts, cheeses, frozen meals, soups and savory snacks can pack in tons of added sodium.

The best way to slash sodium intake is to include mostly whole, unprocessed foods in your diet. If you do have canned or processed foods from time to time, remember to opt for low-sodium varieties whenever possible to keep sodium content to a minimum..

3. Eat Adequate Protein

Protein plays a big part in maintaining fluid balance and keeping water and salt from leaking out into the tissues, so getting enough protein into your diet is crucial for avoiding water accumulation.

This is especially important for those on any kind of restrictive diet. Vegetarians and vegans, for example, should be especially mindful about monitoring protein intake.

So how much protein do you actually need? A good rule of thumb is to aim for one gram of protein for each kilogram of body weight. Someone who is 150 pounds, for example, weighs 68 kilograms and should try to consume at least 68 grams of protein per day.

Good sources of protein include seafood, poultry, lean cuts of beef and pork, eggs, beans and legumes. Go for fresh meats and low-sodium varieties of canned beans to prevent high salt intake and further cut down on water retention.

4. Increase Your Potassium Intake

Much like sodium, potassium is another mineral that is involved in fluid balance and may aid in water loss by both increasing urine output and decreasing sodium levels. (9)

In fact, one study published in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases showed that restricting potassium intake led to an increase in water retention as well as an increase in blood pressure. (10)

It is recommended to get in at least 4,700 milligrams of potassium daily. High-potassium foods include leafy green vegetables, bananas, potatoes, avocados and tomatoes. Include a few servings of these foods each day, and watch the water weight slide right off.

5. Eat More Magnesium-Rich Foods

Magnesium also helps regulate fluid balance by increasing urine production, and several studies have found that raising your magnesium intake could reduce water weight.

In one study, women were supplemented with 200 milligrams of magnesium for two months, which was found to decrease premenstrual symptoms related to water retention, including weight gain, swelling and bloating. (11)

Most adults need between 310–420 milligrams of magnesium each day. Magnesium is especially high in leafy greens, such as spinach and chard, avocados, almonds, and black beans.

6. Stay Hydrated

Keeping well-hydrated can help flush out water and cut down on fluid accumulation quickly and easily. You should typically aim to drink between 25 percent to 50 percent of your body weight in ounces of water each day.

If you’re looking to up your water intake, drink a glass of water before each meal and snack, or try setting a timer to remind yourself to drink regularly.

Besides drinking plenty of water, you can also include a few hydrating foods in your diet as well. Fruits and veggies are the best choices, with watermelon, celery, strawberries, cucumber and lettuce topping the charts as the most hydrating foods available.

How Not to Lose Water Weight

A quick Internet search for how to lose water weight quickly and you’re bound to turn up plenty of unhealthy fad diets and quick fixes that involve a day or two of severely limiting your intake in favor of dropping a few pounds.

The use of medications like diuretics or laxatives can cause water loss but can also lead to electrolyte disturbances and negative effects on health as well.

Some of the negative symptoms of electrolyte imbalance caused by diuretics or laxatives include muscle cramps, confusion, dry mouth, drowsiness, fatigue and even heart palpitations.

Not only are these practices unhealthy and potentially unsafe, but they also produce only short-term and temporary results. As soon as you resume your usual diet or stop taking these medications, you’ll be replenishing your glycogen stores and gaining the water weight back — with interest.

Instead, the best way to lose water weight is by maintaining a well-rounded, balanced diet rich in essential vitamins and minerals and getting regular exercise. This helps prevent the buildup of water weight while also promoting optimal health.

Precautions with How to Lose Water Weight

Those with medical conditions contributing to fluid retention, such as heart failure or kidney disease, should consult with their doctors for recommendations as fluid restrictions are sometimes necessary for these conditions.

Those who suffer from kidney disease should also discuss with their doctors or dietitians before making any major dietary changes. For these individuals, increasing potassium intake, for example, can lead to dangerous alterations in levels of blood potassium.

Final Thoughts on How to Lose Water Weight

Holding on to excess water weight or watching the scale constantly fluctuate can be a frustrating problem to have.

However, there are many possible causes for fluid buildup, and learning how to lose water weight is simple once you determine what’s behind your water retention.

Practicing a healthy lifestyle with regular physical activity, a balanced diet and plenty of water can easily help flush out the excess weight and added pounds.

