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Water Weight Gain

"Is this some sort of joke?" I muttered as I stepped on and off the scale three times in a row. This news was not the sort that I wanted to start my day with. "There is no way I gained three pounds overnight! All I ate yesterday was ricecakes!"

Moments like this make dieting one of the most loathsome endeavors known to man. I've had several moments such as this in my experience. The last time this happened, I was so upset that I nearly broke down in tears. There are also days, of course, when dieters wake up to discover they have LOST several pounds overnight. These are mornings to be savored and remembered. However, these dramatic shifts in weight, up or down, hardly ever stick. The pounds are put back on or lost by the next day. What causes these weight fluctuations that tease the emotions of every dieter? The answer is nearly always water weight.

Our bodies are so saturated with water, we are practically walking, talking Evian bottles. Each of our cells contains water that it uses and eliminates everyday. Under normal conditions, this water gets replaced.

However, dieters are often dehydrated because of high exercise and low water intake. This leads to dehydration. Dieters on high-protein diets are also susceptible to dehydration. Dieters that take certain herbal supplements, such as Dandelion extract, are suspectable to dehydration. High-protein diets and certain supplements will cause a very quick weight loss. This weight loss, however, is not fat is merely water loss. Once their bodies return to the healthy, fully hydrated state, the weight comes back on virtually overnight.

What about when our bodies seem to be retaining too much fluid? We say we are 'retaining fluids' when excess water is stored in our tissue spaces between cells. This feeling of being bloated and uncomfortable is a common complaint of dieters. In some rare instances, the cause of the fluid retention is a hormonal imbalances. This cause can only be determined after tests have been run in a doctors office. Many of us suffer from bloating because of a second cause: taking in excess sodium. When we eat all those delicious salty snacks, our body will retain more water in order to dilute the sodium. A third cause for fluid retention seems counterintuitive at first blush: not drinking enough water.

"If I feel bloated with water, why should I drink more water?" was my first reaction to this news. As it turns out, my body is trying to do me a favor. While I may initially drop a few pounds because I'm dehydrated, my body soon quickly believes that I may be in real danger. All the fluids my body can get, it tries to store in order prolong my survival in this apparent time of need. Most of us are fortunate enough to have access to safe, clean water whenever we need it. According to the Mayo Clinic, drinking water has benefits that go beyond preventing water weight gain:

1. Water lessens fatigue by keeping muscles in good a contractile state.

2. Drinking water will maintain beautiful skin. For those

of us who lose a large amount of weight, consuming lots

of water helps to prevent the dreaded sagging skin.

3. If we don't drink enough water, the body will absorb

excessive water from the colon which will lead to


4. Water makes a great appetite suppressant! Drinking a

glass of water before meals fills the stomach and

decreases the amount of food we need to eat to feel

full. Next time you want a between-the-meal snack,

drink a big glass of water and wait a few minutes.

You'll be surprised how many calories you can save

this way!

5. Dehydration may actually slow down our bodies' ability

to burn fat. Water is essential for the chemical

reactions of metabolism to occur efficiently.

When dieters are working hard to lose weight, an apparent overnight gain of a couple pounds can be very disheartening. This discouragement can be avoided by drinking plenty of water, staying away from excess sodium, and resisting the urge to weigh yourself everyday. A healthy dieter will recognize that weight fluctuations do occur and weight changes from one day to the next are meaningless. Try not to weigh yourself more than once every week or every two weeks. Give yourself a break! You don't need the scale to dictate whether you will have a good day or a bad day. By taking these precautions, dieters can avoid the emotional distress that goes along with rapid weight gains and losses.

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