Dealing with water weightWater is a big deal. In fact, your body is made up of between 55 percent to 75 percent water.

It seems odd that water retention can be a concern when our body composition is mostly made of water, but it’s not a myth. 

The term, “water weight,” is the real deal. If you’re holding onto extra water weight you could be holding onto an extra five to 10 pounds at any given time. 

Water weight gain can cause embarrassment, and swelling, achiness, and discomfort. 

With so many new supplements and plans out there claiming to help you lose water weight fast, it can be hard to determine how to drop it in a healthy way. 

The good news is that just by making a few modifications to your lifestyle you can finally drop the excess water weight for good.

What Is Water Weight?

Before we dive into tips and tricks to help you lose water weight, it’s important to understand what water retention is and what causes it. When we talk about water weight, we often liken it to feeling bloated. 

While carrying excess water weight can cause swelling and puffiness, bloating is typically caused by digestive issues or food intolerances and allergies. 

Holding onto water weight occurs when fluid collects in your tissues causing them to swell. This type of water retention, although annoying, is very normal and not to be confused with edema. 

Edema is chronic water retention. Patients with edema can be carrying rather large amounts of water weight, in fact, some case studies have reported patients with up to 88 pounds of water retention due to multiple medical issues. If you suspect your water retention is regular and does not improve with some of the tips in this article, seek out medical advice from your physician.

What Causes Water Weight?What is water weight?

Excess water weight can be caused by many things, but the main culprits are typically dietary choices. I love a nice warm soft pretzel covered in salt, but that particular snack is the perfect storm when it comes to water retention. 

Here’s why: sodium binds with water, so a diet high in salt may be to blame for that extra 2-3 pounds that came from out of nowhere. 

Excess carbohydrates can also be to blame for water retention. In order to explain, we have to get a little science-y. 

Carbohydrates are your body’s preferred source of energy. When you consume certain types of carbs your body will use what it can immediately, while the rest is stored as glycogen for a boost later. 

For every one gram of carbohydrates stored in the body as glycogen, there are approximately 2-3 grams of water retained. Hello, water weight!

Other causes of water retention can be hormonal, stress-related, or even due to specific medications. If you’re wondering how to get rid of water weight, the good news is that excess water weight is usually temporary and with some easy lifestyle hacks, it’s totally easy to overcome.

How to Get Rid of Water WeightHow to lose water weight

If you’re ready to say goodbye to those stubborn few pounds and learn how to lose water weight for good, here are some tried and true tricks to help you do it:

  • Reduce your sodium intake. While perhaps it’s not a bad idea to skip the extra few shakes from the salt shaker, it’s important to know that sodium can be found in some sneaky places. Most of our daily salt consumption comes from processed foods like canned goods, frozen “meals,” and fast food. Cleaning up your diet and eating less processed foods will help beat the bloat that excess water weight can cause.
  • Drink more water. When focusing on how to lose water weight it sounds crazy to guzzle more water in an attempt to lose it. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but dehydration can actually cause your body to hold onto excess water in order to make up for the lack of water coming in. Grab your half-gallon carry jug and take 10 big gulps NOW!
  • Get some sleep! When it comes to your overall health and wellness, sleep is just as important as diet and exercise! Studies have shown that sleep has an effect on the renal sympathetic nerves in the kidneys, which can help in the regulation of sodium and water balance. A good night’s sleep could be just what the doctor ordered to cut down on that extra weight.
  • Stress less. Stress triggers the hormone cortisol, which you may have heard can responsible for stubborn belly fat can also cause bouts of water retention. Cortisol and the hormone ADH (antidiuretic hormone) work hand in hand to help balance water in the body, so any spikes of these hormones in your system may cause excess water weight. Cut the stress out of your day by committing to a self-care routine to help banish stress and water retention for good.
  • Cut carbs. Let me start by screaming from the rooftops that carbs are NOT bad, however you CAN have too much of a good thing. Glycogen stores and rises in insulin levels could be to blame for those few extra pounds of water weight you’re carrying. Try tracking your nutrition for a week to see if you are overindulging on carbs. Not sure where to start? A certified LadyBoss® Personal Results Coach can help!
  • Try a magnesium supplement, period. If you’ve ever stepped on the scale during “that time of the month” it’s likely to have induced a minor panic attack. Every woman is different, but fluctuations in hormones during our menstrual cycle can definitely cause excess water weight. Studies have shown that increased magnesium can help reduce PMS symptoms and help cut back excess water weight. Try an over the counter magnesium supplement, or drink electrolytes to help boost both magnesium and potassium levels – BONUS!
  • Get off the couch! Regular exercise is one of the best ways to reduce water retention. Sweat = water loss in the body. Check out these awesome cardio workouts that are sure to make you sweat buckets and shed those extra pounds.

Don’t Worry

It is important to remember that an extra couple of pounds of water weight is typically temporary and will either dissipate on its own or can be remedied with some of the lifestyle change tips above. 

If you are unable to reduce excess water weight with the tips above or your water retention seems to worsen, it may be a sign of an underlying medical issue.

Please visit your doctor if you are concerned about excess water weight.

Coach Amy, ACE, CNA, NESTA
Amy Mouw is a certified lifestyle and weight management coach, nutrition consultant and is certified as a personal trainer by the American Council on Exercise and the National Exercise and Sports Trainers Association. She’s also a life coach and has more than 10 years of experience in the health and wellness industry. As a wife and mom of four kiddos ages 1-17, Amy specializes in helping moms regain their confidence so they can be the best version of themselves while better serving their families.