The skinny on water weight
We’ve all been there. It’s the morning after a night of indulgence and we step on the scale to find a magic gain of three pounds.
Instead of being devastated by your number, think about what you ate the night before. Did you eat a lot of salt or sugar? It could be that your body simply retained what is known as water weight.
Michelle Remkus, registered dietitian at the Advocate Good Samaritan Health and Wellness Center in Downers Grove, Ill., says there are many reasons why our bodies retain water.
“When your body is dehydrated, it will hold on to excess water,” Remkus says.
Sodium is a big determinate in water retention. Remkus says that salty foods dehydrate our bodies and whatever water we drink, we retain it in order to return balance to our cells’ electrolytes.
Remkus explains that by storing water after a sodium heavy day, the kidneys adjust the levels of sodium in our bodies. They then expel it once an ideal ratio is attained.
“It could be from hot weather, a high salt diet, pregnancy, congestive heart failure, kidney disease, medication or physical inactivity,” she says.
Remkus says that the best ways to beat the bloat is to exercise, drink more water and make sure you eat enough potassium and fiber in your diet.
Exercising will allow salt to escape through your sweat which makes the job easier on your kidneys, she says. Working out also reduces inflammation which will reduce overall water retention. She adds that drinking more water gives your body the ability to dissolve sodium and expel it faster.
“The standard recommendation for healthy individuals living in a warm temperate climate is a total daily beverage intake of 13 cups for men and 9 cups for women,” she says.
She says that potassium also helps regulate water retention and fiber maintains an overall healthy digestive system.
Remkus says it’s good to weigh yourself on a regular basis to get an overall picture of your health and weight. However, some experts say that weight can fluctuate up to five pounds per day.
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