Obesity is soaring across the world as people who need to lose weight often find the complex problem too daunting to tackle. The issue is fuelled by the rise of sedentary lifestyles, with people increasingly opting for cheap, fatty, sugary, salty, and high-calorie ‘junk food’. And that’s not all; obesity is a major risk factor for heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, and certain cancers.
However, if it’s not always food or lack of exercise that contributes to your increasing weight then what causes these fluctuations?
Since water makes up about 60% of your total body weight, at times, it might be possible that you retain more water than you lose. If you’ve suddenly gained weight in a few days, you may think you actually accumulated fat, but you really didn’t.
What Causes Water Weight?
If you’ve gained weight in a short period of time – say, a few days or weeks – you’ve most likely gained water weight. Swollen ankles and fingers, a bloated stomach, and sluggishness are all indicators of excess water weight in your body. Excess water is usually stored all over your body in between blood vessels and tissues, and is inclined to pool in the extremities.
There are many contributing factors for water retention, with weather conditions being one of them – you are more likely to retain water when the climate is warm or hot. Even activities such as sitting or standing for long periods can cause your tissue to hold excess water. If you’re on your feet most of the time at your job, there’s a chance you may get swollen ankles and legs. Hormonal changes in women can lead to water retention in the days leading up to their period cycle. Hormones taken for hormone replacement therapy or birth control can also result in excess water retention in your body.
How Is Fat Weight Different?
There are a number of factors that contribute to fat weight. Unlike water weight – where a person gains water in a short span of time – fat weight usually takes many weeks or months to become visible. Fat weight is caused when you eat more calories than your body burns. The amount you eat and drink, along with how much physical activity you get, are determining reasons for weight gain. Foods high in sugar and fat, such as cakes, sodas, chips and other fast food items are a concentrated source of calories. A diet rich in such foods inevitably leads to fat accumulation, and thereby weight gain.
How To Reduce Water Weight?
Here is a list of recommended points that can help you reduce your water weight:
Oddly, drinking sufficient water throughout the day can help alleviate water retention. Drinking less water can cause your body to hold onto water – your body stores any fluid it gets through the diet. Hence, it is important to stay hydrated if you’re facing water retention problems.
2. Low-Salt Diet
Having a high-salt diet could lead to your body holding onto excess water weight. According to WebMD, an individual must not consume more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium in a day (1). A person with excess water weight should opt for fruit, low-fat yogurt and small servings of nuts, rather than consuming salty processed snacks.
3. Herbal Remedies
Herbal remedies have been used to cure water retention for many years. Sticky plant, dandelion, and cleavers have a natural diuretic action that can help your bladder and kidney to be more active so you urinate more often.
4. Potassium Helps
Potassium goes a long way in moderating many important bodily functions, including water balance. According to experts, potassium-rich food items like papaya, pumpkins, bananas, and plantains help tackle water retention (2). The mineral counteracts some of the effects of excess sodium consumption.
5. Working out
Regular exercising is another way to ditch extra water weight. Working up a sweat can also help reduce inflammation, resulting in you retaining less water. Having already mentioned how sitting or standing in one place can cause fluid to accumulate in your feet and ankles, walking and cardiovascular exercise can help minimize this water retention.
6. Raising Your Feet
Resting with your feet placed above the level of your heart can help remove water out of your ankles and feet. For best results, you should repeat the procedure a few times a day.
7. Vitamin B Deficiencies
A lack of magnesium, as well as vitamins B1, B5, and B6 are linked to water retention (3). One of the key functions of vitamin B5 is to help excrete excess fluid from the body.
By adopting the above measures, you will not just see a reduction in your water weight, but it will also contribute to your overall weight loss. You’ll be on your way to a thinner you in no time!