Best Ways To Fight Water Retention And Weight Loss Stagnation


Best Ways To Fight Water Retention And Weight Loss Stagnation

Those who are on a weight loss journey face two issues  regularly; Water Retention and Weight Loss Stagnation. Whenever you stop losing weight despite all efforts you know that you are facing Weight Loss Stagnation and most of the times it is water retention that causes it.

Increased water retention is the cause of  weight loss stagnation and women really suffer from it due to the fluid retention that comes along with the menstrual cycle.

Almost all the times we start cutting calories to fight this weight loss stagnation and after some time not seeing the results we get frustrated and give up to binge eating. So, it is important to know about fluid retention and weight loss stagnation.

How to Break Weight Loss Plateaus

Weight Loss Plateau

Weight loss can be quite frustrating and erratic at sometimes. We can sit at the same weight for several weeks, and then lose 3-4 pounds overnight, and it can even happen sometimes when you indulge in your favourite food. It happens due to water retention. When we lose a pound of fat in one week, it is generally can be concealed by an extra pound of water that our body is holding. The water that we retain depends on the amount of water we drink and sodium we eat.  While building a caloric deficit we can cause water retention as when the cortisol levels rise, fluid retention increases.

The Research

During World War II an experiment titled “Minnesota Starvation Experiment” was conducted by Dr. Ancel Keys in which 36 men went on a semi-starvation diet of about 1,500 calories per day for 6 months. The purpose of this experiment was to study the psychology and physiology of starvation. There were many interesting outcomes of this experiment, but one thing that caught every ones’ attention was that in the beginning, weight loss progressed constantly as all the men lost about 2 lbs every week but over the period weight loss stopped and remained stagnant for weeks with an increase in water retention. After that suddenly there was this “burst” of weight loss that would occur as water was rapidly expelled. This happened as the caloric deficit did reduce body fat but the reductions in total body weight were counterbalanced by an increase in water retention. This extra water in the body suddenly flooded out, causing a big weight loss of many pounds overnight which is named as the “whoosh effect.”

How to fight water retention?

Control caloric intake

There are two ways to control your calories. One by weighing your food before eating and cooking and another by burning as many calories as possible.

Reduce Sodium intake

Table salt- benefits of rock salt n black salt

Too much of sodium increases water weight. Thus, an easy way to control water retention and ease weight loss is reducing sodium intake. Reduced sodium means to bring it down to 1-1.5 grams per day for a few days. The best way to do that is not consuming any:

  • pre-packaged foods as salt is used as a preservative in them.
  • table salt and spices. One teaspoon of table salt contains 2,300 mg of sodium.
  • sauces and salad dressings, many of which are high in sodium.
  • cheese, which is often quite high in sodium.

Drink more water


Drinking enough water helps to bring down fluid retention. Best quantity is around 4 liters per day.

Control Cortisol levels

Too much of water retention might be the result of elevated cortisol levels. To get your cortisol back to normal, you might need to take these steps.

Reduce exercise

Oh! I can see those happy faces. The fact is that exercise increases cortisol levels and along with a caloric restriction, it can be a double torment. So the advice here is to reduce the time and intensity of workouts for a week to get back to normal weight loss.

No VLCD (Very Low-Calorie Diet)

low calorie diet food on plate

Another thing to keep in mind is not to go very low on calories intake. Make sure your caloric deficit is not too severe. After comparing your calories in and out settle down to a 500-calorie deficit to avoid the cortisol issues that come with too strict caloric restrictions.

Relax, sleep more, eat healthy and that is the key to control cortisol levels, water retention as well as weight loss stagnation.

Now you know the reason of your water retention and weight loss stagnation?