Every once in a while, it feels like your body transforms overnight. On Sunday, your favorite jeans fit you. Come Monday, they’ll barely button. If it were Super Bowl Sunday, it would be one thing–all the eating and booze drinking could explain what seems to be the incredible shrinking pants. But it was just a normal Sunday–no binging on bon-bons, no junk-food filled marathon meals. So what’s to blame for the overnight bump in size?
The answer: water weight.
Water weight is when your body retains fluids within its tissues or cavities. Water weight is most commonly referred to as bloating, and is often linked to a woman’s menstrual cycle since 85 percent of women experience bloating during this time, according to the Mayo Clinic. While the suspected reason for the bloating is hormonal level fluctuations, when menstruation has nothing to do with the round belly and swollen features, there are other factors involved.
How you eat, how much your drink–water, soda, or big girl beverages–and how much you move all play important roles, too. If you’re ready to send water weight down the drain, it’s time to give these tips a try.
Skip the Sodium: Sodium, along with potassium, are what make up electrolytes, which help to control your bodily functions. When you eat a lot of sodium, your electrolytes rise, and with it so does your thirst. Drink adequate amounts of water and the balance is usually restored. But until you do, your body tries to dilute the salt by retaining water in order to strike a balance. The water moving from the bloodstream to the skin is what causes you to look puffy.
On the flip side, if you’ve been eating a diet high in sodium, such as fast or processed food, making a switch to healthier whole foods can cause the scale to drop quickly. It’s not fat that you’ve lost, but instead water weight.
Drink More Water: It may seem counter-intuitive to drink water to get rid of water weight, but H2O has a positive effect on reducing bloating. It helps to flush excess salt out of the system, and aid in digestion. Go for plain water or a brew a batch of green tea, which is a natural diuretic.
Get Moving: While water weight and bloating may seem like the perfect match for a movie marathon on the couch, exercise is a better choice. Take a bike ride, go for a hike, or put on some tunes and dance around the room. The cardio exercise will get your heart rate up and your blood circulation primed to waste the water weight.
Eat Strategically: In addition to avoiding foods high in sodium, skip foods high in carbohydrates, such as bread, pasta, and rice. These foods are said to cause your body to hold onto three times as much water weight as protein. When hunger strikes, choose lean meats, such as chicken and fish. Add in fresh fruits and veggies, as well as the green leafy good stuff–all of which are said to help prevent bloating.
Water weight doesn’t have to weigh you down. Continue on the path toward healthy living–eating whole foods and exercising–and you can soon say goodbye to bloating.