Water retention and weight loss: what you need to understand


Looking for ways to combat water retention?

You stagnate to lose weight?

Do not look any further.

Your problem may not be the one you were made to believe.

Are you in the following situations:

”  I am my diet and my training to the letter, yet my weight does not move  “

”  Visually, I do not feel like I’m changing  “

”  There’s really something wrong with my diet, I do not understand …  “

Such remarks, I made myself all at one point in my life.

And I guess if you’re reading me it’s that you’re there too.

To be honest,  getting to a weight loss plateau is very disturbing .

You do not know what’s wrong …

… but you know something is wrong.

On the other hand, it is also reassuring to see that we are not alone in this galley.

Let me reassure you: there is indeed a scientific explanation for this “plateau” and this stagnation .

But before doing a thorough analysis of what is wrong, clarify some points.

You may stagnate because:

  • You are accidentally surplus in calories 
  • You do not do enough sports next to your diet
  • You overestimate the number of calories burned during exercise
  • You make a lot of discrepancies 

This is the list of the most common errors of a board.

Make sure you are not in any of these situations before looking further.

Suppose now that you are sure of yourself: all your macros are well calculated, your training is effective, etc …

weight loss plateau

And yet …

Weeks after weeks, neither your measurements, nor your visual, nor your weight want to move.

It is extremely frustrating, demotivating and especially annoying not to be rewarded for his hard work.

You must not put yourself in these states.

This problem is not definitive …

And above all, he is resolvable .

At the end of this article, you’ll know all there is to know about water retention.

A weight loss plateau is not synonymous with fat loss plateau.

In a perfect world, weight loss is a simple and predictable subject.

It would be enough to follow his diet and the turn would be played.

A few weeks later, you would have a 6 pack or an extra flat stomach.

Unfortunately, losing weight is more complex than that.

Your weight fluctuates often  : you can lose, resume, stagnate, etc.

The weight does not obey any predefined trend.

Of course, some nutritionists will claim the opposite.

But this is not true.

We know how to explain these fluctuations and make them play in our favor, but by no means anticipate them.

Closed parenthesis, let’s go back to the main question:

How is it possible not to lose weight while you are sure to be in calorie deficit?

The fat you lose can be replaced by water.

At first glance, it does not seem more shocking than that …

weight loss and water retention

To understand the situation, let us give some figures to illustrate this point:

For every kg of fat lost, you make 1 kg of water retention.

Suppose that in normal times, you lose 2 kg of fat per month and that it is 2 months that you stagnate:

In fact, you lost 4 kg of fat but took 4 kg of water.

You will probably tell me it does not matter, that it is easier to turn water than fat.

Which is true, but if you are not aware …

… you risk dropping everything.

2 months to deprive you without “results” is very long.

Your visual will be good only when you have turned all this water .

Which brings us to the following question:

Why does the body make water retention by turning fat?

To answer this question, we will look at a revealing study done on a group of men:

A group of 36 people is subject to a restrictive diet of up to 1,500 daily calories. 
These 36 people are all doing very physical work on a daily basis. 
They are followed for a total duration of 6 months.

The results are very surprising.

At the beginning of the experiment, men lost on average 1 kg per week for several weeks.

Weight loss followed a linear trend .

Until then nothing new, is it?

weight loss experiment tray

It turns out that from a certain threshold, the weight loss curve has become unpredictable and statistically unpredictable.

The curve was monotonous for a few weeks then was followed by a pulse (loss of 2kg) in one night.

Losing 2 kg of fat in one night is physically impossible .

And that’s what sparked researchers’ ears.

This phenomenon is explained by water retention .

The more people lost fat, the more they were holding water .

The researchers noticed it thanks to the lightning loss of 2 kilos.

The 2 kilos were clearly water .

”  Well, that still does not explain how it’s possible?  “

Do not worry, the researchers did their jobs well.

As I said before, the follow-up was done for 6 months.

The researchers were able to regroup every night that this phenomenon occurred.

cheat meal cortisol

He was indeed linked to an event: The cheat meal .

It turns out that during the 6 months, the subjects had the opportunity to make 2300 calorie days to reward them for their physical efforts.

During the night following the cheat meal, the researchers found that subjects rose more often to urinate.

No doubt: the two pounds lost are indeed water .

Once the results were analyzed, the researchers looked at the following question:

Physiologically, what explains the phenomenon of water retention?

The answer is related to cortisol , the stress hormone.

A prolonged calorie deficit drastically increases the level of cortisol, causing an increase in water retention.

And this is exactly what explains the stagnation in the weight of the subjects of the experiment.

The cheat meal had the effect of lowering the level of cortisol .


How to deal with water retention?

To lose water, you must have a good attack strategy to reduce your cortisol:

1) Do not go too fast in your diet

To lose fat quickly, it is natural to want to eat as little as possible.

Yet this is not the right way to go.

If you overdo your calorie deficit, you will have an increase in cortisol response …

Result of the races: your fat will be replaced by water.

It is therefore recommended to maintain a caloric deficit of 20 to 25% of your daily contributions, no more .

2) Do not abuse physical exercise and cardio

Again, overtraining will result in an increase in cortisol …

… thus causing an increase in water retention.

If you are looking for an order of magnitude to orient yourself:

You can do 2 hours of cardio and 5 to 6 hours of bodybuilding a week without any risk .

This way, you will be able to preserve your muscles, lose fat and minimize water retention.

