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Have you ever wondered how you’ve managed to gain five pounds in a single day? It can get a little frustrating, but, most of the time, these fluctuations are absolutely normal. In fact, some individuals can gain up to 10 pounds in a day — all because of water weight.
Water weight isn't a bad thing! As a matter of fact, it means your body is functioning as it should, holding on to water that it loses when you burn energy. To better manage your weight and keep the water in your body balanced, it’s important to understand just how water weight works.
Here’s what you need to know:
While the best time to weigh yourself is in the morning before you eat or drink anything, it’s still not a true measure because you’re slightly dehydrated when you first wake up. However, weighing yourself without clothing first thing in the morning helps you standardize a measurement as much as possible. This is the best way to track patterns and progress. To understand your body, I suggest observing how much you sweat and how your body weight changes throughout the day for a week or two. By the end, you’ll learn a few interesting things about your body and how it works!
Drink plenty of water and eat foods with a high water content, like citrus fruits, watermelon, and cucumber. Consume foods that are rich in magnesium, like leafy greens and nuts, and foods that contain potassium, like bananas, sweet potatoes, and avocados. Broths, pickles, and sea salt are natural sources of sodium. All of these nutrients function together to keep the water in your body balanced. And exercising daily helps eliminate excess cellular water weight as you sweat.
The bottom line: don't fear water weight gain! It's not typically a reflection of your actual weight. The number on the scale will change throughout the day depending on your diet, level of physical activity, and other habits. Understanding water weight and how your body changes on a day-to-day basis can help you better take care of your body to make sure that it’s healthy and balanced. Accept that weight fluctuations can be normal and do your part by staying hydrated, eating healthy, and exercising regularly!
Jenn Giles, R.D., C.S.S.D. is all about health and wellness. She has over 15 years’ experience, including a dual master’s degree in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology from Columbia University. She is a Registered Dietitian (RD) and a Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD). She supplements all of this with her spin instructor certification and USATriathlon Level I Coach Certification.
Jennifer is passionate about (actually, obsessed with) the sport of triathlon. She has been personally participating in triathlons since 2000 and running road races since 1992. She is a two-time Ironman finisher and has completed countless numerous marathons. She has been a member of Power Bar Team Elite since 2006 and competed as a member of the 2006 Aquaphor/Active.com Sponsored Athlete Team. She was ranked as USAT All American Honorable mention in 2006 and 2011. Jennifer does all of this along side of her husband, Patrick, who is an equally accomplished triathlete and runner. They try as hard as they can to do all of their training and racing together.
She will tell you, however, that her most important, most rewarding and most challenging job is as a mother of four. She knows first hand the challenges of maintaining optimal fitness, overall good health and achieving goals while raising a family - of which good nutrition is the cornerstone.
Most importantly, she knows how to motivate, inspire and challenge athletes based on their own abilities, strengths and everyday lifestyles. She believes there is an athlete in everyone - no matter what their abilities are – and if those abilities are manifold, then there is an even better athlete in there!