How To Lose Water Weight 2024: 8 Helpful Ways To Lose Water Weight Fast

Christine VanDoren, Nutritionist
Kathy Shattler, MS, RDN
Do you think you may carry excess water? Try following these eight tips to learn how to lose water weight in a simple and healthy way 2024.
how to lose water weight
There are simple steps to take to lose water weight. Photo: Ba Le Ho

Water is essential for life. However, water retention can lead to bloating and weight gain. This is called water weight, and it’s when water is retained in the body where it is not needed.

A variety of factors can cause fluid retention. High salt consumption often leads to water weight, as does long periods of sitting or standing still. Some people suffer from chronic fluid retention problems, but that’s very different from the everyday water retention that most people notice.

Many people don’t know how to lose water weight, but it’s very simple. This article covers eight easy steps you can take to cut down on water weight — some can also help you lose belly fat.

8 Easy Ways To Lose Water Weight Fast

  1. Drink more water.
  2. Eat hydrating foods.
  3. Get plenty of sleep.
  4. Limit sodium intake.
  5. Reduce carbohydrate intake.
  6. Exercise regularly.
  7. Eat more potassium.
  8. Take supplements.

How To Lose Water Weight — 8 Helpful Tips To Try

Clickbait articles often claim they can show you how to lose water retention in minutes or lose water retention overnight. It’s true that water weight fluctuates a lot and can be reduced quickly — but not within minutes. And it usually only occurs during sleep. 

However, water weight and bloating can be significantly reduced even within 24 hours. These tips are some of the best ways to reduce water retention — and prevent your body from retaining water in the future.

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Drink More Water

You probably weren’t expecting drinking water to help you lose excess water. However, a common reason for longer-term fluid retention is short-term dehydration.[1]

Another reason is too much sodium. When you have high sodium levels in the blood, your kidneys will often retain water to help balance sodium[2] levels in the body. So, although drinking more water to remove water seems counterintuitive, hydrating will aid sodium balance, preventing the kidneys from retaining excess water. 

The best way to increase your water intake to avoid fluid retention is to drink water and avoid dehydrating liquids like coffee and alcohol. 

Eat Hydrating Foods

how to lose water weight
Certain fruits help the body stay hydrated. Photo: Shutterstock

This is for the same reasons as above — hydration helps the kidneys balance sodium levels, releasing retained water. Fresh fruits of all sorts, especially melons and berries, are delicious, easily accessible, and hydrating.

The most hydrating food is cucumber, which is 96% water by weight[3] without the peel. The peel contains less water and would hence reduce the percentage, but not by much.

Get Plenty Of Sleep

Sleep is a key time for many body processes. People who are consistently sleep deprived tend to gain weight,[4] whether it be through fat or water weight. What’s more, fluid retention is associated with sleep disruption,[5] turning it into a vicious cycle.

If you’ve followed the earlier advice and increased your hydration, your kidneys may process the sodium and prepare to eliminate excess water retention at night. Drinking sufficient water is also associated with adequate sleep duration.[6]

This is the closest this article will get to those on “how to get rid of fluid retention in the belly overnight, but it’s true — many of our body’s processes work while we sleep. 

Limit Sodium

Sodium has problems beyond just causing high blood pressure. High sodium intake is one of the main causes of excess water weight. Because sodium dissolves in water, the body sometimes retains extra water[7] to handle its excess sodium until it can be removed. 

Current guidelines suggest limiting sodium to 2,300 mg per day,[8] although the Adequate Intake[9] is set at 1,500 mg, which is the amount the American Heart Association is pushing for.

Limiting salt intake can be challenging since too many processed foods are high in salt. Limiting processed and salty foods is the best way to avoid sodium. Replacing a high-sodium meal and frozen meals with homemade foods seasoned with herbs and spices is a good first step.

It may take a few days for you to notice the results. 

Reduce Carbohydrate Intake

A low-carb diet is a common weight loss diet. Certain carbohydrates can cause bloating and discomfort and lead to weight gain. 

Insulin, the hormone that moves glucose from the bloodstream into cells, has sodium-retaining properties,[10] which might, in turn, increase water retention. Hence, reducing your intake of unhealthy carbohydrates and balancing your blood sugar levels might encourage water weight loss.

Carbohydrates themselves can also create water weight problems. A common form of water weight is due to glycogen storage, a quick energy source of carbohydrates in muscle tissue. For every gram of glycogen stored,[11] at least three grams of water are stored with it, contributing to fluid retention.

Hence, carbohydrate loading — a practice of athletes the day before an event to optimize glycogen stores — increases water retention.[12]

Conversely, fasting or going on a low-carb diet will reduce glycogen stores and hence reduce water retention at the beginning. This often misleads people’s perceptions about dieting since this weight cuts quickly but returns quickly. 

Exercise Regularly

how to lose water weight
Regular exercise helps reduce excess water weight. Photo: Shutterstock

If you are suffering from fluid overload symptoms, such as edema where your legs swell due to excess water, exercise can help. Physical inactivity encourages fluid buildup, especially in the lower extremities. Research shows that exercise promotes lymph flow,[13] helping reduce fluid retention. 

