Are you retaining excess water weight?


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What cruel fate! If you feel puffy and bloated, even though you're following a low-calorie diet and are exercising regularly, you could be retaining excess water weight. Don't freak out! There are ways to control this madness. (No, you cannot stop drinking water; it's a vital source of life for us humans.) While it happens to all of us, there are ways you can lessen its grip on your mid-section.

First, check to see if you are retaining excess water weight. Swollen ankles, feet and/or hands are good indicators. If your rings are tight on your fingers or if you see indentations left by shoes or socks, you could be retaining water. Compare your weight from yesterday to today. If you gained more than half a pound, it's most likely water weight. Why a sudden change? It depends on what you eat and drink on a given day.

Avoid excess water retention with the following tips:


Drink more water

Yup. While it sounds counterproductive, water flushes excess sodium and fluid from your body. So try increasing your daily H2O intake.


Sweat it out

The more you move, the less your body will swell. That’s because perspiration drains excess salt and fluids through our pores and sweat glands. Be sure to do at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity a day.


Avoid salt

Your body only needs 200 milligrams of sodium a day (the American Heart Association recommends no more than 1,500 milligrams per day), but sodium is everywhere! Even foods we consider healthy are packed with sodium. Your best bet is to eat lots of fresh veggies and fruits.


Eat more fiber

Load up on high-fiber foods like whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, fruits and vegetables. As it passes through your intestines, fiber will absorb a large amount of water, helping you lose that water weight. According to the Mayo Clinic, the daily recommendation for fiber is 38 grams for men and 25 grams for women.


Editor's note: If you suspect that you have water retention, talk to your doctor. Certain medications and medical conditions can be responsible for your water weight gain.