Have you ever wondered why your weight tends to fluctuate throughout the day or day to day? Maybe you notice that you’ve lost more pounds or gained more pounds than could possibly be true based on your calorie calculations. That weight is generally known as “water weight”. But what is it, what does it mean, and what does it say about your overall level of fitness?
What is “water weight”?
Our bodies are made up of fifty to sixty percent water and how much water we keep in our bodies will fluctuate based on what foods we’ve eaten and how much sweat we’ve lost in the course of any one day. Eating excess sugar, sodium, and carbohydrates leads your body to retain water. That retained water shows up on the scale unless you sweat it out.
Water weight is also responsible for the initial weight loss you see when you start exercising for the first time or start a new diet. Your body is losing the water that you’ve been retaining. Once you rehydrate your body after your exercise or caloric-restriction, you’ll gain that lost water weight right back. After you’ve lost the water weight, the weight you’ll lose next if you stick with the healthy diet and exercise is fat!
Fighting water retention.
Retaining water can show up in your ankles and hands, causing a slightly swollen look. Retaining excess water can cause weight gain on the scale from five to ten pounds. If you are trying to lose weight, controlling your body’s retention of water is a healthy side effect of regular exercise. Any exercise that makes you sweat helps your body fight unwanted water retention that can leave you feeling bloated or puffy.
Diet is the key to controlling unwanted water weight. Limiting the amount of refined carbohydrates (pasta and bread) and sodium is crucial to limiting unwanted water retention and losing a few pounds of water weight. Sodium lurks in nearly every fast food, prepackaged food, and junk food. The best way to curtail excessive sodium in your diet is cooking at home without adding salt to your food.
Oddly, not drinking enough water also makes your body retain water. When you deprive your body of the water it needs to function at its best, it holds on to every spare bit of water you drink. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day ensures that your body can efficiently use the water it has on hand. Foods with high water content also help keep you hydrated. Citrus fruits, cucumbers, and celery are full of water and hydrate your body while providing key nutrients your body needs as part of a healthy diet.
Whether you want to lose a few pounds or just better understand why your body does what it does, understanding your body’s ability to retain water is crucial. Avoiding processed foods, refined carbohydrates, and drinking plenty of water throughout the day will leave your body healthy and free of unwanted water weight.