When you adopt a new weight loss program involving an effective diet and workout regime, you generally see a sudden loss of body weight. Such a drastic weight loss is often encouraging and pleasing and motivates you to continue the efforts, but how much initial weight loss is water weight.
However, after this initial weight loss, you are likely to see the results slowing down. The reason is the initial water weight loss that occurs in the first few weeks of your weight loss program.
In this post, let us try to understand how much water weight you can lose in the initial phases of your weight loss routine and what you can expect when you introduce lifestyle changes to become slim and fit.
Also, read The Importance of Water In Your Diet
What Is Water Weight?
Water makes up about 60 per cent of your total body weight as it is essential for bodily functions. The exact amount of water your body stores depends on a variety of factors including your body composition, age and sex.
However, the foods you eat lead to retaining a few pounds of water in the body. Carbs and sodium are two of the most significant factors affecting water retention in the body.
The amount of water weight in your body varies from person to person, though an average individual carries 1-5 pounds.
Apart from foods, medications can also cause water retention, particularly those used to treat blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol and inflammation.
Water loss occurs faster than fat loss and is often seen at the beginning of a lifestyle change because the body gets rid of stored water in various ways. For example, the body turns to glycogen for energy when you start working out.
You can store 400 grams of glycogen in the body but each gram contains about 3g of water. This means an additional 3.5 pounds of water in the body. When you do some physical activity, you also lose a lot of water through sweating.
How Much Water Weight You Can Lose?
At the beginning of your weight loss journey, it is possible that you find yourself weighing a few pounds lighter as you step on the scale.
While this can inspire and encourage you to keep working hard towards your goal, you are likely to see fluctuations in weight loss after a few weeks. This is because the initial weight loss occurs due to a change in fat, water and mass.
One can lose as much as 20 pounds of water weight in just one week. This weight loss occurs during the first 1-2 weeks of a diet or exercise routine.
After this period, you lose very little water from the body and even get the water back. The amount of water you lose and the rate at which this initial water loss occurs depends on a lot of factors.
Some foods and nutrients can change your body’s water levels temporarily and affect how you lose weight in the initial weeks of your weight loss journey.
Diets low in carbs often result in drastic weight loss during the initial weeks because of water loss.
This is because your body turns to glycogen stores for energy when you limit your carbohydrate intake. Every gram of carb used by the body causes 2.6 grams of water loss.
Those who follow a protein-rich diet for weight loss can experience higher water loss through urine.
This is because protein breakdown produces nitrogen-containing wastes like urea in the body that need water for removal.
Being a diuretic, caffeine increases water loss by stimulating urine. Such an effect is common in those who are new to caffeinated beverages.
Those who already take tea and coffee might not experience much effect on water loss.
High-salt foods and processed items often cause water retention because your kidneys find it difficult to excrete sodium if taken in large amounts.
When you limit your intake of processed foods and salt, your kidneys can start flushing out water and sodium, resulting in weight loss and numerous other benefits for the body.
Alcohol is known to cause dehydration because of its water losing effect. It acts on a hormone regulating how much water you lose through urination.
So, those who take alcohol can experience a higher water loss though it is not a good way to lose weight.
Intense training and workouts, particularly those done in hot climatic conditions, increase the rate of sweating and water loss to a great extent.
This is why some athletes weigh themselves before and after workouts to determine how much water they should drink to make up for the loss.
The Most Effective Ways To Lose Water Weight
The best way to lose water weight is to follow a balanced diet that focuses on whole foods like fruits and vegetables and limits the intake of processed and junk foods. As processed foods are loaded with sodium and carbs, they cause a lot of water retention.
Whole foods, on the other hand, are rich in potassium which boosts water loss to maintain a fluid balance in the body. This means, following a plant-based diet is a great way to get rid of excess water from the body.
Another effective way to lose water is by drinking plenty of water. This may seem strange but it is true. Your body retains water when dehydrated so increasing your water intake reduces water retention.
Regular exercises can also lead to less water retention as sweating gets rid of sodium, glycogen and water. If you perform intense workouts, you burn glycogen and lose sodium through sweat, thereby losing a lot of water as compared to other individuals.
What To Expect From Your Weight Loss Efforts?
While the initial weight loss can seem quite encouraging, it can slow down after you have lost the water weight. To keep losing weight on a consistent basis, you should follow an effective diet and workout regime that results in fat loss.
You can decrease your daily calorie intake and burn more calories through exercise to create a calorie deficit resulting in effective weight loss.
Follow a balanced diet consisting of grains, vegetables, fruits, proteins and low-fat dairy and limit the intake of salt and processed foods to see desired weight loss results.