Meanwhile, fad diets, quick fixes and diuretics/laxatives are not the right route for how to lose water weight the right way. Instead, the top six ways to lose water weight are:

  1. Exercise
  2. Monitor your sodium intake
  3. Eat adequate protein
  4. Increase your potassium intake
  5. Eat more magnesium-rich foods
  6. Stay hydrated

Read Next: How to Gain Weight Fast in a Safe Way

From the sound of it, you might think leaky gut only affects the digestive system, but in reality it can affect more. Because Leaky Gut is so common, and such an enigma, I’m offering a free webinar on all things leaky gut. Click here to learn more about the webinar.

8 Tips to Lose Water Weight Fast

Water weight is the extra water that’s stored throughout your body. Sometimes your body retains too much water. This condition is called edema or fluid retention, and is a common side effect of chronic inflammation. (1)

Excess water retention is caused by many things, from poor diet, lack of sleep, and sometimes disease.

It’s normally a temporary condition, and often comes after overindulging in food and drinks. Women often suffer from fluid retention during their menstrual cycle and pregnancy.

Although it’s not serious, excess water weight can cause some people to feel sluggish, uncomfortable, and can have a negative effect on their appearance and quality of life.

So whether you have a big event coming up, feel extra bloated, or just need to drop a few pounds quickly, losing water weight is one of easier things you can do. It may just be temporary, but sometimes it’s the difference between fitting into your clothes comfortably, and not fitting into them at all.

Here are my 8 simple tips how to lose water weight fast and safely.

#1. Drink More Water

Your body is made up of about 60% water, and it plays a key role in almost every function of your organs and cells. (2)

If you know me, you know that I LOVE water. Drinking more water is one of the easiest things you can do to improve your weight loss, and interesting enough, drinking water can help you lose water weight. (3,4)

The reason drinking more water helps you lose water weight is because oftentimes, if your body is in a state of dehydration, it tends to hold onto as much water as it can. By drinking water, you help restore the fluid balances in your body, and you lose water weight fast. (5)

Here is a video I made on how to make infused water drinks, which can help you to drink more water:

The benefits of drinking water go beyond weight loss as well, it includes improved health, mood, mental sharpness, digestive regularity, and more. (6,7)

If you’re wondering “how much water should I drink to lose weight”, I recommend you read my article on how much water to drink a day. Also, keep an eye on the color of your urine. It should be light and yellow, not dark or brownish. That is a clear sign of dehydration.

Key Point: Dehydration causes your body to hold onto water since there isn’t adequate amounts being consumed. Make sure to drink the right amount of water every day.

#2. Manage Your Salt Intake

Your body requires salt (sodium) to function, but too much salt in your diet can lead to water retention. This is especially true if you are already dehydrated. (8)

You may think that avoiding the salt shaker is enough to avoid too much salt, but did you know the majority of the salt in your diet often comes from processed foods?

Processed meats, frozen meals, canned foods, and packaged snacks are some of the most common sources of excess sodium, so avoid them if you’re trying to lose water weight fast.

Key Point: Too much salt may cause your body to retain water resulting in bloating and swelling.

#3. Exercise

When it comes to reducing water weight fast, exercise is one of the best and most effective ways available. Exercising causes your body to sweat, which directly reduces the amount of fluids in your body. (9)

It also helps reduce the swelling in your skin so you don’t look so bloated and puffy. (10)

Try to do cardio or aerobic exercises which elevate your heart rate and cause your body to sweat more. Steam rooms and saunas are also good ways to get your sweat going as well. (11)

Key Point: Exercise helps your body naturally control fluid levels. Even a short sweat session can help decrease bloating and improve water weight loss.

#4. Get More Sleep

When it come to your health, sleep is almost as important as diet and exercise.

Studies have shown that adequate sleep is essential for maintaining proper body hydration levels and to reduce water retention. (12)

Try to get a good night’s sleep if you want to reduce water weight. For most people that is around 7-9 hours. Turn off all electronic screens at least 30 minutes prior to your planned sleep time for a deeper more restful night’s sleep. (13)

Key Point: Getting enough sleep is essential if you want to reduce water weight. Aim for 7-9 hours per night.

#5. Cut Out Processed Food

One of the main sources of sodium in our diets comes from processed foods. Most processed meats, prepackaged snacks, frozen dinners, and canned foods are high in sodium.

At Lose Weight by Eating, we advocate clean eating, which means your food comes from a natural source without additives or preservatives.

Eating whole foods that are not processed or minimally processed, as close to their natural form as possible, will help you lose water weight quickly and it tastes better, too!

Key Point: Cutting out processed food and eating whole, natural foods will help you reduce water weight and enable you to lose more weight in the long term.

#6. Eat More Potassium

There are certain foods that act as natural diuretics and help your body fight water bloat.

