If you’re looking for the best answer on how to lose water weight then I’m going to show you in 5 easy steps.
Now water weight itself isn’t usually dangerous but that doesn’t make it any less unwanted on your body. When you’re retaining water you’ll instinctively feel it everywhere.
It can feel like carrying water weight makes you look 10 pounds heavier than you actually are. And water weight on your body tends to go to the most unwanted of all places like your legs, face, arms, and belly.
I’ve been there before after a weekend of fun on a Monday morning looking in the mirror to see a bloated puffed out face. The good news I’m going to show you how to speed up the process of losing this unwanted water weight.
I like to call it… de-puffing!
But even if you’re sticking to your diet you could also be holding onto extra water weight. This can make it incredibly frustrating and confusing when you step on the scale to weigh yourself.
So if you need to drop those 5-10 pounds of water weight fast then I’ll show you how to do it. Then you can quickly get rid of the bloating and puffing in your body.
How Much Water Weight Can You Lose in a Day
A telltale sign of carrying water weight is looking in the mirror and seeing your cheeks getting bigger. Now, this is the opposite of what most of us want in a sharp jaw bone and hollowed out cheekbones.
Carrying water weight is when your body is essentially holding onto fluids that it would otherwise go to your kidneys. And of course, then it would eliminate through urination.
But instead of peeing out that fluid your body pushes this water out to your skin and organs to hang onto. Many factors contribute to holding onto the water we’ll get into.
Since your body is made up of about 60% water you should know that water weight does not equal “fat weight.”
Usually, after a weekend of fun (eating and drinking poorly), your body can easily pack on up to 5 pounds of water weight. This is evident when you wake up Monday morning to swollen fingers, a bloated stomach, and stiff joints.
And since your bodyweight can easily fluctuate up to 5 pounds a day from water weight you have to be careful when weighing yourself. It can derail your motivation to not see your weight going down even though you’re dieting and exercising.
This is why it’s a good idea to track your progress by also measuring your body fat percentage, inches and how your clothes fit.
Getting Rid of Water Weight Is an Easy Win
Now I already said losing water weight isn’t the same thing as losing fat weight.
It’s much easier to lose that initial water weight than it’ll ever be to lose this same weight from fat.
And, indeed, you’ll quickly gain this water weight back if you slack too much off your diet and workout plan. But with that said let’s get into why it’ll be an easy win for you.
The weight you initially lose from starting a diet or exercise program will be mostly water (assuming you’re doing it right).
Losing 5 pounds the first week is generally water weight. But it can also give you a big motivational boost when getting started.
Here’s a study finding those who lose more weight, in the beginning, will end up having more motivation to keep going.
Simply cutting out processed foods will do wonders for losing water weight. These junk foods generally contain high amounts of refined carbohydrates and salt. This is the perfect recipe for retaining water.
The more real whole foods you eat will also help you flush out that unwanted water weight.
Real whole foods like the ones on my Food List Cheat Sheet contain a high amount of antioxidants. And these antioxidants will neutralize damage caused by free radicals in your body. These free radicals can lead to fluid retention.
Plus real whole foods like bananas, sweet potatoes and broccoli contain higher amounts of potassium. This vital mineral plays a huge role in balancing the fluids in your cells and can help to draw water-retaining sodium out of your body.
Why Carbs Cause Water Weight
Going on a low carb diet can be powerful for weight loss but it’s also great for flushing out the water in your body.
When you eat carbs your body stores the glucose (sugar) in the form of glycogen in your body. Your body will then use these glycogen stores for energy in the future.
And each gram of glycogen in your body will hold onto 3-4g of water with it (1). So as you lower your carb intake you’ll also lower the amount of water-retaining glycogen in your body too.
This is one of the reasons low carb diets are so beneficial. Your body will first burn off glycogen for energy rather than your fat stores. So as you lower the number of carbs in your diet your body will be forced to burn through more fat.
Plus the fewer carbs you’re eating the lower your insulin levels are going to be too. Having higher insulin levels in your body is also going to increase water retention by sodium reabsorption.
Cut Out the Salt
Sodium is going to be one of the biggest factors of you holding onto water weight. So much so you can be doing everything else right but you’ll derail your progress if you’re eating too many salty foods.
If you ate a lot of tasty junk foods over the weekend then there’s a good chance it was high in sodium. A big increase in your sodium intake can easily lead to you carrying more water weight.
There’s a reason why Gatorade and IV drips contain sodium. It helps the body absorb and retain the water. Which is great if you’re lying on a hospital bed but not if you’re trying to lose water weight.
