There is nothing like the joy of losing weight! Every time my clothes become a little loose, I am on cloud 9! Though in some cases, my clothes just get old and expand I still like to believe that I have lost some weight (motivation :P) Have you noticed that whenever you start a diet, you lose a whole bunch of weight in the first few days? But then it gets slow. The reason for this is the loss of water weight.
Before I tell you what water weight is, I would like you to meet water retention or edema.
What is Water retention?
Clinically defined it is the accumulation of fluid in certain tissues within the body. This accumulation leads to an increase in your overall weight, and it is known as water weight.
Water retention generally occurs in the circulatory system or tissues and cavities. This leads to swelling of hands, feet, ankles, and legs. Your weight increases and your overall appearance becomes flabby because of the retention of water.
I am here to tell you 10 safe and effective ways to lose water weight.
#1 Sweat It
The best way to lose water weight is to exercise. It is obvious that when you sweat a lot, you lose a lot of water weight and you also feel energetic. Any form of exercise can make you lose water weight. Be it strength training or crossfit, as far as you are sweating profusely, you are on the right track.
The best way to get rid of water retention is to go with cardio for at least 30 minutes a day. They significantly improve your heart rate and metabolism. It reduces the amount of fluid in your body, which in turn can reduce the swelling in your skin and makes you look less puffy.
You can maintain a natural balance of body fluids and sweat out all excess water in the body if you exercise regularly.
As I already mentioned, the best exercises that can help you get rid of water weight is cardio. Sprinting, in particular, can help you here. High-speed cycling can give your legs a good workout and also lose some water. You can also go with aerobics as they can improve your body’s flexibility and also make you sweat a lot.
Most of the times our flabby stomach is the reason for us to look fat. If there’s one solution to this, it’s abdominal exercise machines – tone your abs and build a strong core with them.
#2 Less Salt
I am sure you must be knowing that the salt you take every day contains sodium which is the most common electrolyte in the body. Sodium plays a significant role in hydration levels of the body. This is because sodium attracts water molecules.
When you consume large portions of salts, there is an increase in the sodium level in the body, and hence this will cause water retention. The excess fluids get accumulated in the body and make you feel bloated and overweight.
All processed food and junk food which you crave for is excessively seasoned with sodium-rich salt, and this is one of the important reasons that you stay away from them.
The right amount of salt will retain the electrolyte balance in your body and help all the organs in the body function rightly. You should be extremely careful when it comes to the intake of salt. No extreme changes are good of the body, i.e., neither should you consume too much of salt nor should you avoid it completely. Ensure the right balance to have a healthy body.
Recommended Sodium intake:
It is highly recommended that your daily intake of sodium is not more than 2300 mg. To tell you in terms of salt, 1 teaspoon of salt contains 2,325 mg of sodium. This means that you are allowed a maximum of 1 teaspoon salt per day.
#3 More Water
You must be thinking, how can drinking more water help you get rid of water retention? Haven’t you heard that you should fight fire with fire? I say we take that road!
The human body is made up of 60% water, and this plays a major role in all the functions of your body.
This is how water retention works:
The human body is always trying to attain a state of healthy balance and remain adequately hydrated. When you don’t drink enough water, the body begins to accumulate as much of water as it can to cope with the state of dehydration. It does so to prevent water levels from falling too low. This accumulation results in water retention and makes you bloat.
Just like salt, water is also a tricky business. Dehydration and overhydration can both result in water retention. You have to make sure that you consume an adequate amount of water every day.
In addition to avoiding water retention, drinking more water can boost your metabolism and also make you feel energetic and active all day.
Recommended water intake:
Water intake purely depends on the individual, but various health authorities recommend that you drink 2 liters of water per day to accelerate weight loss. You have to remember that you also intake water from the beverage you drink.
#4 Eat Right
Eating right can help you keep the excess weight off, be it fat or water weight. To shed off the excess water in your body you have to consume potassium-rich foods. Food rich in potassium can balance the sodium levels in the body and increase urine production and help you combat water retention. The excess sodium gets excreted through urine.
The important thing to keep in mind is that excessive consumption of potassium can actually be extremely dangerous. People who suffer from kidney problems should cut down their potassium intake as it can hinder the functioning of the kidney. It also interacts with other medications, hence it is recommended that you consult a doctor before taking potassium supplements.
Avoid any kind of processed and canned foods as they are all seasoned with sodium. Go with diuretics which are easily digestible and those which don’t cause bloating.
Recommended potassium-rich food:
Fruits and vegetables, in general, are potassium-rich. Sweet potatoes, apricots, tomatoes, bananas, mushrooms, green leafy vegetables, grapefruit, avocado are recommended. Dairy products such as yogurt are also rich in potassium.
