How to Lose Water Weight
Did you know that most of your body weight is made up of water?
Any extra water held by your body is referred to as water weight or oedema. While not serious, water weight can cause bloating and puffiness especially in the areas around your legs, abdomen, and arms. Too much water weight can also cause complications in your heart and kidneys.
Within this guide, you will find some simple tips to help you lose water weight.
What is water weight?
Water weight refers to any excess water being held in your body. For the most part, it is a very normal thing to occur and can temporarily increase your weight by around 2 to 4 pounds in a day. This is important to remember, particularly if you are on a weight loss journey. Due to natural water weight, the scales aren’t always an accurate representation of how much fat or muscle you have!
What causes water weight?
Your body will tend to hold on to water when your hydration levels are not quite balanced. This could be due to a range of factors, including eating too much salt, hormone changes and flying on a plane. Even the weather can impact how much water you retain!
How to lose water weight
While water weight is usually harmless and goes away on its own, retaining it for too long can cause complications. Try to incorporate the following areas into your daily routine to keep water levels at a sustainable level.
1. Get enough sleep
If you want to lose water weight, get a decent amount of sleep every night. A good night’s sleep can help your body manage its sodium and fluid levels more effectively, which in turn, will avoid water retention. A sufficient amount of sleep is also valuable for many other reasons, including improving energy and your mood.
According to the NHS, aim for around 6 to 9 hours of sleep per night. This should be enough to give your body the time it needs to rest and repair. If you struggle to get enough sleep, consider following these tips:
- Go to bed at the same time every night
- Allow yourself time to wind down before sleeping
- Avoid electronics an hour before bedtime
- Create a comfortable environment to sleep in
Getting a good amount of sleep will help to manage your fluid levels. Aim for around 6 to 9 hours each night.
2. Exercise on a regular basis
We all know that exercise contributes to fat loss, but did you know it contributes to water weight loss, too?
When it comes to keeping your body healthy and happy, regular exercise is a must. A good exercise session helps to promote increased blood flow which prevents the buildup of fluids all over your body, particularly in the arms and legs. Exercising also helps reduce water weight by burning your body glycogen reserves.
Adults should aim to perform at least 150 minutes of exercise per week. This involves anything that raises your heart rate, including:
- Brisk walking
Exercising regularly helps to prevent the buildup of fluids in your body. Aim for 150 minutes of exercise each week.
Fun Fact: Did you know that water regulates your body temperature? It gets stored in the middle layers of your skin and is released as sweat when your body warms up. This sweat evaporates and cools you down!
3. Try to relieve stress
When the body is put under more stress than usual, it can increase the hormone cortisol, which has been found to influence fluid retention. In more scientific terms, cortisol interacts with the antidiuretic hormone (ADH), which tells your kidneys how much water to pump into the body.
Relieving stress will help to maintain your cortisol and ADH levels, reducing water retention as a result. If you feel you are struggling with stress, give the following stress-relieving tips a go:
- Set realistic goals for the day/week
- Fuel your body with healthy foods
- Get enough sleep
- Move your body as often as possible
- Try meditation
- Identify the triggers of your stress and reduce them
Long-term stress can increase the amount of certain hormones in your body. These hormones influence fluid retention.
4. Drink more water!
This may sound counterintuitive but drinking more water can help you lose water weight. Why? Well, let’s just say that your body is wired to survive. If it senses dehydration, its immediate action is to hold on to extra water as much as it can. Thus, increasing your water weight.
An average adult needs approximately 2 litres of water every day. Keep reading this guide to discover some helpful ways to incorporate more water into your diet!
Drinking around 2 litres of water each day will help to avoid dehydration and prevent water retention.
Fun Fact: Your body is full of water! Babies are 80% water and adults are up to 60% water.
5. Drink tea or coffee
The caffeine found in coffee and tea is a diuretic. This means it makes you pee more often. This is great news for water weight, as studies show that increased urination can help decrease water weight!
While it’s not advised to drink tea and coffee by the gallon each day, consider having a morning and afternoon cuppa when shifting water weight. Just remember to stay close to the toilet…
Caffeinated tea and coffee is a diuretic, meaning it makes you pee more. The more you pee, the more water you lose!
6. Keep an eye on electrolytes
Electrolytes are minerals that contain an electric charge. Common examples of electrolytes are potassium and magnesium. Electrolytes play a crucial role in your body - especially in regulating water balance.
