Step on the scale today, and everything looks good. Do it again tomorrow, and suddenly the number is three digits higher. What gives? Relax. It’s unlikely that you’ve gained three pounds of fat overnight. The bigger number is probably the result of excess water weight—something that affects everyone, from the fittest athlete to the most sedentary slacker. Water weight, put simply, is extra water in your body. We retain excess water for a number of reasons, from eating salty foods to – ironically – not drinking enough water.
To avoid the bloating, discomfort and scale spike that comes with water weight, it helps to understand why it occurred in the first place. Here are the most common causes, and some quick fixes to beat the bloat:
Source 1: Excess salt
Ever notice feeling puffy after eating fast food, canned soups or processed snacks? Excess salt – often found in these types of foods – is one of the most common reasons your body holds on to extra water.
Quick fix: Cut back on sodium intake. Food can still have flavor without excess salt! Season your dishes with salt-free alternatives such as Bragg Sea Kelp Delight or Frontier salt-free blends. Sweating during cardio exercise will also help eliminate excess salt from the body. Aim for a workout at least three to four times a week.
Source 2: Excess sugar
You’d think that jelly donut or double-chunk chocolate cookie would be more likely to be pack on pounds of fat, but excess sugar also can contribute to water weight gain.
Quick fix: When craving something sweet, your first choice should always be fresh fruit or a low-sugar treat such as an all-natural, sugar-free Coco Polo 70% Elderberry Cocoa Bar.
Souce 3: Alcohol
Drinking too much alcohol acts as a diuretic, which causes dehydration. When the body starts to get dehydrated, it “holds onto” fluids.
Quick fix: If you plant to consume alcoholic beverages, be sure to drink plenty of water as well. For every glass of wine or cocktail you consume, drink one glass of water.
Source 4: Dehydration
Many people mistakenly think that to get rid of excess water weight, you should simply drink less water. This is simply not true. When you’re not consuming enough water, your body’s water/salt ration becomes imbalanced and the body hold onto extra fluid until the balance is restored.
Quick fix: Increase your water intake immediately. Drinking eight to 10 glasses of plain water a day will help flush sodium and excess fluid and bring back balance. Keep reusable water bottled filled and with you at all times. When you’re well hydrated, you’re less likely to retain fluid.
Source 5: Monthly cycle
At certain times during her cycle, a woman can hold up to 5 pounds of water. (Ugh!)
Quick fix: No matter what time of month it is, maintain your workout/cardio schedule and eat well. Again, drinking plenty of water will help diminish bloating. If the excess water weight becomes too uncomfortable, try a 100% vegetarian Natrol Water Pill for temporary relief of occasional bloating.
- Potassium-rich foods such as bananas, coconut water and unsalted pumpkin seeds can help support water balance and healthy blood pressure.
- Add fiber daily to your diet. Healthy digestion is also a good way to avoid water weight. Try adding flax seed oil, ground flax seeds or chia seeds to your smoothies. Eating vegetables regularly is another easy way to increase your daily fiber intake.