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Losing Weight or Water Weight?

stew smith

This week, I received an email from a future military enlistee who is preparing to serve his country in the Marine Corps. He writes, “I need to lose ten more pounds before I can join the military. I was wondering if taking a diuretic and laxative and working out in a plastic suit will help me lose this last ten pounds?”
You must have been talking to a wrestler from the 1970-80’s. Depleting your body of water will create a loss of weight, but it is ONLY water weight. Of course the exercise you are doing to sweat is helpful BUT losing too much water too fast can KILL you. This weight will come back as soon as you drink or eat again. We used to do this when I was on the wrestling team, and it worked for a few pounds to cut to competing weight, BUT I would never recommend anyone to do this type of desperate weight loss.
Here is what happens when you start sweating out all the water in your body. Dehydration in your body results in several ways – sweating profusely, excessive excretion from diuretics and laxatives are the few you named. Your body is over 75% water and needs this percentage to remain close to that amount in order to function properly.
Sweat is not only water, but salt and electrolytes. These compounds help regulate nerve and muscular function. Without them entire systems start to break down and this can be fatal. Also, once you stop sweating, there is no mechanism in your body to regulate body temperature and you could overheat and die from heat stroke.
Removing additional water from your digestive system by diuretics and laxatives causes the kidneys to overwork and eventually stop functioning. When this occurs the liver assists the body in excretion waste products (if it can) and it stops with its primary mission of metabolizing fat as an energy source. So in a nutshell, you shut down your entire metabolism and your body tries desperately to cling onto any remaining water and fat. This actually can cause the opposite desired affect – your body now is retaining water and fat just to survive.
This process is a vicious cycle. The true way to burn fat and lose weight for the long term is to actually drink water plus exercise. I usually drink over a gallon of water a day but I exercise for more than two hours a day usually. I would recommend 2-3 quarts for women and 3-4 quarts for men per day of water to see huge results in weight loss. The equation looks like this:

Fat loss = water + oxygen (from cardio vascular exercise)

Typical and safe weight loss amounts range from 2-3 pounds per week from using this formula. Any weight loss more than that and you are losing water weight – which will come back as quickly as it left.

For fast weight loss read Drop The Sugar

Related article - ABDs of Nutrition

Here is a great email from a 100+lb weight loss story!!!

I'm not sure you remember me I emailed you last year about losing over a 100 lbs! I wanted to join the army but the only way to do that was to lose 100 lbs.....I did a lot of what you said. I first emailed you when i was 350 as of now I'm 240.....I just want to let you know and to also thank you I will be taking the asvab and joining in Feburary 2009..

Get some more ideas on nutrition and fitness programs by checking out the Fitness Article Archive
These articles link to the Stew Smith PT Club eBook store which can give you immediate access to programs to help you on your way to losing weight. And, of course, feel free to email any fitness or military fitness questions you may have at

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