Common sources of electrolytes include:
- Drinks tailored to increase energy.
Consuming too many or too few electrolytes can lead to water retention and increased water weight. So, balance is key.
The best way to ensure a good balance of electrolytes is to tailor it with your water intake. You may need to take more electrolytes if you:
- Drink a lot of water
- Live in hot or humid regions.
Electrolytes are minerals found in a variety of foods. If you don’t keep your electrolytes levels balanced, water weight might rise.
7. Manage sodium intake
Sodium is the most common electrolyte in the body. Like in the previous tip, an imbalance in your body’s sodium levels (too high or too low) can cause fluid shifts which may lead to increased water weight.
Your primary source of sodium is salt. Avoid high salt diets if you want to stop your body from retaining too much water. Foods high in salt include:
- Cured meats
- Salt-water fish.
If you are looking for low sodium alternatives, try natural foods like:
Certain foods like avocados, bananas, and leafy vegetables are also known to help reduce sodium levels in the body.
Sodium is the most common electrolyte in the body. It’s found in salty foods, making it hard to avoid. Try to cut back on salty foods to reduce water weight.
8. Cut carbs
Did you know that unused carbohydrates are stored in the body as glycogen? And each gram of glycogen contains 3 grams of water! If you want to lose water weight, cutting your carb intake can help. Eating fewer carbohydrates causes your body to use up its glycogen reserves which in turn reduces water weight.
A common source of carbohydrates in our diet include:
Try replacing these with high-protein alternatives like lean meat, soy products, and eggs. On average, a normal adult only needs about 130g of carbohydrates to function normally, so keep this in mind when observing your diet...
Excess carbohydrates are stored in the body as glycogen - 1 gram of glycogen contains 3 grams of water! With this in mind, cutting down on carbs will reduce water retention.
Fun Fact: Cucumbers are great for quenching your third - they contain 96% water!
9. Consider water pills or prescription weight loss pills
Water pills are designed to treat mild fluid retention. Like caffeine, these pills function as a diuretic that makes you urinate more often. Though not recommended for long-term use, your doctor may prescribe water pills on a case to case basis.
If you are obese and wish to shift more than just water weight, consider getting a prescription for weight loss pills. Weight loss pills are designed to make it hard for your body to absorb fat. They also make you feel full sooner which decreases the amount of food (especially carbs) that you eat.
Being overweight poses a lot of health risks. And increased water weight is just one of the many causes of weight gain. Losing your water weight is a good first step towards a healthier you!
If water weight becomes a long-term problem, your doctor might prescribe you water pills to treat fluid retention. Weight loss pills are also available if you are obese and carrying excess fat.
Proven health benefits of drinking water
Water is an essential nutrient for life, meaning without it, the human body cannot survive. Here are just five of the remarkable ways that water benefits your body.
1. Helps with digestion
One benefit of drinking water is preventing constipation. If your body is dehydrated, your digestive system will reduce its fluid levels. This, in turn, stops your bowels from passing properly. This can become extremely uncomfortable if left for too long.
2. Keeps your joints happy
When your joints are a little stiff or achy, consider whether you're getting enough water.
Your joints are surrounded by cartilage, which allows each bone to move freely. Water contributes to the spongy texture in the cartilage that your joints require to avoid grating and rubbing together.
When you're dehydrated, your body extracts as much water as it can to the organs needed to keep you alive. Your cartilage isn't in this category, so it has to give up its water.
3. Improves athletic performance
Dehydration has a detrimental influence on your muscles. They can't contract properly if they don't have enough water, and you won't be able to perform at the level you desire after a workout because your muscles will fight to repair themselves.
You should also keep in mind that exercise causes you to lose fluids through sweating. This means you'll need to replenish your fluids on a regular basis to maintain your muscles functioning properly, control your body temperature and ensure blood flow.
4. Prevents dry skin
Your blood absorbs the water it needs from your skin. Your skin might become dry and speed up the formation of wrinkles as a result.
It's crucial to remember that you'll need to be extremely reckless with your hydration in order for this process to begin. Drinking more water than usual will not make your skin firmer, either.
If you're wondering why your skin is dry, but you don't think your water consumption is to blame, consider other possible reasons such as sun damage.
5. Replaces the water you’ve lost
The body is composed of 60% water. The vast majority of it is used to keep you functioning on a daily basis.
