Water weight gain: how to avoid it
Author: Susan Bowerman
Is it water or is it fat?
The good news is that temporary water weight gain is just that – it’s temporary, and it’s water… not fat. (it would be nearly impossible to gain three pounds of fat overnight. To store a pound of fat, you’d need to eat 3500 calories more than you need – which means you’d need to eat more than 10,000 extra calories to gain 3 pounds of fat in one day.)
Tips for reducing temporary water weight gain
Temporary water weight gain can often be tackled with a few simple dietary changes.
Reduce your salt intake
Focus on foods that are as close as possible to their natural state, since the more processed a food is, the more sodium it’s likely to have. Keep salty snacks, soups, condiments and sauces to a minimum and use the salt shaker lightly in cooking and at the table.
Cut back on refined starches and sweets
Rather than highly refined carbohydrates like white bread, regular pasta and white rice, turn to whole grain varieties. Since they take longer to digest, they’re less likely to cause a big spike in blood sugar – and insulin – when you eat them. And, switch from sugary drinks to water or tea instead.
Drink plenty of water
It seems like that last thing you’d want to do – put more fluid into your body when it already feels overloaded. But drinking fluids will help your body to eliminate excess salt and water. Aim for 6-8 glasses a day.
Potassium plays a critical role in maintaining fluid balance in the body, and needs to be in the proper balance with sodium. Potassium is found in abundance in fruits and vegetables, but most people don’t get nearly enough potassium in the diet. Try to have a fruit or vegetable at every meal or snack.
Susan Bowerman is Director of Nutrition Training at Herbalife. Susan is a Registered Dietitian and a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.