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What Is Water Weight and How Can You Lose It Fast?

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Ever been baffled about feeling bloated and puffy in the belly and the bulge that cropped up out of nowhere? This is most probably the result of water weight which is very normal to have every now and then. It is said and believed that whenever you lose weight fast, it’s more likely to be the water weight. But what exactly is this water weight and how is it any different from the real weight? Water weight is gained when excess water gets accumulated in your tissues leading to unnecessary swelling. Sometimes, the body has a tendency to retain fluids that otherwise go to kidneys. Instead of excreting this extra fluid out, the body stores it between your organs and skin.

Water weight is also called edema and is a very common phenomenon. It’s hardly a cause of concern though. Even if it is not the actual weight that you have gained, it does make you uncomfortable. Before getting on to the ways to lose water weight, it is a prerequisite to understanding the causes of it.

Causes of Water Retention in The Body

Excess Salt

Too much salt in your diet is the major cause of water weight. Sodium clings to water and stores it in the body. The consumption of sodium is directly proportional to the fluid retention capacity of the body. Thus, it is natural for the body to react to higher amounts of salt intake.


Carbohydrates also affect fluid retention, especially if they are started again after a period of cutting them down from your diet. The carbohydrates that are not used up instantly are stored as glycogen and glycogen has the property to pull in more water. So, the more glycogen your body stores, the more water it is taking in.


A week before the periods, women can retain water weight due to fluctuating hormones. This fluid retention is at its highest the very first day of the period, which is why some women get puffy and bloated.

It is also normal to observe swelling in arms, legs, face and the pubic area in the days that lead up to your period.

Physical Inactivity

Being in one position for a long time can desist the fluids from circulating around in the body. This enables water to be collected around the body tissue, causing swelling to a great magnitude.


Certain specific medicines can lead to retention of fluid as well. For instance, drugs for high blood pressure like corticosteroids and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and diabetes drugs like thiazolidinediones also do this.

Some oral contraceptives also lead to water weight. So, it is important to consult the doctor if side effects like these occur more often.


Pregnancy is the most common way to gain water weight. It escalates when you get closer to your due date. Swelling in hands, feet or ankles is pretty noticeable. What happens is that with the big belly during pregnancy, the pressure generated causes the fluid to spread out and stick around the tissues, which is why it gets difficult for water to move back into the vessels.


Sitting for long periods of time on cross-country flights or long road trips can lead to water weight. It leads to a contraction in muscles and the feet and legs swell as water pools in there.

Symptoms of Excess Water Retention

  • Swollen, stretched, and shiny skin
  • Puffiness of the ankles, face, or eyes
  • Aching body parts and stiff joints
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Fuller hand and neck veins
  • Higher pulse rate and blood pressure
  • A headache
  • Abdominal pain
  • Changes in bowel habits
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Confusion and lethargy
  • Visual disabilities

How to Lose Water Weight Fast?

Consume Less Salt


Substitute sodium-rich foods with low sodium equivalents. High quantity sodium or salt in the diet paves way for instant water retention. For a body to function properly, it must have balanced sodium to water ratio. Thus, if too much salt is taken in, the body will store water as well. So it becomes important to avoid super-salty foods.

Reduce Carbohydrate Intake


Carbohydrates also store extraneous water in the body. As mentioned above, eating carbs stores the energy which is not immediately used as glycogen and each gram of glycogen comes with 3 grams of water. The stored glycogen molecules can be easily used up if you cut down on carbs, thereby reducing water weight.
Common carbs include bread and rice. Replacing some daily sources of carbs with high-protein foods, such as lean meats, eggs, and soy products, can reduce the buildup of water weight.



Since inactivity is one of the major reasons for gaining water weight, physical activity can keep you off from gaining it in the first place. Exercising also keeps puffiness at bay. If you are on long road trips, make sure to stop the car at regular intervals to do a little stretching and flex your muscles. Walk around whenever you can and do simple exercises with your feet and legs while seated.

Drink More Water

drink water

As unbelievable as it sounds, drinking more water can help reduce water weight. Dehydration can make the body hold on to extra water to make up for the scarcity of water. Not only that, water improves kidney function, making it easier for the extra water to be driven out of the system. Adults should drink around 2 liters of water a day. Replacing sugary drinks with pure water is one way to fulfill the body’s daily water needs.

Stay Hydrated

stay hydrated

Foods containing high water content help bettering the overall hydration. Basically, it will propel water excretion from the body. Watermelon, spinach, strawberries, and cantaloupe, among other fruits and vegetables, have a lot of water.

Avoid Juices & Cleanses


It looks like juices get you to shed some extra pounds. But it’s not true. In fact, it increases your water weight. Not only are you missing out on vital nutrients like protein, but when you’re consuming just juice for a long time, your Lymphatic system suffers and can’t keep up with the fluid balance and all that liquid waste ends sticks between cells.

Consume Magnesium and Potassium Rich Foods

magnesium rich foods

The water retention among women that happens before periods can be overcome by consuming at least 100 grams of magnesium. Green vegetables and nuts are rich in magnesium. High-potassium foods like tomatoes, avocados, potatoes, and bananas contain electrolytes just like sodium. But these electrolytes work differently as they decrease sodium levels and increase the amount of water excreted.

Go High on Protein



Adding to the many benefits that protein has, it also helps in reducing water weight. A diet of pure proteins has an impressive and immediate effect. In a few days or sometimes even in a few hours, tissues soaked in the water begin to dry up, leaving a feeling of well-being and lightness that is a result of a reduction in water weight.

Water Weight Trivia

Water usually makes up 50 to 60 percent of an adult’s total body weight. Any surplus water being held in the body is termed as water weight. Water levels can make a person’s weight change by as much as 2 to 4 pounds in one day. Water retention in extremes can be a symptom of heart or kidney disease. Mostly, it is temporary and not a cause of concern. It goes away on its own or with some simple changes in lifestyle.

Although recurring, water weight is not normally something to worry about. However, it can make you miserable and uncomfortable. Following the tips stated in this article can help you get rid of water retention and prevent water weight from returning.

Read Next: Can Liquid Diets Help You Lose Weight?

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