(please note: I am not a trained professional, these are life lessons that I am sharing. I am not claiming that what worked for me will work for you. If you are experiencing significant swelling in your extremities, your skin is “weeping” from a medical condition called Edema, you are on dialysis or otherwise under a physician’s care for conditions that are caused by or produce symptoms of swelling and water retention please contact your physician before you try any of these home remedies!)
It’s New Year’s Eve Eve….alot of us are patting bloated bellies and trying to scarf down the last of Gammy Num Num’s special holiday treats before we have to face the stark reality that it’s almost a new year. In two days.
So why are we puffy, uncomfortable, nervous about weigh in?
The human body can retain a considerable amount of weight from water retention. 5, 10 pounds…if you are suffering from a medical condition that causes Edema it can hold 30 pounds or more. If I have too much sodium or eat out a lot I can hold several pounds in just a day or two. Water weight is completely different than a weight gain by fat cells. Water can be eliminated quickly, symptoms are puffy fingers and extremities, and if you are aware of your own reaction you will learn to recognize when it’s just water. Actual weight gain on the other hand is caused by consuming more calories than you expend, is not sudden, should not be localized like water weight (fingers, feet, ankles, etc) and is harder/slower to eliminate.
Water retention can be caused by many things:
*certain medical conditions
*heat and humidity
*fluctuations in hormones
My parents both suffer from ailments that result in dangerous amounts of fluid retention. My mother is diabetic and has Peripheral Artery Disease. My father was in Stage 4 Renal Failure before his kidney transplant. Both were retaining enough fluid to cause edema…or enough swelling that their legs and in my mother’s case arms were “weeping”. If you are having any of these extreme symptoms please stop reading and seek the advice of a medical professional.
SODIUM: Depending on your physical condition and medical history the daily recommended maximum of sodium intake seems to be 1,500 to 2,300 milligrams. Too much sodium affects the way your cell membranes work (too high techie for me!) and cells can retain more water
DEHYDRATION: it seems like being dehydrated would mean you have less water. The opposite happens in fact, your body hoards or holds any and all water it can
CERTAIN MEDICAL CONDITIONS: heart and lung issues, kidney problems, diabetes, all can lead to water retention. If you suffer from any of these follow your physician’s orders and pay special attention to avoiding things that make you retain water. Your weigh-ins will thank you and your doctor may too!
ILLNESS: if your body is producing histamine or inflammation due to illness you may be retaining more water
HEAT & HUMIDITY: I don’t know about you but I swell like mad during the summer or when it’s humid. Especially now that I’m going through the special time in all women’s later life…
FLUCTUATIONS IN HORMONES: menstrual cycles, pregnancy, menopause (or as we like to call it men-on-pause) can all cause your body to hold onto extra fluids…I’m sure God had a reason for it and I can’t wait to ask Him 🙂
Well that’s all well and good Kelly…but what do we do?
**Step 1 = plan for at least 3 and preferably 5 days that you can follow my plan
**Step 2 = write down what you’re going to do or print my Beat The Bloat Green/Yellow/Red Traffic Signal
**Step 3 = stay near a potty…..when your body decides to dump this water (and a little sludge along with it) you’re not going to want to be far from one!
- Stay Hydrated
Chugging water is all the rage on social media, but to stay hydrated you need to drink at least 8 glasses and spread them evenly throughout the day.
-Get up 5 minutes early and drink 8 ounces of water before you start your day
-Drink 8 ounces before and 8 ounces after each meal
-Even though other liquids “count” as water, you will need to drink WATER
-my easy Cucumber Water Recipe is perfect for those who don’t like plain water, adds no points and the cucumbers are a natural diuretic
-if you have re-introduced beans, corn and legumes into your diet thanks to Weight Watchers Freestyle you will also need plenty of water to process all the extra fiber you will be consuming. Trust me.
-if I need to kick the water shedding into high gear I add a drop of lemon, lime or grapefruit essential oils. This needs to be mixed only in glass or aluminum so contact me if you need more info
- Exercise. Any Kind.
