Anyone who has worked hard to lose weight understands the daily frustrations. One day you’re a pound closer to your target weight, then the next you’ve gained a pound seemingly overnight! What happened?
Our bodies function through a complicated series of procedures every moment of every day without us even noticing. From metabolizing fat cells to digestion, and from breathing to blinking, every little thing happens for a very important reason.
Why we gain or lose weight is a result of a chain of events that our bodies go through naturally. What we put into our bodies (nutritionally speaking), how much exercise we get every day, how much water or alcohol we drink, our genes, our living environment, stress levels, sleep amount – all of these factors play into how much we ultimately weigh.
When we’re carrying extra water around in our bodies such as around joints, tissues, and in our extremities (ankles, fingers, wrists, etc.), we can quickly confuse this type of weight gain with fat gain. We might exercise more, eat less, or go to other extreme measures to solve an issue that’s linked to a much simpler explanation.
Understanding the difference between actual weight and water weight (and how to tip the scales, so to speak) is a great way to identify key lifestyle and diet choices to tweak for optimal health.
5 Mind Blowing Facts About Water Weight
- You won’t lose water weight the same way you lose fat.
Water weight simply doesn’t work the same way as weight from fat does. Caloric intake effects the fat in our cells, but it does not change the water content. Therefore, exercising more and eating less will not change the number on the scale if that extra weight is because of water your body is holding on to.
- The foods you eat and beverages you drink can greatly affect water weight.
Over consumption of sodium is a huge issue when it comes to retaining water. Water is drawn to salt, so if our bodies are holding on to a lot of sodium it will hold on to more water. Going overboard on sugar also causes our bodies to retain sodium. Drinking a lot of alcohol or caffeine causes dehydration, causing cells to hold on to the little water they have.
- Drinking more water helps your body let go of water weight.
It may seem counteractive to drink water in order to flush water out, but being well hydrated helps all of your body’s systems function properly. This means letting go of unnecessary sodium and toxins as well.
- Hormones and changing cycles can alter water weight.
Part of the reason why women bloat before or during their menstrual cycles is due to water retention. Kidney function changes because of hormone fluxuations, and in turn alters how effectively a woman’s body can rid itself of excess water.
- Mineral levels can affect water weight.
When you aren’t getting enough magnesium (from leafy greens, nuts) or potassium (from tomatoes, avocados, potatoes, bananas), your sodium levels can get thrown out of whack causing your body to retain water. Getting plenty of these kinds of minerals will help rid your body of any excess water weight.
When it comes down to it, weight loss isn’t as simple as the number you see on the scale. Be forgiving of the pounds that you may gain here and there, as they could be a result of water weight rather than all of your hard work.
[Credit: Menez, Bianca. “17 Things You Need To Know About Water Weight.” Eat This, Not That!]