I can always tell when I’m retaining extra water–aside from the awesome, telltale my-clothes-are-all-too-tight thing–when my usually-smooth skin starts looking a little fluffy. I also get these awesome indentations from everything from jewelry to hair ties to sheets that seem to last for-EV-er. None of that is cute! Major reasons for water retention, at least for me, include large portions of restaurant food, drinking alcohol, overindulging on bad carbohydrates (especially sugary, cake-y ones), flying, and/or it being that time of the month…all of which, save for the last one, probably sound like a recipe for a pretty awesome weekend, no? While it may be fun while it’s happening, the awesome effects of water retention mentioned above, AND the accompanying few pounds of water weight gain on the scale are decidedly way less awesome. Like way, way less. Been there, done that. Here are my top tricks for dealing with water retention and bloating so you can get back to looking and feeling your best ASAP!
1. Water water water.
Everyone says it, and it’s true. Drinking extra water when you’re already waterlogged seems totally counterintuitive, but it helps! I personally don’t double or triple my typical intake as some recommend, but rather try to gently and gradually drink a little more throughout the day. An extra glass before each meal keeps me extra hydrated and on track.
2. Epsom salt baths.
I am OBSESSED with Epsom salt baths–so much so, that I pretty much take one every day. Not only are they ultra soothing and muscle-relaxing, but the magnesium in the salts does amazing things for your body. Salt baths are also rock stars when it comes to dealing with water retention! Add at least two cups of Epsom salt to a hot bath and soak for a minimum of 20 minutes. While you bathe, magnesium is absorbed through the skin and toxins and excess fluid are drawn out, leaving you looking instantly less puffy. Need further proof? Victoria Beckham, Gwyneth Paltrow, and model Elle Macpherson are all fans. Before you soak, dry brush. Go slowly and take extra care! Brushing will probably feel a bit more uncomfortable than usual (since extra fluid is currently trapped under your skin!) but perking up the lymphatic system this way is a great way to boost detoxification.
3. Try a natural diuretic.
If simply upping your water intake isn’t doing the trick, adding a natural diuretic can work wonders for quickly battling bloat and water retention. Tea is an excellent place to start! Dandelion tea, for example, has been used in Chinese and Native American medicine for centuries. It can soothe your stomach, decrease bloat, and help to detoxify your liver. It’s a cheap and simple solution! I like this brand of dandelion tea mixed with lemon and honey when I’m dealing with bloating. Not into dandelion’s bitterness? Other natural diuretics include, ginger, hot water and lemon, apple cider vinegar, and fennel.
4. Eat friendly foods.
First things first: ditch whatever it is that made you bloat in the first place. Cut WAY back on salt, sugar, and alcohol as you detox! Potassium-containing foods, like avocado, bananas, and chia seeds help with fluid regulation and electrolyte balance. Yogurt and fermented foods like kimchi and kombucha pack a probiotic punch that can help restore healthy balance in the digestive tract, ridding gas and bloating and flushing the water retention that can come with eating an abundance of sugar and/or salt. Finally, foods like asparagus, cucumber, and watermelon act as natural diuretics and will all help to flush out extra water. For more on friendly foods, check out this article from Bliss Returned!
5. Get hot.
Sit in a sauna or steam room. Get an infrared body wrap, Work on your tan outside. Put on sweats, turn on Netflix, and kick back with a heating pad. The goal? To raise your body temperature and sweat. Shed, water, shed!
6. Work out – hard.
While I’m all about barre and Pilates, a nice gentle workout is the last thing you need while dealing with bloat! Go for a long run, do a challenging HIIT session, or pop into a hot yoga class. This will help immensely with water retention AND make you feel awesome. Increase that circulation and sweat it out!
Keep the faith! If you follow these guidelines and get good rest, your water retention and bloat–no matter how bad–should be down in the next few days. Back to your skinny self in 72 hours or less!