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How to Shed Water Weight

author image Maura Banar
Maura Banar has been a professional writer since 2001 and is a psychotherapist. Her work has appeared in "Imagination, Cognition and Personality" and "Dreaming: The Journal of the International Association for the Study of Dreams." Banar received her Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Buffalo State College and her Master of Arts in mental health counseling from Medaille College.
How to Shed Water Weight
Excess dietary sodium is one of the primary causes of water weight. Photo Credit: rsester/iStock/Getty Images

Water weight, water retention or edema all describe the bloated feeling when your body holds excess water in the tissues. Water weight can be caused by medical problems, such as congestive heart failure or, more commonly, by hormonal fluctuations that occur as a result of a woman's monthly cycle. Water retention can be uncomfortable for some people, swelling the hands, legs, feet and abdomen and adding extra pounds for the body to carry around. There are, however, ways to combat this condition.

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Step 1

Soda contains a lot of sodium.
Soda contains a lot of sodium. Photo Credit: AlixKreil/iStock/Getty Images

Reduce your intake of sodium. According to, there are several hidden sources of sodium, such as breads, cereals and canned foods. Soft drinks also generally contain a lot of sodium, which is used as a preservative for many different convenience foods. Check nutrition labels for sodium content. According to, you shouldn't exceed 2,400 milligrams of sodium a day, which is roughly what is found in a teaspoon of salt. If you have high blood pressure that amount is lowered to 1,300 milligrams per day. Excess sodium can't be processed fast enough by the kidneys, so it remains in the bloodstream, attracting and retaining water.

Step 2

Drink a lot of water.
Drink a lot of water. Photo Credit: Fuse/Fuse/Getty Images

Drink at least 64 ounces of water every day. Water helps to flush excess sodium from the bloodstream, allowing the release of retained water, according to the Better Health Channel. In addition, mild to moderate dehydration can cause your body to retain water for basic processes.

Step 3

Replace processed foods with fruits and vegetables.
Replace processed foods with fruits and vegetables. Photo Credit: Elena Elisseeva/iStock/Getty Images

Replace highly processed foods in your home with fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats. Highly processed foods contain excess amounts of sodium which can lead to water weight. The naturally occurring fiber in most of these nutrient-dense foods helps the body get rid of excess fluid, according to MedlinePlus. Additionally, eating more fiber-rich will help fill your stomach and cause you to eat fewer calories, helping you lose weight in a secondary way.

Step 4

Engage in 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week.
Engage in 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week. Photo Credit: fatchoi/iStock/Getty Images

Engage in at least 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week. Exercise causes you to sweat to maintain a normal temperature. Sweating also draws substances, such as sodium, through the pores, out of the body, reducing a potential cause of water weight. Sweat in the initial stages of physical activity will taste salty, because sodium ions are being released. After this occurs, the sweat will then lose its salty taste, indicating that excess sodium has been excreted.

Step 5

Take an over-the-counter diuretic.
Take an over-the-counter diuretic. Photo Credit: Images

Take an over-the-counter diuretic, available at your local pharmacy. Preparations that include a diuretic, antihistamine, pain reliever and caffeine, are also available for individuals whose water weight is a premenstrual symptom. Take the medication as directed by the manufacturer. Be sure you drink adequate amounts of water while taking a diuretic, to prevent dehydration. Before you begin a diuretic, consult with your personal physician.

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