But that blobby, bloated feeling that strikes right before your period or right after you house a bunch of pizza bagels for dinner?
Often, it's just temporary water weight — and when it's the only thing preventing you from getting into your favorite dress this weekend without double-layering your Spanx, pretty much everyone's on board for getting rid of it.
Here's how to do it safely:
1. First, Calm Down
Resist the urge to stay up all night screaming into a pile of drawstring pants. Stress produces excess cortisol, which causes your body to retain water, explains Sean Garner, trainer at Anatomy in Miami, FL. "Manage your cortisol levels through sufficient amounts of sleep and stress-reducing activities such as yoga, meditation, and breathing."
2. Curb Your Carbs
Back away from the pizza bagels (at least for a little while). Carbohydrates, which are stored in your muscles and liver as glycogen, require water — a lot of it. "For every gram of carb stored, one retains four water equivalents," explains registered dietitian Laura Cipullo, author of The Women's Health Body Clock Diet and founder of Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services in New York, NY. Break up with bread, pasta, and sugary snacks for a while and your body will use up it's glycogen stores for energy — and they'll take a bunch of water with them when they go, helping you de-puff fast.
3. Slash Your Salt Intake
Don't pass the salt — too much sodium causes you to retain water, so make sure you're paying extra attention to nutrition labels, says Garner. Frozen dinners, smoked and cured meat and fish, canned soup, and some salad dressing are often high in sodium, as are a lot of restaurant and processed foods. Don't be fooled by gluten-free and low-fat foods, cautions Garner — even otherwise healthy-seeming options could be packed with sodium.
4. Drink More Water
Less water means less water weight, right? Nope — if you want to reduce bloating, you should actually drink more. "It may seem counterintuitive, but this will help your body flush out any excess sodium in your system," says Garner. "When you do not drink enough water, your body will hold on to the water you have in your body. But when you flood your system with extra water, your body will rid itself of the excess in an effort to achieve homeostasis." While you're at it, skip happy hour — alcohol will dehydrate you, causing your body to hold on even tighter to any water weight.
5. Stick to Your Workout Routine
Don't skip the gym — a workout can actually encourage you to drop some water weight temporarily, says Cipullo. (Just make sure you're still drinking water while you sweat. The goal isn't to get dangerously dehydrated.) Plus, exercising encourages your body to shift water to your muscles, making you look firmer.