6 Factors That Affect Our Water Weight
Have you ever jumped into eating healthy and find yourself 5 pounds lighter after a week? It's pretty motivating, isn't it?
If you are working towards a specific goal, this can motivate you -- but what about if the scale says you are heavier? These fluctuations may be water weight, and not that you've gained body fat.
What Exactly is Water Weight?
When we lose weight, it is a change in our muscle, fat, and water. Since water makes up 60% of your body weight, it is one of the first things that we burn off.
Related - Calculate Your Recommended Water Weight
Our fat mass won't change overnight, but it's possible to lose up to 5 pounds of water in a day. On average, a 24-hour urine loss would range anywhere between 800-2,000 milliliters of fluid.
That's 1.8-4.4 pounds.
So while we are losing water between urination and sweating, we are replenishing it with food and drink.
Depending on which studies or calculations you use, a pound of fat is 3,500-4,086 calories -- it's hard to get that amount of caloric burn.
Why Water Weight Comes Off First
Weight loss includes eating fewer calories and exercising. When you start cutting your calories, especially carbs, your body will start burning muscle glycogen for energy.
Glycogen is basically stored carbohydrates, and they are stored in the liver and your skeletal muscles. Glycogen is often stored with a lot of water, so when you start burning glycogen, it will release a lot of water.
So now that you have an introduction on how your water weight works, let's check out six factors that can affect your water loss.
Factors That Impact Water Weight
1.) Low Carb
Cutting carbs forces your body to use glycogen as fuel. Since glycogen is stored carbohydrates, it shouldn't be a surprise that your water weight will decrease if you decrease your carbohydrate intake.
If you are making great progress in your weight loss journey and you have a carbohydrate-rich cheat meal, chances are the next few days you will have more water weight. Being smart about your cheat days allows you to eat foods you like without it completely ruining your hard work.
When we eat protein, our bodies break down that protein and creates urea and other nitrogenous wastes what we remove through our urine.
So opting for a chicken breast or thigh instead of that processed junk food will enhance your weight loss.
Salt and sodium are two things that are packed into processed foods.
When we eat an excessive amount of salt, our bodies have to dilute with water. This has an effect on your weight, but it can do a lot of harm to your health over time.
This is why working on your salt intake is important. Your weight is affected by eating too much salt, but the wear and tear on your cardiovascular system is what you need to be worried about.
Research shows that caffeine is a mild diuretic, which means it increases urination and water loss.
Studies have suggested that these effects are strongest in individuals who are new to drinking caffeine, or deprived of caffeine. So for those of us that drink caffeinated beverages regularly, this doesn't affect us as much.
Did you know that hangover you had was likely caused by dehydration?
Alcohol prevents our bodies from releasing vasopressin. This is a pituitary gland hormone that regulates how much water we lose through urine.
If you consume alcohol regularly, your body will have a hard time maintaining a balance.
Losing water is a side effect of drinking alcohol, but it's not a solution to lose water weight.
I love throwing on a hoodie and getting my sweat on. Mild dehydration can impact performance, so we need to be sure to get in as much water as we are burning.
Did you know some long-distance runners often weigh themselves both before and after their training so they know how much water they need to drink to replace their sweat loss?
A solid sweat session feels great and can help you shed some water weight fast.
Wrapping It Up
I don't know anybody that likes to feel bloated. Fortunately, this is a short-term issue.
The moral of this story is that your water weight fluctuates throughout the day, so don't get discouraged if the scale is creeping the wrong way.
If you've ever heard the tip to weigh yourself at the same time every time you get on a scale, this is why. This is also why it is best to weigh yourself weekly instead of daily, due to water weight fluctuations.
Your long-term weight loss goals shouldn't include manipulating your water weight. It should include exercise, eating right, and burning body fat. Oddly enough, staying well-hydrated aids in your weight-loss journey due to curbing your hunger and enhancing your body's ability to burn fat.