3) Do cheats meals

cheat meal weight loss

I see you smirking 😉

”  A weight loss article that advises me to eat more and move less  “

It can make you smile, I grant you.

And yet, it is indeed that way that you will be able to overcome the retention of water.

Of course, there are certain rules to respect.

I let you discover this below:

4) Adjust Sodium Potassium Balance

Sodium-Potassium balance is the most important point in the history of water retention .

Do not underestimate these mg of mineral salts that you ingest without calculating …

In general, Sodium and Potassium form a tandem essential to the proper regulation of blood pressure.

You should also know that Sodium and Potassium affect the fluid level in your body.

Sodium brings water into the cells.

(This is why you hear that salt causes water retention)

As for Potassium, it has the opposite effect of Sodium: Potassium drains water from the cells.

You will understand, to overcome the retention of water:

You must consume more potassium and reduce your consumption of Sodium .

Now, you’re probably wondering where you are …

water retention sodium potassium

If you are like everyone else, then your consumption of Sodium is excessive and deficient in terms of Potassium.

I would go so far as to bet that your consumption of Sodium is up to 2 times higher than the recommendations of the WHO.

You must consume 2 g Sodium and 4 g Potassium per day.

These numbers are likely to change if you tend to sweat a lot during the sport (or in general).

When you sweat, you lose minerals.

It is normal to have an extra margin in terms of salt consumption.

”  It’s all well and good, but my scale does not allow you to weigh milligrams  “

You’re probably thinking that, and you’re not wrong …

To overcome this problem, here is some useful information:

  • 2.5 g of sodium chloride (table salt) contains 1 g of Sodium
  • 1 teaspoon contains about 2.3 g of table salt

Here are some tips to reduce your sodium intake:

  • Read the labels carefully
  • Avoid cold cuts
  • Avoid adding salt systematically to your meals
  • Beware of already prepared sauces
  • Consume cheeses in moderation (or avoid)
  • Read the label of the water bottle and take the least loaded Na + ion

For Potassium, here is a small list of foods with their potassium content:

  • Lentils (100 g) 810 mg
  • Date dried (100 g) 790 mg
  • Prune (100 g) 732 mg
  • Almond (100 g) 705 mg
  • Spinach (100 g) 662 mg
  • Avocado (100 g) 650 mg
  • Chestnuts (100 g) 600 mg
  • Mushrooms (100 g) 520 mg
  • Nuts (100 g) 450 mg
  • Apricots (100 g) 440 mg
  • Artichoke (100 g) 430 mg
  • Potato (100 g) 420 mg
  • Banana (100 g) 420 mg
  • Rabbit, sheep (100 g) 380 mg
  • Fresh peas (100 g) 370 mg
  • Blackcurrant (100 g) 370 mg
  • Beef, chicken (100 g) 360 mg
  • Mackerel (100 g) 350 mg
  • Veal (100 g) 330 mg
  • Carrot (100 g) 310 mg
  • Leek (100 g) 300 mg
  • Lean fish (100 g) 295 mg
  • ½ skim milk (100 mL) 135 mg
  • Green beans (100 g) 256 mg
  • Grape (100 g) 250 mg
  • Yogurt plain (125 g) 250 mg
  • Pork (100 g) 250 mg
  • Pasta, semolina (100 g) 170 mg
  • Strawberries (100 g) 152 mg
  • Dark chocolate (30 g) 140 mg
  • Whole eggs (2) 140 mg
  • White bread (100 g) 132 mg
  • White rice (100 g) 115 mg

Okay, she’s not that small this list 😉

In any case, I hope you measure the importance of Sodium-Potassium balance.

This is really not to be taken lightly if you want to reduce your water retention, I insist on it.

That does not mean that you have to take the lead to the point that it turns your life upside down.

Try to respect the Na-K equilibrium at best .

You will quickly see that your body will begin to turn the entire fleet that spoils your silhouette.

5) Take the time to rest

Take the time to “rest” daily to reduce the level of cortisol.

cortisol rest weight loss

You also do not have to do any activity during rest.

On the contrary, you can:

  • Drink a little tea on a terrace in the sun
  • Take a nap
  • To make you mass
  • To do yoga
  • Listen to relaxation music
  • Etc …

If you want to know more about well-being, I invite you to read this:

6) Respect your sleep schedules

Lack of sleep and a poor quality of sleep are also stressors causing a peak of cortisol.

And who says cortisol says water retention …

It is not always easy to make complete nights because of professional life.

And I am only very well placed to know it.

In any case, do your best to respect a minimum of 7/8 hours of sleep per night .

7) Drink water more often

If you follow the logic, you will tend to reduce your water consumption since you suffer from water retention.

Well, let me tell you, it does not work that way.

drink water water retention

It is not the act of drinking water that causes water retention.

But the fact of not drinking.

Your body perceives lack of water as a situation of scarcity .

Bottom line:  It stores the little water you drink to cope with dehydration .

You have to drink to live, it’s a fact.

It is recommended to drink a minimum of 2 liters of water a day (more if you play sports) .

Water retention – the end word:

If you follow your calories closely, train hard, and take a lot of supplements, but your weight is stagnating …

… So you are certainly faced with the problem of water retention.

Do not try to fight fire by fire, that is to say lower your calorie intake even more.

You could lose muscle and take more of your fleet.

Instead, apply the tips in this article.

Test and you will see.


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