How Water Retention Causes Weight Gain

Losing weight can be pretty confusing if you don't know about water weight retention. Every healthy adult in the world has to deal with water retention and the weight gain that comes with it. Water weight is the culprit in more than a few cases of sudden weight gain.

To cut right to the quick of it: day to day fluctuations in weight are almost always caused by loss and gain in bodily fluids. Water retention weight gain is really the most common type of weight gain.

So, it's possible to retain up to five pounds or so of water weight. The heavier you are the more water retention you're likely to experience, especially if you eat more processed foods, as these tend to contain a lot more water than raw ingredients.

Even though day-to-day water gain typically only makes up a few pounds of weight, it's not uncommon to put on a whopping ten pounds of water weight around the holidays.

Water weight has a few different causes, but the most common would have to be an increase in sodium. Don't even bother trying to get on a sodium-free diet, as pretty much all food products contain some degree of sodium. In other words: if you're eating, you're eating sodium. Weight gain is always a combination of increased fat and water retention.

When you first start burning pounds off, you'll probably be thrown for a loop by the fact that your initial five-pound drop in the first week is followed by a pound gained. This is usually due to water replenishment. This is only natural.

When you cut back on calories suddenly, your body tries to make up the difference by borrowing some fat and protein from your body. When this happens, you lose a lot of water weight, as muscle tissue holds a lot of water. When your body stabilizes again, it draws water back in.

Bottom line: don't just look at the scale. In the first weeks of weight loss, it'll be hard to gauge your progress because of your water weight going up and down. Just keep working out, keep dieting, and you'll keep losing weight in the long run.

9 Responses to How Water Retention Causes Weight Gain

  1. marie says:

    can u get water weight on ur knees and ankles

    • ReneeR says:

      Hi Marie,
      Yes, you can have water retention in your knees and ankles. Water retention may have medical causes so talk to you doctor about possible causes of water retention and bloating before trying to treat yourself.

  2. sam says:

    hi! i want to know how to eliminate water retention in my body,i do bodybuilder but my muscle still hide behind something, thank u in advance.

    • ReneeR says:

      Hi Sam,
      It is important to remember that fluid retention can be caused by many things such as hot weather, a high sodium diet, or hormonal changes but may also be a symptom of a more serious underlying medical problem such as kidney disease, liver disease, or arthritis. Please talk to your doctor for advice and about possible causes before trying to treat it yourself.

  3. Juanita says:

    I drink no less than two quarts of water a day. I still gain weight. The doctor told me that I do not eat enough to lose weight. He said that I must eat at least 1300 calories a day in order to lose weight. I have been eating less than a thousand. He says calories burn calories. I eat fresh fruits and vegetables whenever i can get them. I only eat one small serving of meat. I need to lose 55 lbs, but because of an accident I was in I am unable to walk even a block or exercise. Any suggestions?

  4. Preeti says:

    Hi Juanita,
    I don't your exact diet but here are a few tips:
    1. You need to consume a minimum amount of calories per day to keep the body running. That could be 1200-1300 but depends on what the doctor says. If you drop below this, your body may consider you to be in starvation mode and will horde calories.

    2. See a physical therapist on what kind of exercises you can do despite the accident. You should have the opportunity to build your muscles and bones.

    3. Losing weight means doing physical exercise. It's important you follow #2 and get a plan on increasing your stamina and strength.

  5. barbara says:

    I have recently gained 8 pounds in one week. I am being treated for plantar fascsitis (sp?) and wonder if this is the cause. They gave me Mobic as it is an anti-inflammatory. I can't believe I have gained this much in one week...Has any one every heard of this before???

    • Preeti says:

      Speak to your doctor. Also check the side effects of the medicines you are taking.
      We're not a medical so cannot help you with any detailed information.

  6. Monique says:

    I have been back on my life style eating change for the last 4 months, loosing slow but steady, I recently got on the scale and was 4 1bs heavier,in just a matter of 2 days! I was wondering if it could be from the excessive heat out side this week 104-109 in my area. Do you think my body is holding extra water because of the heat? I dont drink sodas or eat any fast foods, lots of fruits and vegetables very little meat, mostly fish,and turkey 2-3 times a week!

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