by Will Grumke July 28, 2020 5 min read
Have you ever tried to lose weight and plateaued?
It might be because you need to increase the intensity of your workload, maybe because you're having too many sweets or consuming too much sodium.
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, and might be the reason why you aren't seeing the number on the scale drop.
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 water weight and weight loss due to 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. Remember though, 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.
If you're also looking to lose water weight, however, this blog is for you!
In this article, we’ll share ten different tips on how to lose excess water weight.
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.
This is different if you’re preparing for a specific event, like a bodybuilding competition, but we won't cover that here.
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 quality 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.
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.
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.
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.
Your diet is especially important if you’re looking to lose excess water weight. Carbohydrates are either used quickly by our body for energy, or stored as glycogen. This stored glycogen (muscle fuel) is used during resistance training or intense workouts.
This glycogen also pulls water into the muscle cell with it. This isn't a bad thing, but we only need a certain amount of carbs for this process. Consuming too many carbs that cannot be used properly can cause excess water retention. However, if we switch from simple carbs to complex, fiber-rich foods, this can help give the body time to properly use these carbohydrates, which can help to reduce water retention.
Additionally, drinking coffee and tea helps your body further get rid of excess water. These drinks are natural diuretics.
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 Americans 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, make an effort to eat healthier or cook at home more often.
If you are working out, and sweating heavily, your body will be losing electrolytes that play a crucial role in regulating water. Therefore, drinking electrolytes such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium to help replenish those lost electrolytes can be beneficial.
Whether you need help getting rid of some extra water weight or you need a little more energy to finish your workout, we can help you out.
If you have any questions about your plan or want help as you work towards your goals, please reach out.
No matter what your fitness goals are, we can help.
Here at 1st Phorm we have a team of NASM Certified Personal Trainers that can answer your questions and help you all for free.
And we’ll help you even if you don’t shop with us or use any supplements.
So if you have questions, feel free to send us an email at CustomerService@1stPhorm.com or give us a call at 1-800-409-9732.
NASM Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Certified Nutrition Coach, NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist, NASM Certified Weight Loss Specialist, NASM Certified Behavioral Change Specialist, NASM VCS Virtual Coaching Specialist, CrossFit Level 1 Trainer