You've started your weight loss journey, you're doing everything right. You step on the scale one morning and you find out you've actually gained weight! As confusing (and frustrating) as this may be, don't panic. Sometimes weight gain has less to do with overeating and more to do with water retention.
This is actually an incredibly common problem for women and may even cause a daily weight fluctuation of up to 5 pounds! Water retention appears most evidently in feet, ankles and hands and can lead to abdominal bloating. The trouble may be caused by the menstrual cycle, health conditions or medication, or what you are eating.
The following foods contribute to water retention and are best to be avoided:
Table salt contains 40% sodium. If you consume too much, your body dilutes the sodium with water and retains the fluid. Try to avoid cooking or flavouring your food with salt. Reach for other herbs and spices first!
The majority of processed foods contain high levels of salt. To avoid water retention, it is advisable to give up all canned or frozen foods (including vegetables). Buy low sodium or no salt versions if they are available. Also look out for high sodium content in bouillon cubes, seasonings and sauces that come from packets, bottled sauces, peanut butter and baking mixes. Chips, crackers, pretzels, and most commercial snack foods should be avoided. Always read the label and bypass foods with high sodium contents.
Cheese and meat
Most cheese, and some meats, are high in sodium. Regular and processed cheese, cottage cheese and cheese spreads, as well as bacon, ham, sausage, bologna and lunch meats should all be avoided if water retention is an issue. Canned meat and fish also have a high sodium content unless otherwise labelled.
Look at food labels to see if a product contains monosodium glutamate (MSG). This food additive contains sodium. This flavour enhancer is often associated with canned or frozen Chinese food but can be found in a multitude of processed foods. It is also best to avoid foods with "hydrolyzed protein" as it can contain MSG.
Dehydrating beverages like coffee, tea, soda and alcohol can make your body retain water. Take a pass on happy hour or that extra caffeinated drink if you'd like to avoid that tight, bloaty feeling!
Do you have trouble with 'water weight?' Which foods do you find the worst? Keep yourself headed toward your weight loss and fitness goals with the BodyRock Meal Plan!