Water Weight – What you need to know!
Are you having a bad time with your weighing scale? Even after trying everything on Earth to lose weight it just does not seem to budge! The reason behind this can be water retention. It can make you feel that you are heading nowhere in spite of working so hard.
Learn more about water weight in this post. Keep reading!
What is water retention exactly?
When you retain water it actually means that there is extra amount of water hanging around the tissue between your cells. There are many reasons for that to happen.
Both carbohydrates and salt lead to water retention. Every gram of carbs requires 3 to 4 g of water in order to process and store it. That means eating one medium potato will mean that you will be eating 37 g of carbs that need 111-148 g of water. On a moderate carb diet, an average person will retain 1.5 pounds (0.68 Kilos) of water weight just from carb consumption. If you happen to fast or stop eating carbs completely, you will lose those 1.5 pounds (0.68 Kilos) immediately. So, basically it is water weight that you lose!
Now let us talk about the role salt has to play in water retention. It depends on the amount you are used to eating. In one study, men were on 4 different diets: low salt, normal salt, high salt and low salt again. The men gained 1 kg weight during weeks they were on a low salt to normal salt diet and an additional half a kilo when put on a normal salt to high salt diet. So, it is kind of clear that healthy men can gain at least 2 to 3 pounds of water weight by increasing their intake of salt from low to high levels. In the case of women, the number is smaller as women are smaller in size and have a lesser tissue space for water storage.
Anyway, adding up carb weight and water weight along with the unusual amount of food in your stomach, you can gain upto 5 pounds (2.26 kilos) from one single meal without gaining fat.
In women the picture of water retention is even more complicated. Generally, 92% of women experience water retention a week before their menstruation period. The weight gained varies but is around 5 to 10 pounds (2.26 to 4.53 kilo) typically. Once the period starts the water weight reduces again.
Hormonal birth control as well as pregnancy can affect water retention.
Cortisol – Cortisol is a stress hormone and is not a demon but when it remains chronically elevated, it causes problems such as water retention. You can’t exactly quantify the water retention due to cortisol as it can also increase fat gain. That is why cortisol weight is a combo of both water and fat.
How to manage water retention?
- Exercise regularly
In the long term, regular exercise helps in water retention by stimulating blood flow and lymphatic fluids that help in removing water from the extremities.
- Chalk out salt intake
You need to avoid huge variations in your salt intake. Pick up a level that works well for you and stick onto it.
- Increase calories
If you have been on a diet, you might retain water due to starvation, consider increasing your calories slightly to lose the water weight.
Water weight might be hiding your weight loss temporarily and it does not mean that you have hit a weight loss plateau. It is not the end of the world!
Hope this post on water retention has been useful!
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