WEIGHT GAIN WONDERS: WATER OR FAT

In Articles by Penelope Blindell

Our bodies weren’t designed to gain or lose significant amounts of fat overnight. When the scale suddenly rises, the reason could be due to water retention. Here are some tips to help you identify if your weight gain is water or fat.

If you have gained more than 250 grams overnight, it’s most likely water weight.
If you keep track of your body fat percentage you can compare your results from a month ago. If the result has increased steadily over a month, the culprit is most likely fat. If it has decreased, but you have put on weight, then water-weight may be to blame.
Another way to check is to examine your hands, feet and ankles. If they are puffy, your socks are leaving imprints or your wedding ring is feeling tighter; it is most likely water retention.

Water weight-gain can be caused by several reasons; the usual culprits are too much salt, sugar, dehydration and alcohol. Here are some tips to reducing water retention:

  • Drink at least eight glasses of water per day. As contradictory as this may sound, water helps flush out excess sodium and fluid from your system.
  • Cut out salt and products containing large amounts of sodium. Instead, use spices or lemon juice to flavour your food.
  • Eat potassium-rich food. These foods balance bodily fluids. Include bananas, avocados and raisins in your diet to assist in water retention reduction.
  • Eat more fibre. Fibre improves digestion and helps fluids move through your system.
  • Exercise regularly. Sweat encourages sodium to leave the body.
  • Cut out sugar. Sugar prevents sodium from leaving the body by raising insulin levels.
  • Avoid alcohol. Alcohol can lead to dehydration which makes the body retain fluids.