Excess flab or water?
I was in the gym with a client doing some squats the other morning. He was telling me how he was feeling a bit “bloated and wobbly” around the tummy area and had put on half a stone in a matter of days. He lifted up his shirt to prove it, and he looked to me, to be holding water.
Now this chap is quite slim, so I knew a diet is not what he needed. But as I said he was holding water – BIG TIME – he was like a pregnant woman. He knew why, he had been a naughty boy with his eating and drinking and he just wanted me to help him get it off as quickly as it had come on.
What causes water retention?
I’m going to try to explain a complicated process in PLAIN English for you to try and understand how your body works, and ONE of the reasons why carbohydrates affect your weight so much.
Now we can hold water for a number of reasons but the main three are:
1. Too many carbs/sugars
2. Not enough water
3. Too much salt
Most people don’t know this but for every gram of carbohydrate or sugar you eat you will need to have 4 grams of water to process it. Biochemistry is my least favourite subject but I have learnt enough to know that every ONE molecule of carbohydrate has FOUR molecules of water attached to it.
So if you eat say, 100g of rice, you need 400g of water for it to “do its thing” within your body. 500g (100g rice + 400g of water) equates to about 1lb of weight. It’s not fat (yet) but it is weight on the scales and inches on your body. That’s why some people who eat carb heavy diets gain so much weight.
Simple weight loss program:
We needed to get rid of the water retention he had and get him back on track. This is what we did:
1. Drank more water, over 2 litres a day for this guy.
2. Reduced carbohydrate/sugar intake, which in this case was alcohol, bread and chocolate.
3. Cut out processed food, as it’s high in all the bad salts which make you hold water like a sponge.
So if you find you have put on a lot of weight quickly (like during the xmas holidays or a binge) this is what you need to do to get rid of the excess water you are holding. The weight you have put on will not be fat it’s carbs and water that are making you swell up like a balloon. If you are hydrated, in general, this doesn’t happen in such a pronounced way, you retain less water.
Your body holds onto water when there is not as much of it about, it’s a physiological response, it’s a protective thing the body does to look after you. In future, amongst other things, this guy could drink more water and try to stay hydrated while he is having his binge and it would not affect him as much.