Have you ever tried to lose weight and plateaued?
It might be because you need to increase the intensity of your workload or it may be because you’re having too many sweets.
It’s also possible that you’re just retaining water.
Water retention, also known as edema, is a condition where your body stores excess water. It makes you look puffy and bloated. Although water retention can be a sign of an underlying health issue, such as kidney disease or being pregnant, for most people, it’s a sign of something much less serious, like a need to tweak your diet or routine
Now, there is a difference between losing weight and fat loss. What we are going to go over today is focused on weight loss and making sure you are not retaining excessive amounts of water. This will help you look and feel a bit leaner, as well as help drop the number on the scale a little bit but the scale should not be the only tool you use to gauge success.
Keep in mind, the real results come from fat loss. In almost every situation, when someone says they want to lose weight … they really mean they want to burn fat (which will help you look and feel your best) and this blog by Dr. Chad Kerksick will explain why.
In this article, we’ll share ten different tips on how to lose excess water weight.
How to Lose Water Weight 10 Different Ways
1. Drink Plenty Of Water
This surprises many people. One of the best ways to lose excess water weight is by drinking more water. Let’s try to explain why more water means less water retention.
Your body needs water. It needs to be hydrated just like it needs to be fed. When you eat food, your body will convert some of it into fat. This is how the body stores excess calories for later. Your body does something similar with water. Instead of turning water into fat, it stores water in the muscles. This excess water can make you look puffy and bloated, but ultimately, the body is trying to protect itself from dehydration.
The main difference between your body’s food-storing and water-storing capabilities is when the body decides to store them. Your body is always looking for new ways to store food. In times of feast and famine, your body wants to accumulate as much body fat as possible. With water though, your body only tries to store water when it senses that water is scarce.
The more you purposefully try to avoid water, the more your body will hold onto it.
Make sure to drink plenty of water so your body doesn’t feel the need to hold on to any of it. If you’re preparing for a specific event, like a bodybuilding competition, don’t cut your water until a day or two before the event. This gives you enough time to get rid of any excess water weight without giving your body enough time to hold onto more.
2. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep helps get your renal nerves in order. Meaning it helps your kidneys rest and become more efficient. The kidneys play an important role in sodium regulation as well as water balance. If you’re not getting the right amount of sleep, then your kidneys will not work as well as they should. That’ll lead to more water retention.
Make sure to get the recommended 8 hours of sleep you need in order to give your kidneys a break.
3. Try Fasting On Occasion
Fasting is a great way to gain some quick, short-term gains. When you eat, your body alters the amount of growth hormone you have in your bloodstream. Growth hormone is an important factor when it comes to building muscle mass, burning fat, and regulating water in the body. Fasting for up to 16 hours at a time encourages your body to raise its levels of growth hormone. If you do this too often then your body may start retaining water to stay hydrated. So don’t fast too much. But an occasional fast can help with losing some extra water weight once in a while.
4. Find A Way To De-stress
Other hormones also play an important role in a variety of metabolic processes. If you’re feeling stressed for long periods of time, your body’s hormones are more likely to change and alter your body’s ability to regulate water consumption and expulsion.
The best thing to do in this case is to find a way to de-stress that works for you. For some people that might mean a nap during the day. For others that means yoga, meditation, or some kind of breathing exercise. For others still, that might mean they need to zone out and watch a movie.
Make sure to do whatever helps you de-stress in a healthy, productive way.
5. Exercise Consistently
Working out or exercising is kind of a double-edged sword when it comes to water retention. In the short-term exercise will increase water retention. That’s because your body retains more water around injured muscle tissue to make muscle repair easier.
Still, your body will benefit from regular exercise. Consistent, long-term exercise helps stimulate blood flow and reduce lymphatic fluid buildup in the arms and legs. As long as you’re exercising regularly, the benefits of working out will outweigh the negatives.
6. Control Your Hormones
There are other ways to control your hormones besides some tea and a good book. Certain weight loss supplements are able to help you minimize hormone fluctuation and regulate the negative effects of stress. Royal 21 Queen and Royal 21 King are both examples of supplements that can help you feel energized yet calm.
7. Give Magnesium A Try
Supplements which contain magnesium are helpful because magnesium has been shown to reduce water weight. It’s especially helpful in reducing water weight in women. Magnesium is helpful in controlling water weight because of how it interacts with salt, which causes the body to retain water.
8. Switch Up Your Diet
Your diet is especially important if you’re looking to lose excess water weight. Simple carbs turn into glycogen which is stored in muscle tissue for energy, but it also pulls in water with it. Swapping out your simple carbs for more complex carbs and fiber-rich foods will help minimize the amount of water your body will store.
Additionally, drinking coffee and tea helps your body further get rid of excess water. These drinks are natural diuretics so you get all the benefits without the harsh side effects you’d get from a pill.
9. Cut Back On Sodium
If you can only change one thing in your diet, it would be cutting back on foods that are excessively high in sodium. Sodium has a crucial role in our diets as it helps with many functions in the body and nutrient delivery. Unfortunately, though, many American’s have a diet that is high in processed foods, or dining out, both of which typically have excessively high amounts of sodium. Therefore, many people consume too much salt, and sodium forces the body to retain a lot of water. Cutting out savory junk food and processed foods will help minimize your salt intake. But to be clear, this does not mean cut out all salt, or heavily monitor the exact amounts you are getting… it just means to be more conscious of your food choice and lifestyle if you find yourself dining out frequently or eating highly processed foods.
10. Drink Electrolytes Instead
If you are working out you are going to want to consume salts (minerals) and make sure that they’re in the form of electrolytes. Potassium, calcium, and magnesium are two examples of electrolytes which are helpful in regulating water. If you’re going to consume electrolytes, however, make sure you drink a lot of water as well. This will help ensure a good balance of electrolytes in your system.
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*This post was written by Will Grumke. He is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist, NASM Certified Weight Loss Specialist, NASM Certified Behavioral Change Specialist, and CrossFit Level 1 Trainer.