Water weight is seen in almost everyone and is responsible for that sluggish feeling. It can cause bloating, puffiness, and minor weight fluctuations throughout the day. Water weight fluctuations are something you experience from time to time because your body comprises 50-70% of water. Whether water weight is a cause for concern depends on your goals. Apart from causing higher numbers on the weighing scale, having high percentages of water weight can lead to or be a sign of health problems. However, you can take easy and safe steps to get rid of water weight.
What is Water Weight?
Water weight happens when the body stores extra water in the tissue or between blood vessels. So if you’ve suddenly gained a few pounds over the last couple of days, it can be due to water weight or water retention. One meal isn’t going to make you gain any weight or fat right away. If you feel bloated, especially after meals, that’s likely just water weight. Therefore, water weight is just the mass that water takes up between and inside your cells.
Typically, your body removes excess fluids through urination. But when extra fluids retain between the body organs and skin, it leads to water weight. While water weight can be a barrier to weight loss, it’s not bad. But, of course, severe bloating is a flag of concern, and you should always consider getting an opinion from your doctor.
Signs of Water Weight
- If you are on a balanced diet and still find your waistline or abdominal area suddenly increasing in inches, your body retains water.
- Swollen legs and ankles are other symptoms. Again, it happens due to prolonged standing or sitting.
- Puffiness in the face and hips is another factor. If your hips look more bulky than usual or your face is swollen or puffy, you’re gaining water weight.
- Weight fluctuations are common signs that indicate water weight.
Causes of Water Weight
Standing or Sitting for Too Long
Gravity pull always acts on your body, keeping blood in the lower extremities. Therefore, it is essential to move your body to maintain blood circulation after a while. Studies show that people who stand for too long suffer from orthostatic stress, increased body mass, and increased total water weight. It also enhances both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. In addition, many people suffer from back pain due to prolonged standing or sitting. Therefore, after standing or sitting for a prolonged period, you should take 30-40 steps to maintain blood circulation.
Flying in an Aeroplane
Air pressure and gravity fluctuate when you fly in an aeroplane. Air pressure is lower at higher altitudes, and our body lacks oxygen at that level. Such changes in air pressure cause your body to hold on to water. Alternatively, flying and travelling increase your appetite and lead to weight gain.
Hormonal changes during periods can cause water weight fluctuations. In addition, women experience increased salt intake, leading to water retention after or during their period. Studies show how menstruation retains extra fluids in the body. For example, your body experiences a peak water weight level during the first day of menstruation. Specifically, an increase in water weight in periods is due to the rise in progesterone hormone. In addition, progesterone activates aldosterone, which causes kidneys to retain water and salt.
Especially in teenagers and adolescents, sudden water weight is due to hormonal changes. Some hormones like an Antidiuretic hormone(ADH) are responsible for raising water weight. The two most common factors influencing ADH are plasma osmotic pressure and volume status changes. The plasma osmotic pressure comes from the proteins in your blood fluid, and the volume status refers to the volume of blood your circulatory system holds. Other factors that boost the release of ADH include exercise and emotional states. In addition, ADH increases water retention by increasing the permeability of nephrons.
Having too much sodium makes it difficult for the body to drain water. Your typical sodium sources are table salt and some packaged snacks or soft drinks. Studies have found that increased sodium consumption results in water retention and reduction in fluid intake. So make sure that you avoid packaged processed food and soft drinks. Reducing salt in your daily meals also helps you get rid of extra water retention.
Medications to reduce water weight
Certain medications may also lead to water retention in our bodies. Especially medicines used to control blood pressure, antidepressants, and pain relievers can increase your body’s water weight. In such cases, consulting a doctor is advisable.
Complications Caused by Continuous Water Retention
If your body retains water for a longer duration, it can lead to several complications. It not only increases your extra body weight, but the following health risks can arise:
- Swelling and internal damage to hands, ankles, and feet
- Stiffy and painful joints and increased body weight
- Uneven weight fluctuation with hidden reasons
- Skin becoming puffy and holding indent for a few seconds when pressed with a finger
How to Lose Water Weight Safely
Follow a Low Salt Diet.
According to FDA research, the maximum safe sodium limit is 2300mg, equal to about one teaspoon of table salt. Try not to exceed this maximum limit. The following are some ways to cut down sodium from your diet:
- Prepare low-salt homemade food
- Always read nutritional facts on every packaged food purchased.
- Add flavour without adding sodium and buy fresh edibles.
- Make lower sodium food choices at restaurants.
More Potassium and Magnesium
Especially women, during their menstrual cycle, get a boost in their sodium levels which increases water weight in their body. Potassium and magnesium are excellent nutrients for replacing sodium retention. It will automatically drain water out of your body. Together potassium and magnesium help to manage water retention in our body. The upper limit of daily magnesium consumption is 420mg. Overdosing causes complications like muscle weakness, diarrhoea, and urine retention.
Take Vitamin B6 Supplement
Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin that helps form red blood cells, enhances metabolism, and supports the immune system. In addition, studies have found that vitamin B combined with magnesium helps reduce premenstrual syndrome symptoms, including water weight.
Eat Enough Protein
Protein keeps your body’s water weight balanced. There are nine different types of essential amino acids in a protein. For example, albumin is a protein that helps in weight management by managing the body’s water weight. Albumin balances fluids in the bloodstream and prevents them from leaking outside. As a result, it prevents swelling or bloating related to water weight.