When I’m detoxing from water retention I split my walks up into morning and evening. I don’t necessarily increase my time/distance, but I do it twice every day. Your body is going to be processing lots of things so you need to move it somehow…walking, swimming, running, dancing, whatever tickles your fancy just do it
- Use Sodium Free Herbs & Spices
Have you ever met someone who salts their food before they even taste it? Using fresh herbs or sodium free spices is a great way to add taste without adding salt. In store Mrs Dash has many variations, or you can order a delightful selection of salt free yummies from our friends at Dak’s Spices. Be sure and tell them The Egg Lady sent you and enjoy 10% off with code MARANDADAKS at checkout. My favorites are their Red Mountain Rub, Original Red, and Super Greek
- Fresh Fruits & Veggies, eat them
Add fresh fruits & veggies to EVERY MEAL especially ones with lots of water like watermelon, cucumbers, grapes. The added water will help flush, and the bulkiness of these watery nibbles will help keep your hands busy while you stay out of the chips and popcorn
- Enjoy A Cuppa Tea
Or coffee. Caffeine is a natural diuretic so enjoy a cup of tea of coffee early in the morning to help everything get started. If possible try not to add points with sugars or creamers. When I’m especially bloated I drink a detox tea, you can find several brands at your local grocery or I like the Teami Blends Skinny Tea and Colon Cleanse combo. You do NOT have to do a tea detox, regular tea is slower but does help. If you would like to try Teami please enjoy a discount by using my code EGG10
- Get Plenty of Protein
Can I take a moment and harp on this? When my mother, Vegan Nana, got so sick two years ago she developed severe edema in her legs. Without going into gory details or starting a hot debate…let’s just say Vegan Nana wasn’t approved for the treatment we all agreed she needed. Since she’s vegan she was very conscious of making sure she supplemented her diet to make sure she had enough protein…plant based protein. But the more sick she got the less she ate. The less she ate the sicker she got. Her protein levels were non- existent and her edema flared. By the time we got the help she needed she was “weeping” from her legs and arms. She had retained almost 30 pounds of fluid due to lack of protein and dehydration! Even if you don’t eat meat…please, please, pretty please get enough protein. Your body needs it for fuel and also to help tell your tissues to let go of the water
- Potassium & Magnesium
Both help your body process electrolytes across cell membranes…great sources are bananas and leafy green veggies. Potassium has the added benefit of aiding in leg cramps, I eat a banana almost every day just for that reason!
- Rest. Sleep. Relaxation.
Have you ever had someone tell you they need to get their beauty sleep? Not only does enough downtime help your overall mood and help decision making, there is research that shows sleep is just as important as your diet and exercise when it comes to your overall health. Plus, who doesn’t like a good nap?
- Caution! Slow Down.
There are a few things you will need to slow down in order to make this a successful 3-5 days. So take caution, slow down, and watch out for:
**Alcohol – if at all possible avoid it
**Added sodium, it’s hidden in a lot of places…be aware
**Eating out – unfortunately restaurant meals are often laden with sodium to help preserve and add flavor. Check before you go and limit eating out as much as possible
**Prepackaged foods – most convenience foods are loaded with extra sodium!
**Diet Drinks – one 12 ounce diet soda contains 40-85 milligrams of sodium. Doesn’t sound like much but it adds up and many times the artificial sweeteners make our bodies crave other things like salt laden snacks
**Refined carbs – complex carbohydrates in moderation are good for you…refined carbs can help your body retain fluid and most processed foods contain additional sodium
**Sugar – sugar itself does not cause water retention, but a rise in insulin can
- STOP! (Run Away)
This next list you have to avoid…at all costs…it’s just for 3-5 days, but it works
**NO salt or MSG – avoid them, don’t use them, ask before you eat if you didn’t make the food
**Luncheon/Deli Meat – is loaded with sodium!
**Canned Soup – sooo much sodium, so much. Avoid them, even the lower sodium ones
**Salt Cured Meat – well come on…the name just says it doesn’t it
**Chips / Popcorn – sorry, but again they scream sodium and risk of abuse snacking
**Bacon/Hot Dogs – this one is rough but must be done, they are a sodium and processed food wasteland when trying to flush water
**Fast Food – just don’t
**Check out this Salty Six informational chart from the American Heart Association, this is regarding children…yikes!
Ok, I know this is long but it’s not hard. It’s really common sense. You can do this. And it’s the perfect time to start…in just a few days we start a New Year, let’s get rid of our holiday bloat for a New YOU!!