We all get excited and feel more motivated when we step on the scale and notice that we're a few pounds lighter. Nonetheless, you may discover many fluctuations on the scale that can be due to water weight loss, not fat loss. Here's how to know which one you're losing and a deeper dive into what water weight is.
How Much Water Weight Can You Lose?
This decrease in body weight that you're seeing can either be a change in muscle, fat, or water. Considering water makes up about 60% of your body weight, it's one of the first things you lose. Though fat mass doesn't change overnight, you can actually lose as much as 5 pounds of water in a day! With the amount you sweat and urinate in a day, that's about 1.8-4.4 pounds you're losing. Keep in mind, water is heavy, but it's not so drastic since you're constantly replenishing your water intake with food and drinks. Moving from water weight loss onto fat loss - you'll need to burn around 4,000 calories to lose one pound in a day. How crazy is that?
How Does Losing Water Weight Work?
People who want to lose weight tend to eat fewer calories, fewer carbs, and exercise more often. When you cut these for weight loss, your body first dips into glycogen for extra energy, which is essentially your stored carbohydrates. This is housed in the liver and skeletal muscles, and stored with lots of water. Thus tapping into it releases a lot of water. Exercising more often will also cause you to water weight loss through sweat. You'll still be losing fat, but at a slower rate than water. Other factors that shift your body's water level short-term are low-carb diets, high protein diets, salt, caffeine, and alcohol.
How Much Water Weight Do I Have?
It's honestly hard to tell unless you have a special scale, and even then it's hard to tell. What we do know is that water weight can be annoying since no one likes feeling bloated. Nonetheless, it's thankfully a short-term issue. It’s normal for your water weight to fluctuate from day to day, hence why it's important to weigh yourself weekly rather than daily to gauge progress. Long-term changes in your body weight result from the change to lean muscle or fat, which is what you want to see. Regardless of the amount of water weight you have, you do not want to stop yourself from drinking water to lose weight. Good hydration actually aids your weight-loss efforts by curbing hunger and enhancing fat burn.