In particular, foods that contain a lot of potassium, an essential mineral, are known to regulate water retention. Not enough potassium in your diet may cause unnecessary fluid retention. (14)

How to lose the water weight

The following are foods that are high in potassium: Acorn squash, apricots, artichokes, avocado, bananas, cantaloupe, carrots, dates, dried beans, kiwi, lentils, mango, oranges, peas, papaya, tomatoes, yogurt, and green leafy vegetables.

Key Point: Eat more potassium rich foods to help your body release excess water.

#7. Cut Out The Carbs

Did you know that the carbohydrates stored in your muscles and liver include excess water?

When you eat carbohydrates, your body uses some as energy right away and converts the rest into glycogen. As your body stores glycogen, it also brings water with it. For every gram of glycogen you store, 3 – 4 grams of water may be stored along with it. (15)

High carb foods like bread, pasta, pastries, rice, crackers, tortillas, bagels, muffins, sweetened beverages and desserts all affect your body the same way.

A low carb diet forces your body to rely on the glycogen stores in your body, which helps rid your body of excess water weight.

Key Point: Reducing carbs from your diet can help you lose water weight since it forces your body to rely on the stored glycogen in your body.

#8. Eat More Fiber

Fiber helps remove waste, excessive nutrients and water from your body. If your diet is low in fiber, you may be retaining extra water weight.

Your body does not digest fiber, and so it passes through your intestines without breaking down. Since fiber absorbs a large amount of water as it moves through your intestines, it helps reduce water weight.

The daily recommendation for fiber is 38 g for men and 25 g for women. For those over 50, men only need 30 g of fiber per day, and women 21 g.

Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, cereal, pasta, legumes, nuts and seeds are all good sources of fiber.

Key Point: Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables can help you increase your fiber intake and reduce excess water weight by relieving bloating from constipation

Conclusion of How to Lose Water Weight

When it comes to how to lose water weight fast, it’s important to figure out why you’re retaining water in the first place and address that problem.

It may be due to too much salt in your diet, not enough exercise, too much stress, or a generally poor diet full of processed foods.

If you’re not losing water weight after making healthy lifestyle changes, it may be due to a medical condition, and you should see a doctor immediately.

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Drinking Water Helps You Lose More Weight, Study Finds

Chug a couple glasses of water before eating a meal, and you may eat less without even trying.

Those are the results from a new study published in the journal Obesity, in which researchers rounded up obese adults to see if drinking water before eating could help them shed pounds.

“If you look at any sort of weight management programs, they all say drinking lots of water is a really good thing,” says study author Dr. Amanda Daley of the University of Birmingham in the UK. “We said, let’s go see what the actual evidence is for this.”

Finding little in the literature, Daley and her colleagues recruited 84 adults with obesity for a 12-week experiment. Everyone was given general weight loss advice, then assigned to one of two groups. One group was told to drink 500 ml—about 16 oz—of water half an hour before their meals, while the other group was told to simply imagine their stomachs were full before meals.

The researchers monitored everyone’s weight at the start, middle and end of the experiment, along with their urine to make sure the water-boosted group was indeed drinking more water. They kept track of physical activity, too, which didn’t change.

The group that loaded up on water lost about three more pounds than the group that didn’t up their water intake. And the more they drank, the better the results; people who drank 16 ounces before every meal lost about 4.3 kg, or 9 pounds, over the course of the experiment. “That’s about what you get from going to Weight Watchers for 12 weeks,” Daley says. “That’s a real success.” (Weight Watchers counts weekly weight loss of half a pound to two pounds as on track.)

Water might be so effective because, obviously, “it fills you up” and helps increase satiety, Daley says. Drinking a couple glasses of water 30 minutes before a meal gives you time to feel fuller, which can help shape decisions about what you eat, she adds.

This is just a first step at getting good evidence, and more research is needed before the mechanisms are fully discovered. But Daley thinks that drinking more water before meals can help everybody with weight management, regardless of BMI status. “We all get fatter over time, so it might well work as a prevention strategy at a population level,” she says. “We want people to drink more water anyway.”

How to Lose Water Weight the Right Way

Published: September 18, 2017

Water is crucial to health and accounts for a pretty big chunk of your body composition. In fact, the human body is made up of between 55 percent to 75 percent water. (1) Still, water retention is a common problem and can cause issues like swelling, aches and weight gain, leading many to wonder how to lose water weight.

Learning how to lose water weight can be tricky, and there can be many different causes behind water retention, ranging from high salt intake to kidney disease.

