Our bodies don’t normally gain or lose significant amounts of fat or muscle overnight. Instead, when the scale shows a gain or loss of half pound or more from the previous day, the cause is instead likely to be the amount of water your body is retaining.
Is your weight gain fat or water? How to find out.
Figuring out whether your recent weight gain is fat or water can help you decide if you should cut down on calories, or focus on managing the amount of water your body is holding.
To find out, you can compare your current weight to your weight yesterday. More than half a pound gained since yesterday is probably water weight, and you can reduce it by cutting down on salt and increasing plain water consumption.
If you have kept track of your body fat percentage with a body fat monitor, you can compare your current percentage to your results from a month ago. If the new measurement is greater than before, you’ve gained fat. If your body fat percentage has decreased but your weight has increased, the weight gain is not from added fat.
Check your extremities: are your hands, feet and ankles puffy? If yes, it is likely that your gain is water related. When you are retaining excess water, you might also notice imprints in your skin left by your socks, or your wedding ring may be tighter than usual.
Reasons for gaining water weight, and how to overcome them
Many possible causes exist for retaining water, including too much salt, sugar, dehydration, too much alcohol, dieting and women’s monthly cycle. Among other tips, if you are concerned about water weight, make an effort to drink more plain water. While it seems like the opposite of what you need to do, drinking 8 to 10 glasses per day will help flush sodium and excess fluid from your system. A well-hydrated body is healthier and is less likely to retain water.
Table salt is the most common cause of water retention. Excess sodium makes the body hold extra fluids in the cells. When you cut down salt and high sodium condiments like soy sauce, you can quickly lose water weight. If you are concerned that your food tastes bland, use spices or no-sodium, no-calorie True Lemon, True Orange or True Lime for added flavor.
Read labels of your foods and snacks and avoid those high in sodium. Anything canned or packaged probably has high sodium. Instead add fresh fruits and vegetables, especially potassium-rich foods that help your body balance its fluids. These foods include bananas, apricots, avocados and raisins. Other foods can help improve digestion and help fluids move through your body: yogurt, brown rice, cabbage and cranberry juice.
Sodium also leaves the body in your sweat during exercise, so be sure to exercise regularly, at least four times a week, to reduce water retention.
Sugar is a culprit in water weight along with salt. Too much sugar raises insulin levels, which in turn lessens the body’s ability to expel sodium. Avoid high sugar foods and opt for fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats.
Alcohol acts as a diuretic, which can lead to dehydration that makes the body hold on to fluids. When having alcoholic drinks, balance them with water.
Dieting by eating less than 1,200 calories per day, can cause your body to retain water. When we restrict calories, especially carbohydrates, the body begins to break down its protein and carbohydrates stores that hold water. When eating returns to normal and the body starts to store protein and carbohydrates again instead of breaking them down, water weight increases. For real weight loss, you must gradually reduce calorie intake to a healthy level, with a balance of carbohydrates, healthy fats and proteins.
Women’s monthly periods can cause up to five extra pounds of water weight. To overcome the bloating, do your best to exercise regularly throughout your monthly cycle, and eat more fruits and vegetables.
True Citrus products are a great way to help minimize salt and sugar in your diet, while still keeping you satisfied. Our line of unsweetend citrus products are great for use in water, tea, and recipes. Made from 100% natural ingredients, they contain 0 calories, 0g carbs, 0g sugar, and no preservatives, sodium, gluten, artificial flavors or sweeteners. Our sweetened citrus drink mix products are the perfect alternative to juices, sodas, and alcoholic beverages. Also made from 100% natural ingredients, they contain only 10 calories, 1g carbs, 1g sugar, and no preservatives, sodium, gluten, artificial flavors or sweeteners.