It’s Red Carpet season, folks. And whether you are walking the red carpet, or watching it on TV at your friend’s Oscar party, it’s important to have the tools to be Red Carpet ready in a jiffy. And I’m not just talking about those Hollywood award shows. We all have our own Red Carpet moments. For some, you may have a high school reunion coming up and you want to drop a few pounds prior to seeing your old high school crush. For others, it may be that winter beach vacation is approaching a little too quickly, and after trying on the bikini you bought a few months back, you feel more like a beached whale than a swimsuit model. Uggh. There are weddings and bar mitzvahs, birthday parties and graduations, anniversaries and first dates. We all have “red carpet” moments when we want to look our best. But sometimes, however, our waistlines (or in my case, my thighs) didn’t get the memo. If you’ve procrastinated revamping your healthy eating plan, or you just haven’t had the willpower to stick to that New Year’s Resolution, I’m here to tell you, there is still hope to get your sh*t together before the big day.
Poor dietary choices, along with stress and lack of sleep, cause our bodies to hold anywhere from 3 to 10 pounds of excessive weight (most of it water) that we don’t need. That’s a lot of bloating, people, but we can fix it. Water retention is caused by 3 main culprits: sodium intake, dehydration, and inflammation. In order to avoid this condition, the best thing to do is, well – avoid these bad guys in the first place. That is: eat fewer salty foods, drink plenty of water, and stay away from the things that cause inflammation, ranging from foods to cigarettes to pesticides. It’s a quagmire.
If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, you may have noticed that those initial 3 to 5 pounds are the relatively easiest to take off, right? That’s because those pounds reflect water weight, folks, not fat. It’s the weight you drop after those initial pounds of water that presents more of a challenge. Today, however, I’m just going to talk about water retention because it’s the quickest thing to correct in a “red carpet” emergency. And you will be shocked to see what a difference it makes in your appearance.
If you find yourself in a bloated emergency, here are 10 tricks to shed that weight quickly:
1. Avoid salt. Seems easy, right? But this means much more than putting down the salt shaker. Salt (like sugar) is in all processed foods. If it comes in a box or a can, don’t eat it. I’m not telling you to give up salt forever… just for now. Which means that during this red carpet, anti-bloat emergency: no eating out. Period.
2. Drink extra water. I know this may seem counter-intuitive, but when your body is dehydrated, it holds onto the water you have for dear life. You need to reassure your body that there is plenty of water coming in, which convinces those cells to release the excess fluids and flush out your entire system.
3. Exercise. Sweat it out. Aim for high-intensity exercise that causes you to sweat. I’m not saying to just go work out. We are in crisis mode here, folks! What I am saying is get your as#es moving at a higher rate and intensity than your typical, normal workout. If you really want to give it an double (or triple) whammy, add short bursts of exercise throughout the day. Set your alarm for every hour, and do 1 minute of high intensity activity throughout the day. Make sure, however, you drink plenty of water during, and after, exertion.
4. Avoid toxins. Anything considered to be toxic to the body can create an inflammatory response, which can make us retain water. Alcohol not only dehydrates us and strips our body of essential vitamins, it causes inflammation in the body. In addition to alcohol, caffeine, pesticides, canned goods, deli meats, and dairy (including cheese and yogurt) should all be avoided. Limit your intake of meat, and opt for lean cuts of chicken or fish.
5. Get adequate sleep. Sleep helps your body reduce water retention. This may seem surprising, especially when you consider those mornings when we wake up with puffy bags under our eyes. But sleep is our time to reboot and let our kidneys flush out toxins. Without adequate sleep, our bodies go on the defensive mode, which leads to increased cortisol and inflammation. Aim for a solid 8 hours of sleep in order to avoid this defensive bloat.
6. Drink Dandelion Leaf Tea. Make sure you drink the leaf tea, and not the root tea. Dandelion leaf tea increases urine production and rids the body of excess sodium. If drinking tea is not your thing, you can also take a dandelion supplement.
7. Eat naturally diuretic foods. Asparagus, beets, raw tomatoes, eggplant, apple cider vinegar (2 tablespoons mixed in a full glass of water), cabbage, parsley, and watermelon: all are natural diuretics.
8. Eat Magnesium-rich foods. Magnesium is an important mineral that not only helps to reduce water weight, but has been shown to improve premenstrual symptoms in women. Dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach and chard, raw nuts, pumpkin seeds, avocado, dark chocolate, and salmon are just a few of magnesium-rich foods that will help regulate your body’s water weight.
9. De-Stress. Stress is one of those things that spurs an inflammatory response in our bodies. When we are exposed to chronic stress, the hormone cortisol is increased, along with the antidiuretic hormone, both of which are directly related to water weight gain. If you de-stress, you will weigh-less.
10. Lymphatic dry brushing. That’s right, not only does dry-brushing the skin stimulate collagen and make your skin shine, it also helps rid the body of toxins and excess water weight. Using a natural bristle body brush, start at the ankles and brush in an upward sweeping motion toward the heart. Raise your arms above your head, or out to your side, and brush the skin – again, in the direction of the heart. Continue with your entire body.
So there you have it, 10 ways to quickly and safely drop that water weight and get “red carpet” ready for your gown, bikini, or old high school cheerleading uniform. (Hey, a girl can dream.)