All About Water Weight
We all know that the scale can move up and down sometimes in ways that do not relate to how we have been eating. Weight is a very dynamic measurement. The scale is measuring everything about us in one moment in time. Honestly, to expect the scale to go down every day even while fasting is unrealistic. Weigth is a very complex metric to measure. Our body weight is dynamic and ever-changing. Weight can be impacted by a seemingly endless list of lifestyle and environmental factors. Stress, food, sodium, constipation, beverages you consume, and changes in your hormonal levels all play a role in creating the number you see on the scale. Our scale weight can also fluctuate multiple times throughout the day.
Our bodies love to find balance and one example of how our body maintains balance lies in its ability to retain water during periods of metabolic need or stress. Water weight or fluid retention is incredibly common — and, in most cases, not something to be concerned about. In this article, we will also be discusisng true water weight gain and not that associated with edema or pathological water retention.
Water weight or mild edema — This is a low-grade condition that results in the retention of small amounts of additional fluid in the body. It is usually not a serious medical condition but rather a passing experience caused by certain lifestyle factors. Chronic edema — Alternately, chronic edema can be a more serious condition, often seen as a complication of another medical comorbidity, such as heart or kidney failure. This form of edema requires medical attention to resolve.
When working with medical weight loss patients using the HCG DIET, LDN or SEMAGLUTIDE we like to do an In Body body comp analysis.
What is water weight?
Water retention and water weight gain both result in an increase in your overall body weight that results from an accumulation of fluids in your tissues. On average, the human body is made up of about 60% water. Throughout the day, water moves through the membranes of your cells and works hard to maintain your body’s balance and homeostasis.
Due to a variety of factors, there are times when it is of benefit for the body to retain water. This can be a short-lived period of time when the amount of fluid in your body is greater than usual. You may notice that you feel bloated or that your hands, feet, and ankles swell more than normal. In most cases, this mild form of fluid retention resolves itself in a matter of hours.
How the Body Holds Water
There are two primary locations where water can be stored in the body — the intracellular and extracellular spaces.
- Intracellular space — The intracellular compartment refers to all fluid stored within the membranous walls of an organism’s cells. Under healthy and balanced conditions, about ⅔ of your body water (or 28 liters of fluid) is stored within your cells at any given time. This fluid can flow into and out of the cells as needed to maintain balance during periods of dehydration or overhydration.
- Extracellular space — The extracellular compartment is composed of two smaller components: your blood plasma (which is the fluid part of your blood) and interstitial space which is what your cells are bathing in. This part is @ ⅓ of your body’s water.
The most common symptoms of water weight
Because fluid retention is a systemic condition that impacts multiple tissues and organs, it is common to experience water weight symptoms throughout your entire body. Examples of some of the most common water weight symptoms include:
- Bloating of the abdominal area
- Joint stiffness and pain
- A swelling feeling in the feet, ankles, and calves
- Puffiness in the face, hips, and feet
- Fluctuations in your baseline weight
Usually, the symptoms you experience due to water weight gain will disappear within a few hours or days as your body returns to a state of homeostasis.
Why you gain water weight
When you notice that your body is holding onto more water than normal, it may be a result of some of the following reasons ~
- An increase in sodium — While sodium is an essential nutrient that you need to get from your foods, eating a meal with a large amount of sodium can cause the body to retain excess water for a short period of time afterward.
- Changes in exercise routine— Prolonged periods of sitting or standing in one place can cause fluid to pool in the extracellular spaces of your feet and ankles. Regular movement can help to reduce these symptoms.
- New medication — When starting a new medication, it is very important to speak to your primary care provider about the possible side effects you may experience. In some cases, mild fluid retention and water weight gain may be something you should look out for during the early stages of treatment.
- Hormone fluctuations — Your hormones play an essential role in regulating your body during periods of change and stress. At times of high anxiety, you may experience water weight gain as your body produces higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Preventing Water Weight Gain
Here are a few lifestyle changes you can make to better manage fluid retention and reduce your susceptibility to water weight gain.
- Reducing the amount of sodium you take in
- Stay adequately hydrated throughout the day
- Elevating your legs after long periods of standing
- Regular exercise
- compression stockings if needed
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