If you’re human, you’ve experienced fluid retention before. If you’re a woman, you’ve probably experienced it a fair bit. But it doesn’t have to be a complete disaster.
My most recent experience of fluid retention was over the weekend. Let me just say: it’s incredibly sweet when your partner makes amazing meals for you. What is not so sweet is finding out that he used Kewpie mayo to make a spicy mayonnaise. Not a good thing when you tend to be sensitive to MSG.
Enter: Bloat Town. I’m talking 2kg+ of pure fluid retention. My tummy was distended, my face was puffy. It didn’t get better when I also had to eat Chinese for a birthday celebration.
Now, this was extra annoying because I have a photoshoot on Tuesday. Excess water and biz pics = ain’t nobody got time for that.
So here are the things I’ve used to work away at the bloat and get back to my usual flat tummy.
My Fluid Retention Fixes
It might seem strange to some. But if you want to shift the water, you actually have to put more of it into your body! By drinking more water, you not only rehydrate the body, but you also encourage it to flush out excess sodium. Or in my case, excess MSG.
If you’re in bloat-town, I suggest upping your water intake by around 1L. So for me, that means I go from 1.8-2L up to 3L. The good news is, your body is probably thirsty anyway, so it will be easy to chug down!
More liquid? Bear with me, cos this is magical stuff. See, coconut water contains water. But it also contains a good dose of potassium. So if you’re retaining water because of too much salty food, it’s going to help balance your electrolytes out.
You can include your coconut water as part of your water total for the day. I like to stick to 1-2 cups of coconut water per day when bloated, but you might like more.
You might not win friends with salad, but you will win the fluid retention battle. Fresh veggies are another great source of water and electrolytes. They’re also packed with fibre, so it will help keep your digestion optimal – another essential for a flat stomach.
When I’m in bloat town, I aim for at least 2 salad based meals per day, and also include a serve or two of veg with breakfast.
Small amounts of sodium
Yes, we want to reduce sodium in the body when it comes to fluid retention. But because of a genetic condition I have, it’s easy for me to consume too little sodium for my needs. That drops my blood pressure and makes me feel like death.
So when I’m retaining fluid, I still consume small amounts of sodium. The trick is that I don’t consume processed salty foods, but I do season my fresh foods to taste with herbs, spices and a little bit of salt.
Try to use an unprocessed salt, as they often retain more minerals.
When I first start to bloat up, I feel exhausted. It wipes me out completely. My natural instinct is to lie down and rest. So I listen to my body, and do just that.
If you can’t just stop, do try and incorporate rest breaks throughout the day. Even just a few minutes of sitting down or lying down means your body can just focus on doing its job.
Once you get past the feeling-like-death stage, it’s good to move your body. This will help boost lymph flow, which helps to balance fluid levels. But it’s best to be gentle to start with.
I love doing a gentle yoga session at home, or taking Nina for a walk down to the oval. This yoga sequence is a favourite for me for when I’m feeling blah.
Aim to do at least 20 minutes of gentle exercise.
Now I better head off to chug some more water – there will be new pics on the site soon, and I want them to look amazing!