One question people often have during weight loss is concerning “water weight” and how easily this can change and result in changes on the scale as well – especially the ones that go up! Why is it “so easy” to gain a few pounds? Most commonly this has to do with retaining water. Almost all women are well aware that they may “retain fluid” at times during their normal monthly cycle. This is related to normal hormonal changes of estrogen and progesterone. But other hormones can also cause significant water retention…and the biggest culprit is insulin.
Have you ever experienced this? “I was doing well on my diet plan but then went out to dinner at my favorite restaurant, broke down and had the gooey dessert and gained 5 pounds!” Obviously a dessert does not weigh 5 pounds, so how is that possible?
Physiologically this is actually fairly simple. A large carbohydrate/sugar load will stimulate a large release of insulin. The insulin helps bring blood sugar back down, but it also causes significant sodium retention which in turn causes water retention. So yes…one gooey dessert can cause you to gain 5 pounds. You can get rid of those 5 pounds by ratcheting down your carbohydrate intake to bring the insulin levels back down. It just takes longer – often 7-10 days! Gooey desserts/sugar is a part of enjoying life for most people. You just need to be aware of the consequences, minimize them by portion control and then make plans (and stick to them) to get back where you want/need to be.
So what else do you need to know about water?
Water makes up about 60-65% of your body so it’s no wonder that it’s vital for almost every bodily function. It transports nutrients, helps deliver oxygen to your cells, aids digestion, helps maintain your body temperature and pH, and is important in energy metabolism.
The average adult loses about 6 ½ cups of water a day through urination and an additional 4 cups through other bodily functions such as bowel movements, perspiration and breathing.
Water is just as essential for weight loss. Water is a thirst quenching, calorie free nutrient which will stimulate your metabolism and fill you up.
Water is a natural appetite suppressant. Your body will often mistake thirst for hunger, so water loading at the first signs of hunger/cravings between meals is a great way to better control eating.
When you are poorly hydrated, less oxygen reaches your muscle tissues and you will feel tired and sluggish. This may contribute to muscle/joint aches.
Insufficient water intake also contributes to water retention, bloating, constipation and digestive difficulties.
So fill up your glass or make yourself another pitcher to chill in the fridge – Cheers to your success! See you soon!
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