Working out[14] also burns glycogen, resulting in water loss from muscle tissues. This might then leave your body due to sweating. This water will be replaced during the recovery period. However, regular exercise can remove excess water weight, bloating, and discomfort, especially in your lower extremities. 

Eat More Potassium

Potassium and sodium are electrolytes but have very different effects on the body. In fact, increasing potassium intake removes sodium. 

According to a recent study in Medicine, a higher potassium intake[15] increases sodium excretion in the urine, lowering blood pressure and reducing kidney damage.

Foods high in potassium include bananas, avocados, spinach, and kiwis.

Take Supplements

A variety of supplements can help you avoid water weight gain. For example, supplements that burn calories may also remove water weight gain through glycogen metabolism. 

Taking potassium as a supplement might be helpful if you aren’t getting enough in your diet — according to an NIH fact sheet, most people aren’t.[16] Some other supplements, like magnesium or dandelion supplements, may also be helpful as diuretics — compounds that cause urination — but make sure you’re drinking enough water, as they can easily dehydrate you.

Doing a fasting detox can also significantly reduce water weight due to reduced glycogen stores. However, fasting to lose water weight is not a sustainable method for healthy weight loss. Once you restart eating, you will regain the water weight as you rebuild your glycogen stores.

What Is Water Weight?

Water weight is caused by water retention by the body, outside that in your digestive system and blood. Water sitting between your tissues can cause bloating, discomfort, and pain. 

Water retention is usually temporary and can fluctuate up and down by as much as five pounds. It can be uncomfortable and make it difficult to track your weight loss goals, but it isn’t usually serious.

Why Do People Usually Gain Water Weight?

Fluid balance normally keeps you from gaining excess water weight, but excess fluid can accumulate for a few reasons. The main causes of water weight include:

  • Certain medications,[10] such as antidiabetic medications.
  • Some dietary supplements, such as creatine.[17]
  • Eating too much salt or sugar. 
  • Premenstrual syndrome[18] is where hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle encourage water retention.
  • Carbohydrate loading.
  • Chronic health conditions, particularly those affecting the heart or kidney function. 
  • Physical inactivity leads to a water pool in your extremities, especially your feet, legs, and ankles. 

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Safety Tips

While hydration is important and drinking lots of extra water can help reduce water weight, it is possible to drink too much water. The CDC notes[19] drinking more than 48 ounces within an hour could be dangerous. It would be difficult and unlikely to drink this much by accident.

Similarly, it’s possible to have too little sodium or too much potassium. Again, this is unlikely. It’s nearly impossible to become too low on sodium in our modern world. Too much potassium is only likely with certain diseases like chronic kidney disease or by overdosing on potassium supplements. 

The Takeaways

Water weight can be a problem for many people. It causes the scale to fluctuate, leaving you unsure of your actual weight. It can also lead to bloating, discomfort, and swelling, especially in your lower extremities, such as your legs and feet.

Losing water weight isn’t as straightforward as clickbait lists of “how to lose water weight fast in 2 days” make it sound. There are a lot of factors that contribute, and there are plenty of different strategies you can use to reduce those factors. There are also some risks to taking those strategies too far. Remember, losing just water weight is not the best way to lose weight overall.

If you have symptoms such as edema that don’t disappear after a few days, seek medical attention. It could be a sign of a more serious medical condition.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long can it take to lose water weight?

How long it takes to lose water weight depends on individual circumstances. Some people will notice changes in a few hours, others after a few days.

How many pounds is water weight?

Water weight is often about three pounds and can be as many as five, rarely more. It fluctuates a lot, though. Don’t try to adjust the weight on your scale to compensate for water weight.

How do I know if I have water weight?

Almost everyone has some amount of water weight. Signs of large amounts of water weight include bloating in the feet, hands, and ankles. You may also feel lighter or more agile than normal.

Is water weight easy to lose?

Water weight is much easier to lose than weight from fat. However, it’s also much easier to gain back, so it’s worth the effort to lose body fat weight for sustainable weight loss.


  1. Maughan, R.J., Watson, P., Cordery, P., Walsh, N.P., Oliver, S.J., Dolci, A., Rodriguez-Sanchez, N. and Stuart (2016). A randomized trial to assess the potential of different beverages to affect hydration status: development of a beverage hydration index. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, [online] 103(3), pp.717–723. doi:
  2. Bankir, L., Perucca, J., Norsk, P., Bouby, N. and Damgaard, M. (2017). Relationship between Sodium Intake and Water Intake: The False and the True. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, [online] 70(Suppl. 1), pp.51–61. doi:
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  11. Fernández-Elías, V.E., Ortega, J.F., Nelson, R.K. and Mora-Rodriguez, R. (2015). Relationship between muscle water and glycogen recovery after prolonged exercise in the heat in humans. European Journal of Applied Physiology, [online] 115(9), pp.1919–1926. doi:
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