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The human body looks like a solid mass of flesh and bones but sixty percent of it actually consists of water. This may vary for different individuals, with infants having as much as 75% body water and obese individuals having only about 45% body water by weight. This water is mostly contained in the cells and tissues of the body and being used for many functions while the rest of it is found in between the tissues or circulating in the bloodstream.

Some people believe that they can lose weight fast by getting rid of excess water weight. This method of weight cutting is popular among athletes, such as wrestlers or bodybuilders, who need to qualify for competition in lower weight brackets. Methods to induce water weight loss include restricting fluid intake, sweating through exercise or sauna bath, bowel emptying using laxatives, and dehydrating the body using diuretics or copious spitting. Although this has been an accepted practice among some athletes and coaches, health experts warn against doing this as a practice to lose weight rapidly. Weight cutting is a short-term weight loss strategy which must be restricted and immediately be followed by rehydration to restore water and electrolyte balance.

Effects of Water Weight Loss and Dehydration

Inducing water loss does not only mean you are losing water from the tissues, but you may also be losing electrolytes such as sodium and potassium. Research shows that losing as little as two percent of body weight in water can impair exercise performance in athletes, resulting in muscle cramps and exhaustion within minutes. Aside from reduced endurance, significant water and electrolyte loss will result in various signs and symptoms. These include increasing thirst, headaches, dry mouth, tiredness, low urine output, dry skin, and dizziness. With severe dehydration, your blood pressure can drop and your heart rate will increase. Confusion, heat stroke, seizure, shock and death may follow.

Lose Water Weight Safely

Health experts do not advocate losing water weight by inducing bowel movements or taking medical diuretics. These will result in short-term or temporary weight loss but may have deleterious side effects.

If you want to lose water weight effectively and safely, avoid eating salty and sugary foods. These include junk foods and processed foods, which attract water and can make you feel bloated. Eat more fruits and vegetables that have a natural diuretic effect such as carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelon, and asparagus. Coffee and tea are also natural diuretics that have antioxidant effects when taken in moderation.

Aerobic and cardio exercises such as brisk walking, jogging, or working the treadmill are also great ways to induce sweating, losing water weight and at the same time, burning calories. After a heavy exercise, however, it is advisable to replace sweat loss by drinking fluids to avoid dehydration.

Ironically, drinking lots of water may help you lose weight in the long-term. Drinking water before eating meals can help reduce calorie intake. Research suggests that this practice can also increase your metabolic rate, or the rate at which your body burns fat.

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