How to Lose Water Weight (Expert Guide)
Water weight is relatively common, especially among women. It rarely causes any health complications, but it can be an indication of serious preexisting conditions. This guide outlines recommendations on how to lose water weight that you can incorporate into your daily routine.
Excess Water and the Body
About 50%–60% of an adult’s body weight is composed of water. This is the normal percentage of your weight that water should comprise, and anything above that would indicate that your body is holding excess water. Water weight causes puffiness mostly around the abdomen, legs, and chest. When the body retains excess water, your weight can fluctuate by 4 lb in a single day.
Edema is another name for water retention and could signify an underlying health condition. A medical diagnosis should determine whether your water weight stems from a medical issue. Most edema resolves on its own. However, you can expedite the process by making lifestyle changes and taking appropriate measures. This guide explains how to get rid of water weight in the belly, arms, legs, or any other area.
Risk Factors of Water Weight
People of all sizes and ages can retain water weight, but the chances are much higher in people with the following conditions or lifestyles:
- heart, liver, or kidney problems
- corticosteroids use
- contraceptives use
- inactivity or a sedentary lifestyle
Managing these causes is the first recommendation given to those inquiring about how to lose water weight in the face and other areas.
Symptoms of Water Weight
How water retention manifests depends on the area of our body it affects. It’s more likely to appear on the chest, lower legs, abdomen, and hands. When it occurs in the limbs, feet, and hands, the following symptoms are more likely:
- puffy or shiny skin
- changes in skin color
- pitting edema
- stiff joints
- aches and tenderness
- weight gain
Fluid retention can occur in different parts of the body, including the brain, and can lead to several problems such as:
- blurry vision
- physical imbalance
These are the major health symptoms that come with fluid retention in the brain, and they can be life-threatening. There are many other potentially lethal consequences of edema, especially when it affects sensitive organs like the lungs. However, we aren’t going to discuss these dangers in great detail since this guide aims to teach you how to get rid of water weight quickly. We’ll only briefly mention these health issues to emphasize the need to ascertain why you are retaining water.
How Water Retention Affects the Lungs
Excess water in the lungs is known as “pulmonary edema.” This is usually a sign of a serious heart or respiratory system problem. Pulmonary edema is characterized by difficulty breathing, cough, chest pain, and weakness, because this condition impedes the transfer of oxygen to other body organs.
How to Get Rid of Water Weight
Water weight generally goes away on its own—usually fast, unless it stems from an underlying health condition. When doctors treat water weight, they usually focus on detecting these conditions and dealing with them in the appropriate manner. However, most water weight treatments are DIY, as we’ll observe below.
Diuretics (Water Pills)
Diuretics are a popular treatment option for water weight. These pills help the kidneys get rid of excess water in the body. More particularly, they increase your frequency of urination to reduce the amount of water held up in your body. Urination rids the body of water and sodium, making a double impact on your water weight by eliminating two causes simultaneously. The main drawback of diuretics is that they’re a short-term method to lose water weight due to the risk of dehydration.
More complications can result from diuretics, including kidney damage and increased water retention (in case of dehydration). Other systems and organs that play an important role in maintaining water levels include the circulatory system, urinary system, hormonal regulation system, and the liver. You can reduce water weight by ensuring these systems are in order and functioning optimally.
Give Medicinal Herbs a Chance
Some herbs are natural diuretics, and their extracts may help alleviate water weight symptoms. One remedy of this kind that is often mentioned when discussing how to lose water weight naturally is the dandelion extract. While there isn’t any concrete scientific backing for this claim, a report from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) claims this extract is widely used for its diuretic properties.
Reduce Your Sodium Intake
Moderating your sodium consumption is a simple way to get rid of water weight if you have access to a healthy variety of foods. Sodium is one of the elements that make the body retain excess water. For your body to function properly, it must maintain the correct water-to-sodium ratio. When you consume too much sodium, the body responds by withholding more water to balance out the influx of sodium. That’s why, even though water weight is not caused by an excess of calories, potent appetite suppressants might actually be able to help to a point.
Sources of Excess Sodium
You may think that table salt is the immediate cause of sodium-related water weight. But the truth is that 75% of the sodium we consume comes from processed foods like cheese, bread, and others. The best sources of healthy sodium are natural foods like vegetables, nuts, seeds, etc. These are low in sodium but provide just enough for the body to function well and also allow you to lose water weight fast.
Some natural foods even reduce the amount of sodium in the body, and it’s advisable to consume high amounts of these foods if you’re having issues with water weight. These foods include bananas, avocados, leafy vegetables, and more. You can guess to a reasonable degree of accuracy whether your water weight results from excess sodium consumption by reflecting on your diet. For instance, if you eat more processed foods than whole foods, your water weight might be caused by sodium.
