When you start a weight loss journey, you initially seem to lose weight, but after some time, you might notice your weight loss has reached a plateau. This is because you initially lose water weight and not fat. Apart from getting your fat weight measured, is there a way of telling that what you are losing is water weight or fat weight? There is no definite way though, but if your weight is fluctuating a lot and you are losing weight really quickly, it's most likely water weight. On the other hand, if you are losing weight slowly while following a healthy diet and exercise regimen, your body has started to look leaner, you are losing fat.
Water weight and fat
We all have heard the term water weight before also. When you measure yourself on the weighing machine, it's your total weight. You will be surprised to know that most weight in your body comes from water, which is the heaviest thing in your body, apart from your bones. When you initially start losing weight, most of the initial kilos lost are in the form of water. When you restrict calories and burn off extra calories by working out, your body turns to glycogen for energy. Glycogen is a storage form of the simple sugar glucose and is stored in your liver and muscles until your body is ready to use it. But glycogen holds onto water. It holds three times its weight in water. One gram of glycogen in your muscles holds 3 grams of water. When you use glycogen, either through exercising or calorie restriction, you also lose water weight. But when you replenish your glycogen stores, you can regain the water weight.
Fat loss vs water weight
One of the biggest signs of water weight is frequent fluctuations in weight. If you follow a healthy routine and you are seeing your weight going up and down a lot, it's most likely water weight. The amount of water weight your body holds onto depends on many different things - from your hormones to how much water you drink and more. If you are losing weight over time, do not get frustrated if the numbers go up on some days.
Weight loss duration
One more way to tell if you are losing water weight or having fat loss is, if you lose 1-kilo overnight, it's a clear indication that you can attribute that weight loss to water. Most people can lose 1 - 1.5 kilos of actual weight in a week and around 1 per cent of their body fat in a month. This holds the same for weight gain. If you step on the scale and see you are 1.5 kilos heavier, it's surely more water that your body is holding. As it's not possible to gain this much weight in a day.