More often than not the real reason why our favorite skinny jeans suddenly feel a bit too tight around the thighs or waist, is not excess body fat, but rather excess water – or more specifically: fluid retention. There are a variety of causes for fluid retention, which range from hormonal changes during a woman’s cycle, to the consumption of certain foods and physical inactivity (i.e. spending long periods of time sitting and not moving during flights or at the office) – just to name a few.
While admittedly annoying and uncomfortable, there is no need to panic. The effects are just temporary. It is after all “just” water and it can be flushed out of our system by…yes, that’s right: drinking lots and lots of water or unsweetened liquids. So, drink up and then some more.
You can make a huge difference by eating and drinking the right things and for the sake of it: keep moving! Even if it’s just a 30 minute walk/day or a 5 minute stretch every 2 hours at work. Keep your circulation moving as it will help flush out that excess water weight.
The main culprits for water retention in the food department are definitely alcohol and sugary foods/ refined carbs. In fact, whenever I go out for drinks with my friends, I can be sure that my thighs will swell up the next day. Why? Alcohol is a natural diuretic, binding itself to water and causing our bodies to expel large quantities of liquids through urination and sweating. If not replaced by equal amounts of fluids, dehydration is the result. And guess what a dehydrated body will do? Exactly, it will hold on to every ounce of water for dear life! Furthermore, alcohol contains massive amounts of sugar, which is stored in our muscle cells for energy purposes but also binds itself to water in our body, resulting in that puffy, bloated feeling the next day.
Salty foods have a similar effect, although in my case much less and only if I consume them for dinner.
So, whenever I am getting ready for bikini season, I try to limit my alcohol intake and drink plenty of water with every beverage. 1 glass of Prosecco = 1.5 full glass of water. Simple and easy.
You can mitigate the damage by including natural diuretics in your everyday diet. Think: asparagus (this works wonders for me), beets, leafy greens, ginger, artichokes, citrus fruits, pineapple, papaya, bananas (opt for the slightly greener under ripe ones as they contain less sugar), caffeine and dandelion – just to name a few.
And, as already mentioned above: exercise is key! Cardiovascular exercise is best, as you’ll really want to get your heart rate up and sweat out all that excess water. I recommend three 45 min. cardio sessions a week to keep your metabolism going.
Last but not least, I highly recommend supplementing with potassium and magnesium. Both minerals are proven to effectively reduce water retention.
Do you have any tips of your own to share? I’d love to hear what works for you guys.