If you’re holding on to excess water, you could be carrying an extra five to 10 pounds at any given time. Some case studies have even reported on patients with up to 88 pounds of edema, or water retention, as a result of multiple health issues. (2)

Luckily, making just a few simple lifestyle modifications can help you drop the water weight — and keep it off for good.

What Is Water Weight?

Before we can discuss how to lose water weight, it’s important to understand what exactly water retention is and what causes it.

When you eat carbohydrates, many are converted into glucose (sugar) and used to provide energy for the cells. The leftovers are then converted into glycogen, which is stored in the liver and muscle cells. If you need more energy later and there’s no glucose available, these glycogen stores can be quickly broken down and turned into glucose for fuel.

Glycogen holds on to a lot of water. In fact, for each gram of glycogen in storage, there are three grams of water attached to it. As you can imagine, that can add up to quite a bit of extra weight. (3)

If you’ve ever started a new diet or workout routine and found that the pounds slid right off for the first few days only to slow down to a screeching halt a few days later, this is because what you’ve lost initially was water weight.

Dieting or increasing your exercise routine creates an energy deficit, and when there’s not enough glucose available, your body has to pull from those glycogen stores for extra energy.

The loss of all the water attached to the glycogen causes quick weight loss followed by a plateau once your glycogen stores have been depleted.

How You Accumulate Water Weight

The next step in learning how to lose water weight is looking at how it can accumulate. There are several potential causes of water retention, from various health conditions to specific lifestyle factors.

Some of the most common causes of water retention include:

  • High Salt Intake: There are many reasons to keep your salt intake in check, and preventing the buildup of water weight is just one of them. Sodium is an important mineral involved in fluid balance, and excess intake can lead to water retention. Those who have high blood pressure may be “salt-sensitive” and are especially prone to the negative effects of salt.
  • Protein Deficiency: Severe protein deficiency can lead to fluid accumulation. This is because protein plays a major role in maintaining fluid balance by keeping salt and water inside the blood vessels and stopping it from leaking into the tissues. If you’re not getting enough protein in your diet, it can eventually lead to water retention. (4)
  • Physical Inactivity: Whether you spend the whole day standing on your feet or you’re sitting at the desk for long periods of time, too much physical inactivity can lead to water weight accumulation. This can cause your tissues to hold on to extra water, leading to swelling, especially in your feet and ankles.
  • Hormonal Changes: For women in particular, changes in the levels of certain hormones, like estradiol and progesterone, could be to blame for shifts in fluid and water retention. Increases in water weight are particularly common in the week before menstruation and can account for several pounds of excess fluid. Fortunately, these weight changes are temporary and return to normal shortly after. (5)
  • Heart Failure: Fluid buildup is one of the more serious symptoms of heart failure. When your heart isn’t pumping blood efficiently, blood can pool and back up in the vessels, leading to fluid retention. Excess fluid as a result of heart failure can lead to dramatic changes in weight and symptoms like fatigue and shortness of breath. (6)
  • Kidney Disease: The kidneys are like a filtration system for the body. When they aren’t able to work effectively because of kidney disease, water can start to build up and cause swelling and weight gain. Oftentimes, patients with kidney disease are advised to limit their fluid intake to prevent water retention.
  • Medications: Many different types of medications can contribute to the buildup of water weight, such as NSAID pain relievers, oral contraceptives and some heart medications.

How to Lose Water Weight Safely

1. Exercise

Physical inactivity is one of the main culprits of water retention, so getting up and moving is one simple way to help shed water weight quickly and prevent tissues from holding on to excess water in your feet and ankles. Of course, increasing your physical activity is a win-win, because it can also help you lose fat and build muscle too.

Exercising can also cause you to lose water weight by burning up glycogen to provide energy. Not only does this deplete the glycogen stored in your liver and muscles, but it also removes all the water that is attached to it to cause water weight loss.

Note that this doesn’t mean you have to hit the gym twice a day to prevent water weight buildup. Instead, it can be as simple as practicing a few exercise hacks, like using the stairs instead of the elevator, taking a walk during your lunch break, or making sure to get up from the couch or computer for a quick stretch once an hour.

2. Monitor Your Sodium Intake

Because of the major role that sodium has in fluid regulation, decreasing your sodium intake is one of the most effective methods for how to lose water weight. The most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting your daily sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams per day, which is equal to about one teaspoon or six grams. (7)

Surprisingly, the salt shaker isn’t the main source of sodium in the diet. In fact, an estimated 77 percent of sodium in the average diet comes from processed foods. (8)

Foods like canned meats, cold cuts, cheeses, frozen meals, soups and savory snacks can pack in tons of added sodium.

