How much weight does swelling add? There is nothing more frustrating than exercising, eating the right foods then stepping on the scale the next day, only to find your weight is up…ugh! Is it water retention or fat? Here are some tips on how to stop bloating water retention weight gain.
I have created a weight loss plan on Intermittent Fasting that many are following. In that plan, I recommend weighing yourself everyday to keep track, however, one of the most discouraging factor for us all is water weight gain.
Retaining water and its resultant weight gain is a problem for many women so here’s some information about how to solve this troublesome issue.
Why Do I Retain Water?
The medical term for any kind of fluid retention, including water, is edema. Water retention occurs in the circulatory system and causes swelling in the ankles, feet, and legs and bloating.
Edema often is a problem with people whose lifestyle is very sedentary with little or no exercise and for those who are bedridden.
It can also be a sign of heart failure or kidney disease, so if you’re experiencing severe water retention, especially if it comes on suddenly, see a doctor as soon as possible.
If the condition is not severe and is causing discomfort, bloating and/or swelling and if there is no medical problem, the best solution is making changes in your exercise habits and in your diet.
What is water retention?
When the body is retaining water, it means there is too much water in the tissues that are between the body cells. There are many reasons why that can happen that are outlined below.
High salt levels
Water retention is also caused by too much salt in your diet everyday. If you eat a lot of processed food, the levels are even higher, and you will retain more water.
Generally, eating too many carbohydrates can cause you to retain water. That’s why you sometimes feel bloated after you eat a heavy meal. And worse, you may wake up the next morning weighing five more pounds. That’s water weight.
The problem is carbohydrates require water to be processes by the body. Every gram of carbohydrate needs three to four water grams to be processed and stored.
For example, if you eat one cup of pasta, that’s about 37 carbohydrate grams which need 110-115 grams of water to be processed. That’s about half a pound of water. The average person will eat about 1-1/2 pounds of water weight everyday just from the carbohydrates in their diet. If you don’t eat carbohydrates, you’ll quickly lose that extra weight.
Women are particularly susceptible to water retention caused by their sex hormones. Women often retain water during certain points in their menstrual cycle. In fact, 92 percent of women retain water in the week before their period starts. Then, once the bleeding starts, the water weight goes away. Also, during your period, there are higher levels of sodium and potassium in your body.
The stress hormone cortisol is another cause of water retention. Cortisol causes problems for several reasons and that includes edema. It is not known how much cortisol it takes to increase water retention, but it is believed that cortisol increases body fat that is made of both water and fat. So, if you’re stressed and feel bloated and puffy, it’s most likely from water.
How much water you can gain with water retention?
Depending on the foods you eat and the amount you take in, your body can hold about five pounds of water per day. If you add up all the causes of water retention, your weight can easily fluctuate up to 10 pounds a day. If you are premenstrual or have just eaten a high-carbohydrate dinner, the chances are even higher that you will gain water weight.
What about water retention with PMS?
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is often the cause of water retention in most women. It is believed that a lack of essential minerals and vitamins along with too much salt are triggers for water retention in women.
It has also been suggested that a low blood sugar during PMS leads to water retention. In this case, the low blood sugar levels cause your body to retain water because they release adrenaline. This release causes the body to push more blood sugar into your system. Then, once the glucose is out of the body, the cells are left with too much water and this leads to bloating and weight gain.
How can I tell if I’m retaining water?
As mentioned above, if you retain water, you can gain between two to five pound per day. One of the most common signs is bloating in your abdomen, tight clothing, and swelling in your ankles and feet.
What can I do to reduce water retention?
- Eat less salt. It is important that you eat less salt, junk food, and processed foods to reduce edema. Read labels and stay away from foods that are high in salt. Take the salt shaker off the table. Do you really need that extra salt on your food?
- Calcium supplements. It is believed that calcium supplements taken during meals can help reduce the retention of water.
- Magnesium. A study found that women who took 200 mg of magnesium daily had less water retention during PMS. Magnesium is found naturally in dark chocolate, green vegetables, nuts, and whole grains.
- Exercise. Working out during your period will help you avoid weight gain and water retention. It increases the flow of blood to your kidneys and helps carry excess water out of your body.
- Stay hydrated. It may sound counter-intuitive, but one of the best ways to avoid water retention is to stay hydrated by drinking a lot of fluid. This fluid helps the kidneys remove excess water out of your body.
- Natural diuretics. Another way to reduce water retention is to drink a natural diuretic such as lemon water and eat grapefruit.
Water retention is a very common problem, especially for women, but it doesn’t have to be. Try one of these remedies and you will be pleased with the results.