So You’ve got Water-Weight? The Real Truth About Water Weight and What to Do About It
“I’m not really that heavy,” you or someone you know may have said while stepping off the bathroom scale, “It’s just water-weight.”
You’ve probably heard about water-weight since you were a kid, your mom complaining about swollen ankles or grandparents about bloating bellies. But what is water-weight really? Is it even a real, or is it an old-wives tale? Can water really be responsible for weight retention and if so, how and why? Let’s cut through the misconceptions and uncover some thirst-quenching facts.
“Water weight is real for some people,” says Katherine Zeratsky, a specialty nutritionist and dietician with the coauthor of “The Mayo Clinic Diet.” This is an important to understand, because clinical experts acknowledge that water-weight exists, but NOT as an autonomous condition.
The human body is 70% water, so we ALL retain a lot of it all of the time. Water is referred to in the field of chemistry as a “universal solvent,” meaning that it can dissolve more substances than any other known liquid. This is great news for us as humans because it means we can consume and break down a wide variety of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. However, this means that necessary processes like digestion and waste filtration require adequate hydration to function properly.
It may seem confusing, but water-weight retention usually isn’t a water issue at all – it’s a SALT issue. “Having too much salt or sodium in the body is a big factor, and so is being sedentary and not moving around enough,” Zeratsky says. When the body’s sodium and water levels become unbalanced (leading to dehydration), the body actually holds onto the remaining water – leading to bloating and swelling of stomach and extremities. This “water-weight” is retained until the sodium/water ratio balance is restored.
What can you do?
Since we’ve discovered that water-weight is really a hydration/sodium issue leading to water retention, there are a couple of areas in your day-to-day life you should analyze.
What do you drink? Most Americans drink coffee in the morning, teas and sodas at lunchtime, and alcoholic drinks in the evening. While all of these liquids have water in them, they also contain massive amounts of sodium and sugar that throw off the body’s sodium/water balance. Cut back on everything else, drink the clear stuff, and watch your body respond positively.
What do you eat? You guessed it…more SODIUM talk! Snacks like pretzels, chips, popcorn, breads, etc., all contain high levels of salts. Of course if you eat fast-food several times a week you are consuming even greater amounts of sodium than you would preparing meals at home. Consider eating more prepared meals with FRESH ingredients rather than items with a long shelf-life.
Find out if water is weighing you down at Be Well 365
Water weight is real and could be the cause of your weight struggles, but it could also be something entirely different! We encourage you to come in to discover more about how your body works and what you can do to improve your overall wellness. Contact us today to set up a consultation!