The best way to slash sodium intake is to include mostly whole, unprocessed foods in your diet. If you do have canned or processed foods from time to time, remember to opt for low-sodium varieties whenever possible to keep sodium content to a minimum..

3. Eat Adequate Protein

Protein plays a big part in maintaining fluid balance and keeping water and salt from leaking out into the tissues, so getting enough protein into your diet is crucial for avoiding water accumulation.

This is especially important for those on any kind of restrictive diet. Vegetarians and vegans, for example, should be especially mindful about monitoring protein intake.

So how much protein do you actually need? A good rule of thumb is to aim for one gram of protein for each kilogram of body weight. Someone who is 150 pounds, for example, weighs 68 kilograms and should try to consume at least 68 grams of protein per day.

Good sources of protein include seafood, poultry, lean cuts of beef and pork, eggs, beans and legumes. Go for fresh meats and low-sodium varieties of canned beans to prevent high salt intake and further cut down on water retention.

4. Increase Your Potassium Intake

Much like sodium, potassium is another mineral that is involved in fluid balance and may aid in water loss by both increasing urine output and decreasing sodium levels. (9)

In fact, one study published in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases showed that restricting potassium intake led to an increase in water retention as well as an increase in blood pressure. (10)

It is recommended to get in at least 4,700 milligrams of potassium daily. High-potassium foods include leafy green vegetables, bananas, potatoes, avocados and tomatoes. Include a few servings of these foods each day, and watch the water weight slide right off.

5. Eat More Magnesium-Rich Foods

Magnesium also helps regulate fluid balance by increasing urine production, and several studies have found that raising your magnesium intake could reduce water weight.

In one study, women were supplemented with 200 milligrams of magnesium for two months, which was found to decrease premenstrual symptoms related to water retention, including weight gain, swelling and bloating. (11)

Most adults need between 310–420 milligrams of magnesium each day. Magnesium is especially high in leafy greens, such as spinach and chard, avocados, almonds, and black beans.

6. Stay Hydrated

Keeping well-hydrated can help flush out water and cut down on fluid accumulation quickly and easily. You should typically aim to drink between 25 percent to 50 percent of your body weight in ounces of water each day.

If you’re looking to up your water intake, drink a glass of water before each meal and snack, or try setting a timer to remind yourself to drink regularly.

Besides drinking plenty of water, you can also include a few hydrating foods in your diet as well. Fruits and veggies are the best choices, with watermelon, celery, strawberries, cucumber and lettuce topping the charts as the most hydrating foods available.

How Not to Lose Water Weight

A quick Internet search for how to lose water weight quickly and you’re bound to turn up plenty of unhealthy fad diets and quick fixes that involve a day or two of severely limiting your intake in favor of dropping a few pounds.

The use of medications like diuretics or laxatives can cause water loss but can also lead to electrolyte disturbances and negative effects on health as well.

Some of the negative symptoms of electrolyte imbalance caused by diuretics or laxatives include muscle cramps, confusion, dry mouth, drowsiness, fatigue and even heart palpitations.

Not only are these practices unhealthy and potentially unsafe, but they also produce only short-term and temporary results. As soon as you resume your usual diet or stop taking these medications, you’ll be replenishing your glycogen stores and gaining the water weight back — with interest.

Instead, the best way to lose water weight is by maintaining a well-rounded, balanced diet rich in essential vitamins and minerals and getting regular exercise. This helps prevent the buildup of water weight while also promoting optimal health.

Precautions with How to Lose Water Weight

Those with medical conditions contributing to fluid retention, such as heart failure or kidney disease, should consult with their doctors for recommendations as fluid restrictions are sometimes necessary for these conditions.

Those who suffer from kidney disease should also discuss with their doctors or dietitians before making any major dietary changes. For these individuals, increasing potassium intake, for example, can lead to dangerous alterations in levels of blood potassium.

Final Thoughts on How to Lose Water Weight

Holding on to excess water weight or watching the scale constantly fluctuate can be a frustrating problem to have.

However, there are many possible causes for fluid buildup, and learning how to lose water weight is simple once you determine what’s behind your water retention.

Practicing a healthy lifestyle with regular physical activity, a balanced diet and plenty of water can easily help flush out the excess weight and added pounds.

Meanwhile, fad diets, quick fixes and diuretics/laxatives are not the right route for how to lose water weight the right way. Instead, the top six ways to lose water weight are:

  1. Exercise
  2. Monitor your sodium intake
  3. Eat adequate protein
  4. Increase your potassium intake
  5. Eat more magnesium-rich foods
  6. Stay hydrated

Read Next: How to Gain Weight Fast in a Safe Way

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How to lose your water weight

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