Drink More Water
This may sound counterproductive because you’re trying to get rid of excess water. However, a close examination of how consuming more water affects your body reveals this is an excellent way to get rid of water weight. Namely, drinking enough water helps your kidneys to function better in detoxifying the body of excess sodium.
As an adult, drink at least 2 liters of water daily. Replacing your sugary drinks with water is a great step towards this. While this won’t help you if you want to know how to lose water weight overnight, it does yield results in the long term.
The Energy-Burning Advantage of Water
Another advantage of increasing your water intake is rooted in its energy-burning properties. Namely, water increases the body’s metabolic processes via resting energy expenditure. Consuming 0.5 liters of water results in an increase in metabolic rate that burns an extra 23 calories.
Reduce Your Carbohydrate Intake
Carbohydrates are a significant cause of water weight due to the amount of water that excess energy molecules pack. Any carbs we consume that the body doesn’t use end up stored as glycogen molecules. Every 1 g of glycogen leads to the retention of 3 g of water. In other words, the more energy that your body stores, the greater the amount of water it retains.
One of the top ways to lose water weight is to free up this excess water by burning carbs. You can do this either by reducing your carbs intake so that your body turns to its reserves for energy or by engaging in physical exercises and activities. According to the Institute of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board, you should consume no more than 130 g of carbohydrates every day.
Reducing your carbohydrate intake doesn’t necessarily imply starving yourself. You can consume more nutrients such as protein from foods like eggs, lean meat, fish, and others to help reduce the buildup of glycogen molecules. Likewise, you might benefit from looking into high-quality sugar substitutes and incorporating them into your diet.
Vitamin B6 and magnesium are powerful remedies for water weight. These supplements support your organs in detoxifying the body. They also help you overcome problems like bloating, swelling, and breast tenderness. If you want to know how to lose water weight in a week, supplements designed specifically to make that happen abound, but they can be dangerous due to rapid dehydration.
Women with the premenstrual syndrome can use these supplements to improve their condition. However, you shouldn’t take magnesium and vitamin B6 supplements without consulting a doctor. Supplements usually have side effects that could be dangerous, especially if you have an underlying health condition or if you take an overdose.
To reiterate, getting rid of just 1 g of glycogen translates into 3 g of water weight loss. Exercise statistics show that working out is a great way to achieve this. However, there is another way that the body can get rid of excess water through exercise, and that is sweating. Notably, sweating causes an immediate drop in your water level. On the other hand, exercise reduces fluid buildup in the body, especially in the limbs and feet, improving blood circulation.
Many exercises help your body lose excess water. To derive the most benefit, engage in exercises that make you sweat—even though this is not an obligatory precondition for exercising to positively influence water weight. It’s also important to drink water after any sweating session, or you risk dehydration. Summarily, exercise is possibly the best way to get rid of water weight naturally.
How to Prevent Water Weight
It’s impossible to completely prevent water weight, but certain lifestyle changes can help reduce the risk. Key among all preventive measures is to maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly. The kind of lifestyle you lead also plays a role in preventing water weight.
Here are some points to note when trying to prevent water weight:
- manage your weight
- exercise regularly
- wear support stockings against lower limbs edema
- don’t sit or stand for too long
- take walking breaks during journeys
- avoid hot environments
We’ve explored the main recommendations on how to lose water weight. Most methods are DIY, with only a couple requiring professional assistance. However, you need to know what’s causing your water weight to deal with it effectively. Applying any of our recommendations without eliminating the cause of water retention won’t solve your problem.
How long does it take to drop water weight?
This depends on the cause of your water weight and the remedy you apply. If it’s caused by an underlying health problem, it will stick around until you deal with that problem. That said, if your water weight isn’t triggered by a specific existing condition, correctly applying one or more of the recommendations this guide outlines should get your body back to shape within weeks.
How do you lose water weight overnight?
You can only do away with water weight overnight if it doesn’t stem from a preexisting health condition like kidney or liver problems, abnormal circulatory system, etc. Even with this, you still need to employ a diuretic that triggers increased urination. However, regardless of how much you think you know about how to get rid of water weight on your own, consult your doctor first.
How do you know if it's water weight?
You can determine this from the several symptoms of water weight, including puffy or shiny skin, stiff joints, weight gain, pitting edema, changes in skin color, swelling, aches, and tenderness. If you know how to lose water weight, and none of the methods you try result in a reduction of water retention promptly, make sure to consult your doctor immediately.