It is critical to keep a 60% water balance, but it isn't simple. Your body has a number of inventive methods to lose water, including sweating, going to the toilet, and even breathing. This is why it is so important to remain hydrated and replace the water you've lost.
How to incorporate more water into your diet
Water has the ability to affect near enough every inch of your body - keeping hydrated should be your number one priority. However, getting enough water isn’t always easy, especially for those who don’t like the taste or lead a busy lifestyle. Here are four effective ways to incorporate more water into your diet:
1. Add some flavour
If you don't like the taste of water or just want to enhance it a little, there are numerous options.
One simple, healthy alternative is to use an inexpensive fruit-infuser water bottle. Cucumber-Lime, Lemon, and Strawberry-Kiwi are popular fruit mixes to put in an infuser bottle.
You may also get water enhancers in the form of powder or liquid squash to add to your drinking water, but keep in mind that many of these items contain sugars, artificial sweeteners, or other additives that may be harmful to your health.
2. Eat foods with high water counts
One of the most basic methods to increase your water intake is to consume more high-water foods. Fruits and vegetables tend to have the highest water counts, including:
- Cucumber: 96% water
- Lettuce: 96% water
- Celery: 95% water
- Watermelon: 91% water
These fruits and vegetables are also rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that benefit your general health.
3. Track consumption
Don’t panic - we’re not saying that you need to make written notes every time you drink water. Instead, consider purchasing a water bottle that has measurements and goals written on it. Some even show the time of day on them, making it clear as to whether you’ve had enough water. Using a water bottle to track progress makes drinking water both fun and hassle-free.
4. Drink a glass before each meal
Making a habit of drinking one glass of water before each meal is another easy approach to increasing your water intake. This easily adds another 3 cups to your water consumption if you eat three meals each day.
Furthermore, your body may confuse thirst for hunger at times. A glass of water before a meal might help you determine whether you are truly hungry. Furthermore, drinking a glass of water before each meal might assist you eat less at the next meal.
Frequently asked questions
How much water should you drink a day?
The NHS recommends that we consume 6–8 glasses of water (around 2 litres) each day. The goal is to start drinking early in the morning and on a continual basis throughout the day.
How much water is too much?
Water intoxication occurs when you drink too much water. This is uncommon and mostly affects endurance athletes and soldiers. Some sources recommend drinking no more than 0.8 to 1.0 litres of water an hour to avoid water intoxication.
Why is drinking water good for the body?
Water makes up about 60% of your body weight. These bodily fluids perform a variety of functions, including digestion, absorption, circulation, saliva production, nutrition transport and maintenance of body temperature.
For more health benefits of water, check out the points mentioned earlier in this guide.
What are the symptoms of dehydration?
According to the NHS’ guidance on dehydration, symptoms of dehydration include:
- Feeling thirsty
- Dark yellow and strong-smelling pee
- Feeling dizzy/lightheaded
- Feeling tired
- Dry mouth, lips and eyes
- Peeing less than four times a day.
Does water help you lose weight?
Water is an excellent tool for weight reduction. It's calorie-free, helps you burn more calories, and may even suppress your appetite if consumed before meals. The advantages are much more significant when you switch to water instead of sugary beverages. It's a simple method to decrease sugar and calorie consumption.
Is tap water safe to drink?
Tap water might contain germs or parasites that make you ill. The majority of tap water supplied by water providers is subjected to rigorous requirements that guarantee you can drink it on a daily basis without harm.
Your local health department will most likely issue a "boil water warning" if potentially harmful microbes are discovered in tap water.
Is there a benefit to drinking hot water?
Research suggests that drinking hot water in the morning may stimulate the body's metabolism, resulting in more fat loss throughout the day. Drinking hot water also aids in the cleansing of the intestines and the removal of waste from the body, which can cause flatulence and excessive water retention. However, research is in the early stages and there’s no clear answer just yet.
When to see a doctor
If you have persistent swelling or water retention in your body and limbs, consult with your doctor. Water retention can sometimes be a symptom of a more serious problem, so it's best to have that checked out by a professional. Symptoms might include:
- Dimpling skin
- Tight skin
- Shortness of breath or coughing when lying down.
Water is an incredibly essential nutrient for your body and water consumption should not be neglected. While water weight can feel daunting, it will go away on its own if you follow the points in this guide. Consult your doctor if water weight remains, particularly if it’s causing persistent swelling.