The Truth About Water Weight
Have you ever had this experience...
...you've been watching what you eat religiously, losing weight as planned, then you go out for dinner and indulge in a piece of bread and a few bites of dessert.
You step on the scale the next morning horrified to see you've gained back the 5 pounds it took you a month to lose.
You curse your genes. "It's not fair!" you scream. I can't lose weight unless I abstain from everything!!
Well, the good news is...
...your weight gain is likely water weight (aka water retention)!
It feels great to see numbers go down on the scale, doesn't it? Well, when the numbers go down, you are losing one (or more) of these three things:
And also, when the numbers go UP, it's still one (or more) of those same three things.
Our goal is to lose fat and gain muscle, right?
Well, it just so happens that water weight comes and goes much more quickly than fat weight or muscle weight do.
In fact, fast weight loss is usually just a reflection of fast water loss.
Your weight fluctuates day to day, and even throughout the day...as much as 10 pounds for some! This is simply reflective of water loss and gain.
So, when you talk about wanting to "lose weight," you likely mean you want to lose fat.
(And that requires maintaining a consistent calorie deficit.)
So if you step on a scale after dining out, only to discover you are 5 pounds heavier...
...so what! Don't let it get in the way of your fat loss (aka weight loss) goals! Water weight can go away as quickly as it appeared.
Water weight gain is often a result of excess salt (sodium) intake, which often happens when eating out. Even if you don't use the salt shaker, likely the chef did!
Salt is like a sponge. Wherever there is salt, water follows.
Here's a list of top salt (and thus water weight) offenders:
So you can have some say in how much your weight fluctuates day to day by avoiding excess salt (sodium) in your diet.
...even though it sounds counterintuitive, drinking adequate water will help reduce water retention. As you give your body all the water it could ask for, it gets rid of what it doesn't need.
And no discussion about weight loss would be complete without the suggestion to drink water...
Water and weight loss go together like peanut butter and jelly. You've heard it before, but it bears repeating again...
New guidelines were released in February 2004 that suggest it's okay to use your thirst as a guide to determining how much you need to drink. However, general fluid intake recommendations of approximately 9 cups for women and 12.5 cups for men were suggested...
...and that's a bit more than the 8, 8oz cups/day that's you've likely heard before.
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