The more dehydrated your body is the more likely sodium is going to cause you to hold onto water. But we’ll get more into this soon…
So one of the easiest things for you to do to lose the water weight is to reduce your sodium intake. It’s generally recommended to keep your daily sodium below 2000mg but if you can I’d try to keep it at least below 1500mg.
Sweat Out the Water Weight
Another trick is to go to the gym to simply sweat out that extra water weight.
Working out for a good 1+ hours will do wonders to lose your water weight via sweating. Most people will simply go for a run or use a stair master but you can do any kind of workout that makes you sweat the most.
Studies have found people typically lose more than 2% of their body weight by exercising. This weight is from water and it’s lost through the fine art of sweating.
I remember when I was first learning how to be a personal trainer and we were taught this very lesson. A good tip would be to weigh yourself before and after your workout.
Then the weight you lost could be recovered by drinking the same amount of water. But for our purposes, we want to get rid of that water weight!
Just be careful with weightlifting to get rid of water weight as too intense of exercise can cause you to retain water. This is from your body swelling up as it repairs your damaged muscles.
You can also jump into the sauna to sweat out the water weight too.
Studies have found umping in the sauna for 20-30 minutes can have your body lose up to 5 pounds of pure water weight. So if you need to drop a few quick pounds to squeeze into a dress or suit then hopping in the sauna can help.
Drinking Water Helps to Lose Water Weight
It might sound kinda crazy to hear drinking more water can help you lose water weight.
If you’re dehydrated then your body will naturally respond by holding onto more water. It does this as a survival instinct to prevent your body from becoming severely dehydrated.
So the more your body is holding onto water the less likely you are to lose it. This can easily be fixed by increasing your water intake to help reignite your body to flush out the water it’s holding onto.
As your body notices water coming in at a steady pace it’ll relax its grip. Then soon enough you’ll notice your body is getting rid of some of that water weight it’s carrying.
How much water you should be drinking daily can differ based on several factors such as your gender, age, pregnancy and if you’re breastfeeding.
The CDC does recommend men to drink at least 3.7L of water and women to drink at least 2.7L.
An easy test it’s to check the color of your urine. “If it’s clear then that means you’re in the clear, but if it looks like apple juice then keep drinking water.”
Hidden Causes of Water Weight
If you’re a woman then know you can hold onto 3-10 pounds of water leading up to the luteal phase of menstruation. It’s caused by a rise in hormones that are necessary during menstruation.
But you should flush out that water weight right after. This is one of the reasons I’ll let my female clients know they shouldn’t weigh themselves 10 days up to their period. It could throw off their results.
A tip to help flush out water weight is to supplement with dandelion extract.
Studies have found dandelion to be effective in treating water retention.
Chronically high-stress levels can also cause your body to hold onto water weight.
Too much stress can cause your body to release high amounts of the stress hormone cortisol. And cortisol has been found to retain water.
If you need help de-stressing then I’d recommend taking a look at CBD oil. Numerous studies have found CBD to be effective for lowering stress.
One of the best ways to de-stress is to improve your quality of sleep. As you catch up on your sleep your body will respond by better controlling your hydration levels.
Taking a magnesium supplement or eating more foods high in it can help to lose water weight too.
A trick bodybuilders use before a competition is to take a bath in magnesium-rich Epsom salt. Soaking in Epsom salt can help your body detox out some of the toxins that may be causing your retain water.
How many pounds of water weight can you lose?
This all depends on how much water weight you’re carrying in the first place. But generally after a weekend of poor food and drink choices you could easily lose around 5 pounds by flushing out the water weight.
How do you know if it’s water weight?
The telltale signs of water weight are bloating, swollen fingers, appearing puffy, stiff joints and bigger cheeks. If you have one or all of these symptoms then there’s a good chance you need to lose water weight.
The Last Word
Getting rid of water weight is something everybody should know how to do. Carrying water weight can cause a lot of mental demotivation as it can throw off your progress every time you step on the scale.
Plus nobody likes having the appearance of being bloated and puffy. Being able to lose water weight is an easy way to drop 5-10 pounds fast. You can find more ways to drop 10 pounds in a week here.
Doing a few simple steps can have your body flushing out that puffy water weight fast. Just make sure you’re also not doing the things that cause you to retain water too.
Now that you know how to lose water weight in a day it’s time to get to work so you can flush it out today.
Josh holds a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition Science. He’s a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) by the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He’s worked as a Strength and Conditioning Coach at the high school and college level. He has over 10 years experience as a personal trainer and nutrition coach. He is also the author of The Flat Belly Formula. He hopes to be able to bring inspiration & results to people all over the world to live a healthier life through diet & exercise.