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Water Retention and Whooshes

Water retention can be a major problem for some when on SCD. With our cheat days, we can retain a LOT of water weight as our glycogen levels are replenished- each gram of carbohydrate holds onto 4 grams of water and each gram of salt can hold onto a pound of water.

So it's no wonder that we end up looking and feeling bloated the day after, which can be discouraging for some of us, especially if we want to lose weight fast. The best way of dealing with this cheat-day bloat I have found is here.

Martin covers most of the important factors in water retention and how to combat them.

They have definitely worked for me, especially the 're-feeds' approach- having a restricted time window for cheat days can leave me looking leaner and losing a couple of pounds the next day.

It works because you end up only refilling glycogen, which draws water to your muscles, lowers cortisol (hormones can be a MAJOR factor in water retention- especially for women) and spikes your leptin levels efficiently. Martin explains this well. Another useful link that covers re-feeds is this blog.

This approach tends to work best as you get leaner and down to the last 10-15lbs or so, for which it's best to start 'the Last Mile'- cutting out beans and extending the time between cheats.

Another issue with water retention, that Martin covers in this post, is the that the stricter your diet is, the less linear your weight loss will be. When you start tightening the diet up as you approach your goal or start to plateau, losing fat faster will have the effect of making your body hold extra water to make up for the mass that has been lost. Note the studies done in the Minnesota starvation experiment mentioned in the above post too- this confirms that the stricter your diet, the more chance of having plateaus followed by huge whooshes.

Re-feeds work especially well for this too, in my experience . I could be doing everything right for a couple of weeks- but no change on the scale! Then I add a cheat day and bam, I end up losing several pounds over the course of the next week.

An example of this for me is when I went through my first major plateau- I was stuck at 149.5lbs for over two weeks. In my frustration, I ended up having 2 cheat days that week. I learnt my lesson from this of course, but the effect it had was really rewarding- the next week I lost 7lbs, at a continuous rate of 1-2lbs per day.

This side of water retention can really mask fat loss, so knowing what to expect when you get closer to your goal or if you toughen up your diet can really help to ease frustration if you start to plateau a little. It makes me wonder if the 'starvation mode' theory is a myth. Martin also covers this in the posts on water retention.

Drinking a ton of water on and after cheat days, enough enough protein , eating less legumes, less sodium and drinking moderate amounts of caffeine in green tea and coffee or yerbe mate all really help me beat the cheat day bloat.

If anyone has feedback or experience in dealing with water retention feel free to add your thoughts :)

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Great Tip, Sam!

So, I wanted a "formal" definition of the "whoosh" I think I experienced it from Sun-Mon...cause I dropped like 2 lbs overnight and I didn't eat anything different than I would have. What causes the "whoosh" and how can you continue to "whoosh" throughout the week.

Oddly enough, this last week of 2011, I have been losing weight like way more than usual *knock on wood* It's seriously trippy! :) Not complaining though! :D

I know I am going to hit my monthly goal of "breaking into the next set of 10s by the end of the month" and I am going to TRY to hit my 90lbs lost total goal as well! I am gonna make 2011 end with a BANG! :)

Next on the slate.....entering the "Century Club" ;) Oh yeah! ;) So excited!!

  • Sam Green commented Dec 28th 2011:

    IMO, your stall was just water retention from your TOM. Hormones play a huge factor in this, so it's best not to worry around this time if you plateau or don't lose much. At least it passed quickly! ;)

    I am losing this bloat QUICKLY too- haven't scaled yet but I can definitely tell it's coming off quickly.

    I think it's great that you have small, sustainable goals in your head- you're sure to reach them this way.

    We'll be entering 2012 on a positive note and ending all the negativity 2011 has brought. Bring it on! :)

  • Maria Rider commented Dec 29th 2011:

    Actually, Sam, it was not my TOM, it was actually around Ovulation/Fertile time, which is basically like the "2nd wave of hormone flux" so, I guess it is roughly the same. I've been tracking my weight daily and sometimes several times a day. I can see how it reacts to stuff....if my cheat day weight is coming off really slowly, I'm retaining water due to TOM or Ovulation. I'd have never had know this if I didn't track my weight as much as I do. :) Weighing in doesn't necessarily phase me anymore. If anything it's part of the experiment. Yes! Bring it on! I'm all for finishing this journey and continuing on to MAINTENANCE! : )WOO! :)

  • Sam Green commented Dec 31st 2011:

    I told you that you'd whoosh soon ;)

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