When you are working hard to lose weight, you may see fluctuations when you step on the scale. A few pounds lighter and you may feel motivated to keep going, but a few pounds heavier can make you feel like theres no point. These fluctuations, however could be due to water weight. So how can you know whether your efforts are paying off or not?
What is Water Weight and Why Does It Come Off Faster?
When we lose body weight, there are changes in muscle, fat and water. Because water is 60% of your body weight, its the first weight you lose. You can lose as much as 5 pounds of water in a day. You lose about 1.8-4.4 of fluid a day, mainly due to urine loss. Obviously you are replacing a lot of this with more food and water. Losing fat is a lot harder – to burn one pound of fat you need to burn over 4000 calories!
What Affects Water Loss?
Low Carb Diets
When you cut carbs, your body dips into glycogen for extra energy which is taken from stored carbs. Its usually stored with lots of water, so as your body taps into it it releases a lot of water.
High Protein Diets
Upping your protein intake means you will lose more water through urine, as the protein breakdown creates urea and other water that need water to remove them from the body.
Alcohol dehydrates us as is prevents release of a hormone that regulates how much water we lose through urine. So it is a way to get rid of water weight, but isnt a solution for losing weight.
Intense workouts mean we sweat, and lose water wight that way. However, it is important to replace your fluids when it comes to sweating, as even mild dehydration can affect your energy levels
If you have a high salt diet, your body holds onto water to dilute the salt. Over time, this can harm your health as holding excess sodium and fluid increases your blood pressure, causing your heart to work harder. It’s a good idea to cut down on sodium in general to stay healthy.
No one likes feeling bloated, and its normal for water weight to fluctuate from day to day. Weighing yourself weekly is better than daily to really gauge your progress. It’s also important not to abstain from water to feel like you are losing weight – good hydration actually helps your weight loss by curbing hunger and enhancing fat burn.