T Nation

Water Retention

How can you tell if you're retaining water or if you've actually gained fat?  It seems I've gained a LOT of fat on my lower abs in the last week even though I haven't eaten all that much.  Is there any way to tell?  It seems like fat though.  

Also, what causes water retension and how can you NOT retain water?

One way to check and see if you are retaining water. Pinch your skin, see how easy it is to seperate your skin from the muscle underneath. If you are moderately lean in the teens or so do this, especially at the pectoral skinfold site and a few other places.

The easier the skin comes away the more hydrated you usually are. The tighter the skin, this can be a sign that you are holding fluid here. You should probably, (depending on weight) be drinking around a gallon of water a day to be optimally hydrated, this is assuming you are at least moderately active.

If you drink alot of caffeine or alchohol and are not making up for it in water than you are probably pretty dehydrated and are holding water. If you drink a ton of caffeine or alchohol you are probably dehydrated even if you drink alot of water. If you take in alot of sodium you are probably holding water.

has your scale weight altered at all? if so how much? Whats your salt? Carbohydrate and water intake like? If you’ve been dieting and have had a cheat meal / refeed water retention is very likely.

I suffer from IBS and several food sensitivities / intolerances. Certain brands of whey concentrate, wheat and dairy cause me to retain water. Ive been known to put over 9lbs on overnight as a result!!

Analyse your diet and hydration status. It is possible that any alteration may have caused such a response. Soy in particular can cause this. If you find the culprit eliminate it, try a few epsom salt baths and try supplementing with Vit C. The fluid retention will disappear after 3 days.

Good luck

Thanks for your responses. I’m not sure of my scale weight. I just got to Germany three days ago…I’m studying abroad here. QUITE the change! I have been eating a lot of salty things (lunchmeats) and have gotten dehydrated a bit.

I’m really hoping this is water since it’s hard to think I’ve gained a lot of fat in the last week, but I’m still worried about it. I have been trying to drink a lot more and just will see what happens. I didn’t know getting dehydrated can cause water retension. How do carbs effect water by the way? Like if you go low-carb what happens?

Thanks again for the posts.

Can’t long distance plane travel also cause water retention? If you just got to Germany- did you travel a lot by plane? If it doesn’t appear to go away after a few days maybe try a couple doses of a diruetic.

Also- it could be the difference in food where you are. When I travel I also notice different things happen, usually unexpected. It’s the whole “don’t drink the water in Mexico” syndrome… :slight_smile:

i would suspect the salt you mention. this is usually the culprit if you were eating lower salt before you went. ah good old german deli meats…

usually low carb will lead to a shift of water out of the muscles as your glycogen levels fall. with the stress of travel, the time change, and less than proper diet i would not be surprised if you were experiencing some extra water bloat due to these factors. it would manifest itself in your fat, making you appear fatter than before.

in general when you experience what seems to be rapid fat gain when you are not eating a lot, chances are it is not actually fat, but a shift in your water balance.

get plenty of rest, eat well and drink water, you should be back to normal in a few days as long as you stay away from the salty meats.

Yes like the others said not drinking water can makle the body go into STORAGE mode much like if you are not eatuing it will slow things down and store as much as i can it wants to survive. If you are being consistant with hydration the body inst affraid and doesnt feel the need to hold onto excess water like a camel.

Carbs again like they said you will hold less water once you go low carb as the glycogen levels fall. For every gram of glycogen the body has to have 3 grams of waer I do beleive it was to store that. So when you are porperly fed yes yo store water but that IS NOT BAD we need the water.

The lack of glycogen as well going low carb (goal dependent) will also begin to show effect in training.

Like other said give it a few days I wouldnt sweat the salt to much either I just wouldnt do anything your not used to if your used to a salty intake then it wont effect you if you however add a lot of salt all the sudden then yes it can lead to more water held.

I would also at this time suggest that you thinking your fat, if your comfortable post pics and a little bridy is telling me that 99.9999% of the forum will say FAT!!! no not a bit, eat up train hard, rest grwo and enjoy the trip to Germany : ) have a lil kraut and sauage LOL

Phill

I am the type that drinks gatorade throughout the whole day, well, because its my favorite drink plus its healthy, atleast to my knowledge. Is this good, bad, or what?

gatorade is really acidic, lots of sugar.

water>gatorade.