Other foods which can help you lose water weight are fennel, garlic, parsley, horsetail, hibiscus and corn silk.
#5 Dandelion Extract
If you have ever tried to Google remedies for water retention, the first result that pops up is the dandelion extract or dandelion root. You remember dandelion right? Those beautiful white fluffy flowers. The extract taken from the root of the dandelion acts a miracle drug when it comes to treating water retention.
It is the richest source of beta-carotene which is nothing other than vitamin A. The extract is rich in fiber, potassium, magnesium, iron, vitamins, riboflavin and also protein. Getting back to business, the best part about dandelion is that it is a natural diuretic.
As you know your body stores water just like it stores fat which contributes towards the water weight. The dandelion extract can increase the volume and the frequency of urination and thereby help you lose water weight. In addition to consuming dandelion extract if you also drink lots of water, your kidneys and digestive system are flushed. This keeps your body appropriately hydrated, boosts your metabolism and also gives you healthier skin. By releasing all excess water through excretion, all your water weight is lost.
If you are allergic to iodine or flowers like marigold, daisy, and chrysanthemum, you should avoid dandelion extract. Before consuming any supplement, it is recommended that you consult a doctor.
#6 Curb Carbs
The one rule that is common to every diet is to cut down on carbs. Be it keto or paleo or Atkins; you are not allowed to munch on carbs. So what’s the reason? Carbohydrates are the mischievous nutrients which contribute towards your water weight. The body stores carbohydrates in the form of glycogen in the muscles and the liver. Glycogen naturally attracts water molecules and stores it. Each gram of glycogen stores 3-4 grams of water along with it.
The reason you shed a bunch of weight when you switch to a low carb diet is also this. The glycogen along with the water content also goes down.
Carbohydrates can also raise the insulin level which in turn increases sodium retention and water absorption. This is yet another reason for you to avoid carbs. Going low-carb is the best way to shed water weight.
Avoiding carbs completely is very difficult and is not healthy too. Opt for foods which are not high carb. Barley, whole wheat bread, oatmeal, beans, green peas, whole wheat pasta can all be consumed if you prefer low carb food.
#7 Less Stress
We often under underestimate the impact of mental and emotional factors in the weight loss process. But I would like to tell you that your body weight has a lot to do with your stress level.
Have you heard of the hormone cortisol? Also known as the stress hormone, this gets released whenever you are under stress.
When you are under too much of stress, the body implements the flight or fight mechanism. Both of these include the release of cortisol. When this hormone level remains high for a prolonged period, it results in water retention.
Cortisol begins to store both fat and water and this results in an increase in your body weight. The important thing you have to understand about cortisol is that normal levels of this hormone are necessary for your survival. When the level of cortisol increases, and if it remains high for a long time only then it results in water retention.
Maintain your cortisol levels by maintaining your emotional and mental stability. Stop excessive worrying and stay calm.
#8 Doze enough
Sleep is connected to water retention in a number of ways. Let me get started with the first one. When your body lacks the required amount of sleep, the hormone cortisol is secreted more. As I already mentioned, prolonged high levels of cortisol can shake hands with water retention. The other way in which sleep leads to water retention is by altering the sodium level of the body. Sleep has a direct impact on the renal nerves of the kidney which is responsible for regulating sodium and water level in the body. Lack of sleep alters the sodium level and results in water retention.
When you get 8-hour of shut-eye time your body manages the fluid and sodium level and also helps you lose water weight in the long run.
Recommended hours of sleep:
On an average, an adult should sleep for 8 hours to maintain a healthy body weight.
#9 Maximize Magnesium
Magnesium is a key player in helping you get rid of water retention. It is an electrolyte and mineral which plays more than 500 roles in the human body. Magnesium levels are strongly linked with potassium levels, and it also promotes the absorption of calcium. By maintaining the potassium level, magnesium controls the body’s water balance.
The intake of magnesium should be optimized as it plays a significant role in hydration level and body water content.
Recommended magnesium foods:
You can consume magnesium as supplements or by eating magnesium-rich food such as nuts, seeds, dark leafy greens, fish and dark chocolate.
#10 Fire-up Fiber
Fiber is one of the important nutrients which is often overlooked. The specialty of fiber is that it is not digested by the body, but it passes intact through the intestines. When it does so, it removes all excess body water and helps you get rid of water retention.
Recommended Fiber Foods:
Whole grains, legumes, beans, fruits, cereal, carrots are all filled with fiber. You can also consume fiber as supplements.
Take away message
Losing water weight is no piece of cake. Taking the right foods can help you get rid of water retention and also make you look leaner. Before taking any supplement, it is highly recommended that you consult the doctor.