Reduce Stress to reduce water weight
Less stress is the best option to reduce your water weight. That is because stress increases your level of cortisol hormone, which leads to an increase in ADH, a hormone known to be antidiuretic. When ADH is unbalanced, it doesn’t send clear messages to your kidney, which can lead to water retention.
Dandelion or Taraxacum officinale supplements are best to lose water weight quickly. It is popular among professional athletes and bodybuilders. Dandelion encourages your kidneys to flush out excess water and sodium from your body.
Limit Carbs to reduce water weight
Like salt or sodium, carbohydrates can cause water retention because when you consume carbs, your body converts them to glycogen. For every gram of glycogen stored in the body, you gain about 2.7 grams of water. Therefore, you should eat fewer carbs and practice better carb portion control. Moreover, low-carb dieting helps promote muscle growth and fat loss.
Seek Doctor’s Help if Problem Still Exist
Having fluctuations in water weight and changes in waistline circumference is a part of life. However, if you’re continuously experiencing overhydration, it can indicate some underlying disease or organ dysfunction. Talk to a doctor if your water weight constantly rises and is not going down even after diet changes or lifestyle modifications. The most common hidden factor is medication.
Harmful Ways Of reducing Water Weight
There are other ways to reduce water weight that people follow without knowing their harmful effects on our bodies. These ways might work faster than the natural approach but put your body at risk of various other diseases and disorders.
Water Pills Medications
Water pills or diuretic is not a healthy option unless you suffer from chronic water weight problems. These pills follow the mechanism of activating kidneys to flush out water and salt through urine. Athletes or doctors commonly use these pills to reduce water weight rapidly. However, taking it without a doctor’s prescription might lead to complications like dehydration.
Magnesium Oxide Supplements
Another harmful way of reducing water weight is to consume magnesium oxide supplements. Although supplements are considered safe, magnesium oxide supplement overdose can lead to kidney damage and dysfunction. In addition, magnesium quantity exceeding in the body may lead to severe complications like breathing problems and lightheadedness. Magnesium oxide supplements work just like water pills and activate kidneys to drain water and salt through urine.
Almost half of the human body mass consists of water weight, and water weight must be helpful for the functioning of various internal processes of the body. Abnormal water weight can lead to weight gain, and one may observe usual fluctuations in weight. However, it is easy to get rid of increased water weight with daily dietary changes and lifestyle changes. The primary factor for water weight is increased sodium intake. Reducing sodium intake takes the condition back to normal. If this condition exists chronically, it can lead to further complications like swelling in joints and knees and stiff and painful joints. Therefore, seek medical help if water weight exists for a longer time.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. How do you lose water weight?
A. Losing water weight is not a problem in most cases. However, you can adopt some dietary changes like reducing sodium intake, drinking more water, and reducing carbohydrate intake. In addition, some lifestyle changes may also help, like keeping your legs elevated and avoiding sitting or standing for a longer duration.
Q. Do you know if it’s water weight or fat?
A. When your body starts accumulating extra water, it boosts water weight. However, it is not easy to find whether your weight gain is due to increased water retention or it has stored calories as fat. To examine yourself for this, you should follow a regular fixed diet for one week. After that, your body starts draining out extra water on its own. So if it’s water weight, it will fall back to normal after a week.
Q. Does water weight make you look fat?
A. Increased water weight makes you look fat as the body stores water in cells and skin. Extra water in blood vessels causes bloating and leads to weight gain. Your face will look swollen, and your body will become puffy while having excess water.
Q. Is water weight bad?
A. Normally, water weight is considered healthy as your body is well hydrated. But if your water weight increases for many days or weeks, it may lead to complications like stiff joints and swollen legs and hands.
Q. How can I reduce my stomach fat?
A. Firstly, it is essential to identify whether fat or water weight. One most common way to reduce stomach fat is to burn more calories. Also, try to keep your metabolism boosted during the fat loss phase. You can follow strength training exercises and low-calorie diets to see faster results.
Q. Is water weight jiggly?
A. It is not necessary as every person is different. For example, if you have jiggly fatty skin, it might contain water, not fat. Sometimes sudden fall or gain of fat makes your skin jiggly. So it cannot be determined if you have fat or water just by checking whether your body is jiggly or not.
Q. Why do I hold onto water weight?
A. Hormonal changes and too much salt intake lead to water retention. If we consider women, water weight increases due to hormonal changes in menstrual cycles. Mostly, it is due to your lifestyle habits.
Q. Where is water weight stored?
A. Water weight is stored all over blood vessels. Typically extra water weight is held all over the body and between blood vessels, and also, due to the gravitational effect, excess stored water tends to go in down parts like legs, toes, and fingers.
Q. Why do I look fatter after drinking water?
A. When you drink water, your body stores it in blood vessels and cells. However, you might not look fat just after drinking a glass of water. On the other hand, if you suddenly increase your water and sodium intake, you may feel bloated and look fatter.
Q. Is water weight loss noticeable?
A. When your body loses extra water or water weight, your fat and muscles may seem slimmer and loose. It occurs because water is stored under the skin and also in muscles. So if you think that dropping water will make you look thin, then it might be valid to some extent. But it is temporary and an illusion.
Q. What causes a big stomach in females?
A. In females, abdominal obesity can arise due to any underlying disease. It may occur due to poor diet and lack of exercise. The use of alcohol and short sleep is another cause of a big stomach in females.