Join 220,000+ Fitness Fans

Share your name and email and I'll send you a FREE copy of my eBook - The 10 Forgotten Rules of Weight Loss. Plus, you'll get exclusive articles not found on the blog.

How to Lose Water Weight

woman standing on a scaleDo you want to know how to get rid of water weight? Say goodbye to excess bloating and unnecessary water retention by following these tips.

Drink More Water

It might seem like a bit of an oxymoron, but drinking more water actually helps you lose water weight. When your body doesn’t get enough external water from your diet, it holds onto what it has. Keeping the flow of liquids consistent sends a signal to your body that it’s OK to let go of the water it’s holding – there is no lack of fluids on the horizon.

Improve Your Insulin Sensitivity

Your insulin sensitivity is a measurement of how well your body responds to the effects of insulin. Released in response to a meal containing carbohydrates or protein, it helps remove glucose from the blood and store it for future fuel use.

Insulin levels and fluid retention are positively correlated. If you can manage your insulin levels by improving your insulin sensitivity, you can keep bloating under control.

Lower Your Carbohydrate Intake

There are two ways that lowering (not getting rid of)  your carbohydrate can control fluid retention. First, it improves insulin sensitivity and keeps insulin levels low. And second, your body stores carbohydrates as glycogen in the muscle and liver. Glycogen is about 1 part glucose to 3 parts water.

I wouldn’t concern yourself so much with the second reason. Intracellular water retention (inside the muscle) is good for the body, it’s the subcutaneous water retention (under the skin) that we want to get rid of.

Avoid Processed Foods

Usually packed with sodium and high on the glycemic index scale, processed foods are the biggest contributors to water retention. They wreak havoc on your electrolyte balance and cause sharp spikes in insulin.

If you like eating sugar and packaged foods, and like carrying around an unnecessary 10 extra pounds of water, then by all means enjoy your food. However, if you want a lean/toned physique, then processed foods need to go for more reasons than just excess water weight.

Watch Your Sodium Intake

Sodium is an essential nutrient, so you obviously don’t want to omit it from your diet. It’s an important electrolyte that helps balance proper water retention. The problem is when you start eating too much of it.

Most people don’t have to worry about excess sodium intake if they are getting their intake from whole foods. However, if you are a processed food eater, sodium is used liberally as a seasoning and preservative. Enough so, that it can lead to hypertension, let alone excess water weight.

Drink Natural Diuretics

I’m not really a coffee or tea drinker, but there are several drinks that contain caffeine – which is a natural diuretic. For people who don’t regularly ingest caffeine, it can induce a strong diuretic effect. However, if you are a regular coffee drinker, the diuretic effect is minimal [1].

For those of you who drink the occasional cup to add a little energy to your workouts, you’re also getting the added benefit of reduced water retention. I wouldn’t pick up the habit for the sole purpose of getting rid of water weight, but some drinks, such as tea, also have health benefits.


Perhaps I should have put exercise as the #1 most effective method, but the list is in no particular order. Exercise helps you several ways. It improves your insulin sensitivity by making your cells more receptive to glucose – thus lowering insulin levels. It makes you sweat – which makes you lose water and salt.

It also depletes glycogen stores – meaning there is less water to store with each glucose molecule. But again, intracellular fluid is a good thing. It makes us stronger, and makes our muscles appear bigger. However, some of us need to drop weight for whatever reason (competition, weight class, etc), and glycogen depletion can have a dramatic effect on your weight.

When it all comes down to it, water weight is mostly manipulated through diet and exercise. If your goal is to keep excess water retention under control or even lower it, these 7 tips will help get you there.

  • Tom Parker

    Great advice Tony. I’ve never really looked into dropping water weight but it looks like I’m doing most of these things naturally. I drink a lot of water, I’m relatively low carb (just fruits and veggies most of the time), I drink caffeine most days, I avoid processed and salty foods most of the time and I exercise regularly.

  • Bradley Poole

    Awesome advice Tony. I drink about 6 bottles of water a day.. Never eat the processed foods anymore and have started a business with the #1 health challenge sweeping the nation. They just brought out a weight loss shake that puts ViSalus, MonaVie, Isagenix, USANA, Shakeology and all others to shame… and it is ALL natural ingredients and took 3 years to make. Between my water every day and one shake a day I have been able to lose 53 pounds… I figured since it worked so well I would start a business helping others achieve their weight loss goals too

    Thanks for the article. I just liked your Facebook page as well to be able to follow you better

  • Sandri

    Hi Tony, loved your article! Which left me with a little question in regards to women who retain lots of water under the skin (cellulite!)…are there any chances of naturally reducing cellulite by loosing water weight? I mean, would it be less visible if I lost ten pounds of water weight?

  • Coach Calorie

    Hi Sandri, my wife wrote an article about cellulite. Maybe it will help you –

  • Sim

    I also eat low carb, no processed foods and never add salt to my foods. What I don’t do is drink enough water, but I find since most of my diet has alot of fresh veggies and fruits, I am never thirsty…should I force myself to drink? Also, I tend to eat my carbs in the morning, oatmeal, flax, etc. If I have any carbs during the day, I can see up to a 3-5 pound difference on the scale the next day, but I know its just water, but nevertheless, still frustrating to see how bloated I can get eating carbs…and often it can take a few days to get it off…

  • Coach Calorie

    Listen to your body. Don’t force your water intake.

    • Sim

      Thanks Coach! Love your articles, keep ‘em coming!

  • Jeanette

    Hi tony. I have kidney stones so i am very aware of drinking water. I drink between 2 and 3 litres a day. Can I overdo it though? I dont want to flood my kidneys but i’ve started a weight loss programme so i’m drinking aprox 3 litres a day. Is this ok?

    • Coach Calorie

      Hi Jeanette, I’m not a Dr, so I can’t comment on your kidney stones, but yes, you can always overdo a good thing. However, 3 liters is approximately 100oz of water, which I wouldn’t consider overdoing it.

  • Floss

    Hi Tony. I am very interested in this as I have suffered from water retention for years I have always worked out at least 4 or 5 times a week and still suffer so the dr gave me diretics but I am still bloated. I drink green tea and lots of water. Any ideas ?

    • Tony Schober

      If diuretics aren’t working I’m not sure I can help, other than following the advice in the article. If it’s truly water retention and not body fat, and you’re following the advice in the article, I’d be talking to your dr to make sure nothing else is wrong.