When I was working at Equinox in California 2005, the trainers were given an opportunity to use a Hydrostatic Testing (Underwater Weighing) machine. This is the only way to truly measure your body fat because it uses a two component model which separates the body in two distinct components: 1. bone, muscle and connective tissue (more dense than water) and 2. Body Fat (less dense than water). Interestingly enough, the hydrostatic testing method has been around for over 50 years and is based on Archimedes principle which states "when a body is submerged in water, there is a buoyant counter force equal to the weight of the water which is displaced”.
Anyway, the results were amazing! I actually got in an argument with a body builder because my body fat was less than his but he looked far leaner than I did. My body retains water, now body fat too. But water has always been my nemesis. No matter what, I will be great about drinking water and eating low sodium foods, then drop off for one day and BAM, I'm back where I started. FRUSTRATING!
So here is why this happens. The body cannot “store” water - the body uses its own water for many important functions but expects us to provide a continuous supply of fresh new water regularly to function properly. When we do not, there becomes an imbalance of sodium and potassium, so the body produces a hormone to try and “retain” water by keeping your kidneys from filtering it. This seems to be more common among women. Maybe because we are more hormonal, but that’s for another blog!
Signs of water retention:
- Thinner in the am then you are in the afternoon
- Color of your Pee - cloudy or dark
- If when pinching the skin, you receive a layer that is not condensed but seems to be more fluid rather than the muscle or fat
- Not thirsty all the time
- Salty foods do not taste salty
- Drink water before every meal. Many times dehydration is disguised as hunger.
- Check your pee color in the am, then continue drinking water early in the day until your urine is clear. After that, don’t stop drinking water; just cut back so you don’t exhaust the kidneys. Avoid drinking too much water in the evenings, so it does not disrupt your sleep schedule.
- Keep your sodium moderate, and replace salt with spices such as garlic, ginger, fresh vegetables, black pepper, chives, cilantro, or low sodium Spike. You’ll find you don’t even miss the salt after a while.
- Aim to drink a minimum of 1/2 ounce of water per lb. of body weight per day. For example, 100 lbs=50 oz.
- Cold or room temperature water, depends mostly on raising your core body temperatures during activity. I tend to run cold, so I like room temperature water. Drinking water is the important thing; how you drink it is your choice.
Importance of drinking water:
- Water lubricates joints and organs
- It maintains muscle tone
- Keeps skin elastic and soft
- Water regulates body temperature
- Dilutes and transports impurities to and from cells
- Keeps the brain working properly
- Transports nutrients to and from cells
- Water helps your liver convert fat into usable energy
AKA Drink More Water :)