Water retention

I have only just started running having previously been using a cross trainer. I run approx 2.5 miles, five days a week. I am following a calorie control diet Ito lose weight, I'm roughly a stone over weight, I eat 1800 calories a day. I have been losing weight but now that I'm running I've put 3 pound on. Advice that I have read is that this could be water retention, if that is the case what can I do, if anything, about it? Grateful for all advice.


  • I wouldn't worry about it, as long as you are running at a slight calorie deficit you should continue to lose weight in the long run.  You may be storing more water with the glycogen in your muscles as they build up (which is a good thing for running), but I'd imagine after a while this will go if you keep up the deficit.  A lot of early weight loss is just water which is not the point, its the fat you want to get rid of.  Just carry on with what you are doing, maybe reassess you basal metabolic rate as you lose weight so you tweak your intake down a bit to match.


  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    Try varying your running a bit. If you are doing the same thing every day your body soon gets used to it. Maybe run a bit further no one run a week and a bit quicker on a couple.
  • My BMR is about 1750 calories and I take in about 1880 a day, I'm aiming for around 500 calories deficit. Does that sound right? Thanks.

  • ~100 kcal per mile, 2.5 miles x 5 days = 180 kcal per day burned by running average.

    So by my reckoning using your calculated BMR you're on a 50 calorie a day deficit, not 500.  This would take you about 10 weeks to burn off 1lb in fat.

    If it were me and your figures are right (are you sure about your BMR, sounds low?) I'd be eating about 1300-1400 kcal a day with the aim to lose 1lb a week.

  • daeve, I'm confused. I use an app on my iPod into which I put my age, exercise, weight etc and it came up with those figures. I thought my BMR was my calorie use at rest? And if I exercised I needed to consume those calories as well. Calculators that I have used have put my BMR at 1700 and my calorie requirement, taking into account my exercise, at 2400. So consuming 1800 is a deficit isn't it? Early on I was eating around 1300 calories and exercising and it made me feel rough, dizzy, breathless. Sorry for the questions but if my BmR is around 1700 and I run 2.5 miles 5 days a week isn't it dangerous to ealeases than my BMR? Grateful as ever For the clarification.

  • Yes, you're right BMR is at *complete* rest and you have to add all the exercise to find you break even point (which in context is the important value - take in less energy than you burn = lose weight).  I imagine your app adds a multiplication factor in for how generally active you are on top (which I omitted in my previous reply - my mistake!).  There's no absolute reason why it is dangerous to eat a bit less than your BMR - in fact if you did no exercise (as most people don't) then by dieting you would have to take in less than it to lose weight, if you wanted to lose 1-1.5lb/week you'd be under by a few hundred.  Obviously you need to be sensible and I'd imagine 1300 is too low for you based on what you said.  Eating too little is counterproductive.

    For example, I was fine on a 1600-1700 kcal a day diet for 2 months while doing about 500 kcal of exercise a day (P90x and jogging) - I lost 12 kg, 5% body fat (from 95kg, 5'11 start) without much difficulty and still managed to do the exercise, though the first week and half was quite hard feeling a bit hungry and tired as I wasn't used to it.  Now I'm doing about 700 kcal a day exercise on average (40-50 miles a week running plus other bits), eating 2100 (strictly monitored) and my weight hasn't shifted a jot in weeks (trended up if anything) - so I've dropped what I eat a bit this week to 1850.

    It is not an exact science at all - everyone varies (quite a lot according to various studies of BMR, so app/online calculations are fairly approximate).

  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    You beat me to it there. As you say it's not an exact science. Everyone is different.

    Eat a little less and exercise a bit more and you will soon get on the right track.
  • Thanks both, I'm grateful for your advice. I'm new to this so it's a bit confusing and different aps ands websites say different things. For example, my iPhone GPS says I ran 3.5 miles at 10.5 min mile pace and burnt 515 calories and my calorie counter says 353 calories. I'm going to keep it simple and stick to 1650 calories a day with 5 running sessions. Thanks again.

  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    All the systems are built on what they see as "average" so there is margin for error on either side. Take the figures as a guide but never rely on them being the gospel.

    I find that many calculators seem to overestimate how many calories you burn and most people seem to underestimate how many calories they consume.

    It's all about playing the long game rather than a quick fix. If you keep up with decent training and a good diet then things will work out.
  • Cheers Millsy.

  • I would agree with Millsy; particularly the eat less, exercise more. As long as the general trend is down do not worry....


    Do you have any signs or symptoms of water retention? Like swollen ankles, hands, breathing problems etc  

  • Hi Sideburns, to be honest it's an assumption based on an article I read about exercise and hydration. It stated that when beginning exercise or increasing your workout your muscles can retain water which can account for up to 2 lb in weight. I assumed that given that I am restricting my intake and exercising that accounted for the weight gain. Cheers.

  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    I have found that the key to losing weight is 90%diet 10% exercise.

    From jan 1st to April 21st VLM I lost a total of 2 kilos. That's on training of 16 weeks averaging over 50 miles a week.
  • I could not be accused of carrying a few extra pounds, my weight will fluctuate by about 3lb for no apparent reason. Stick with Millsy, do not be in too much of a hurry and be careful of how you interpret what you read on the internet!

  • True, I just lost 7 lb on my 15 mile run!  It was a bit warm, definitely need to drink a lot now (I always weigh before and after to make sure I drink enough) image

  • Thanks all for the advice. I can at times want things to happen too quickly. As you say I'll stick with it and work for the results.

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