What is Water Weight Loss?

by sciencestudent

The deceptive weight loss that can kill you. Not all weight loss is good!

Have you ever drank pickle juice? My wife hates it. I enjoy it. And its a good thing, too. You see, I used to race bicycles and go on long 100 mile + rides during the summer. It turns out that when you sweat too much, your body becomes less effective and can actually shut down.

Drinking pickle juice is an effective way to rehydrate.

Here is a quick look at what water weight is, why your weight fluctuates during the early days of weight loss, and how to avoid dehydrating to the point of needing pickle juice to sustain you.

What Is Water Weight?

It is how much water is in your body. Our bodies are approximately 70% water -- with the individual cells containing anywhere from 65-90% water.  Our muscles are especially water-hungry, since they are about 75% water.

Water is one of the most important ingredients for a healthy body.  A well hydrated body will have a lowered pulse, and a better immune system as the lymph and defense fluids will be able to traverse the body easier.


What is Water Weight Loss?

It’s a loss of body weight from lost body water.  Typically this water is lost by sweating, urination, defecation -- and even breathing.

In fact, while sleeping, water is lost while breathing, often leaving the sleeper feeling parched and dehydrated in the morning.  Drink a big glass of water the first thing when you wake up!  

In fact, a glass of water in the morning may help you lose even more weight! (See the last section of this article for more information on that.)

Leonardo Di Vinci's "Vitruvian Man"

The Proportions of Man
Leonardo Di Vinci's Drawing Proportions of Man
Leonardo Di Vinci's Drawing Proportio...

Do You Drink Enough Water

Are You Dehydrated?

Did you know these symptoms can be indications of being dehydrated?

  •  Lethargy and Sleepiness
  •  Weakness
  •  Dry Skin
  •  Skin Blemishes
  •  No Tears
  •  Constipation
  •  Headache or Dizziness

Losing 3% of your water weight can cost you 15% of your body’s strength!

Losing Those Stubborn Pounds For a Summer Body!

Water weight loss is just the beginning!
Water weight loss is just the beginning!

Why Do You Lose Water Weight First When Dieting?

It is generally accepted knowledge that in the first few weeks of any diet, larger amounts of weight can be lost and most of this is called “water weight” which can easily be regained.

A lot of our accepted understanding comes from this study which compared the amounts of water, fat and muscles which were lost on different diets and pointed out that large amounts of water weight was lost as part of the early stages of 3 different reduced-calorie diets.

The reason you lose so much water in the first few weeks of a reduced calorie plan is that the body is looking for other areas to obtain its necessary calories.  And, it has not yet switched to burning fat.  So, it burns off all of the sugar stores and protein stores it can easily access.  As it eats up these muscle and glycogen stores, it releases a lot of the water that is stored as well as the muscle mass.

That’s part of the reason you feel weaker in those first few weeks.

As time goes on, your body learns how to burn fat and quits attacking the muscles so aggressively.

Once the weight loss slows, you can assume that you have entered the fat-burning stage and that the diet is beginning to work for you.

How to Limit Muscle Damage While Dieting

Water weight is just a symptom of the muscle damage your body is undergoing.  There are a few things you can do to help limit your muscle loss when dieting.

  •  Drink Plenty of Water
  •  Do Daily Strength Exercises
  •  Eat Low-Calorie Protein Bars and Shakes as Snacks

You want to build as much muscle as possible because muscle will burn more calories.  By building muscle while you simultaneously lose fat you can greatly shorten the length of time it takes to get the body you want.

Weight Lifting Can Help Preserve Muscle During Weight Loss

Body Building Bench Press
Body Building Bench Press

Water Intake Increases Weight Loss

This is the most exciting part about water weight: drinking more water can actually help you lose weight faster. In  a 2008 study conducted by The Institute for Public Health and Water
Research, it was determined that by drinking 2 glasses of water 30 minutes prior to eating, people were likely to consume fewer calories.

Most people know that they are supposed to drink about 8 glasses of water a day.  However, active people such as body builders like to focus on extreme hydration and shoot for drinking 0.6 ounces for every pound of body weight.   This helps protect the muscles while simultaneously reducing cravings.

So, a 180 pound male like myself would need to drink 108 ounces of water a day.  That is over 14 glasses!  And, I can say from experience, that when I am working out in hot conditions, I often drink a lot more than that.

Just so long as it keeps the pickle juice (and ambulances) away!

Drink Two Glasses Each Morning For Faster Weight Loss

Drink More Water!
Drink More Water!
Updated: 04/19/2012, sciencestudent
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?


sciencestudent on 04/22/2012

Katie - I think if people could just realize how many calories are in those sugary drinks, they would be a lot more willing to give them up. Kudos to your friends!

You know what is horrible? As I was writing this, I realized that I am horrible about not drinking water while I sit at the computer. Its something I'm trying to correct!!

katiem2 on 04/22/2012

I love water, drink lots of water everyday. I feel the effects of dehydration quickly if I go without water for too long. Plus I notice my skin starts to look a bit parched and dry if I don't maintain a good level of water intake. Great article, I know many people who've lost weight by merely giving up sugary drinks for water. Great facts on weight loss and proper hydration.

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