Water retention can make us feel bloated, self conscious, lethargic and achey, and if it happens often enough it's a real mood killer. People get it for different reasons, and although some types are easier to get over than others, there's a lot you can do to combat it naturally. This used to be one of my most popular resets with my clients - whether they wanted to get ready for an event or just have more confidence in their own skin, it's a great little plan to follow to help beat the bloat.
There are many different factors that contribute to water retention and it's important to distinguish whether it's a more pressing issue or if it's just a part of natural ebs and flows due to food, alcohol and hormones. The type of water retention this plan is aimed at is water retention caused by alcohol, food intolerances, high salt intake, food chemicals (MSG is a MAJOR culprit), gravity (flying), heat, post workout DOMS and general lethargy. The pill generally causes water retention and this plan can help, however if this is one of your main and constant side effects from taking the pill I recommend you look into some longer term dietary changes and remedies to help counteract it's effects. Pregnancy and medical conditions can also cause fluid retention and this wouldn't be suitable for these cases.
The plan is 2 days, but you can also just try for one. It's super easy to follow and you need little prep time. Enjoy!
The focus is on natural diuretics, circulatory stimulants and lymphatic drainage. It's super easy to follow and you'll see a change quickly - ensure you get in a sweaty cardio session on each of the days to help eliminate toxins and sweat.
The foods you'll be focusing on are parsley, celery, cucumber, lemons, fresh ginger, coriander, cayenne, eggs, celeriac, avocado, watermelon, banana, asparagus, beetroot, apple cider vinegar, cold pressed olive oil, carrots, spinach (cooked), courgette, whitefish (cod, halibut, sea bass etc).
If you have a body brush, you'll definitely want to use it. If you don't have one it's not going to be a deal breaker, just add a few minutes onto your morning lymphatic drainage session. If you get a lot of swelling in the face, try a manual lymphatic drainage face massage. It takes about 5 minutes and you can feel it working as you do it.
WHAT TO DO
1. Dry brush your skin for 5 minutes, including your face (with a less pressure). If you don't have a dry brush, move straight to step 2.
2. Rebounding for lymphatic drainage. This is usually done on a trampoline, but I'm not sure how many of us Londoners actually have a trampoline in our flats! The key is just to bounce in order to stimulate your lymphatic system, so whack on your favourite song and jump on the spot (you could even skip) for 4-6 minutes.
3. Have a contrast shower. Once it's time to shower, get ready for some real stimulation. Contrast showers are excellent for circulation and can help with mild water retention almost immediately. Have your shower as normal and at the end, turn the water to as cold as you can handle for 30 seconds. Bring it back to hot and repeat so you've done a cold cycle 3 times. It's best to end on cold if you can handle it but if not, try to end on warm, not hot.
HOW TO EAT
For the 48 hours, you'll just be eating the foods above. This will help you get rid of your fluid retention, bloating and will be a nice way to nourish your digestion. What you do between meals is important, so make sure you follow the guidelines below.
1. Upon rising: 500 mls water with juice of 1/2 lemon, 1/8 tsp (or less!) cayenne, and 1 tsp raw apple cider vinegar (optional, but great if you have bloating).
2. Breakfast: egg white omelette. You can cook spinach and herbs to go in it, but avoid onion and knightshades like tomatoes and peppers.
3. In between breakfast and lunch: The night before, prep some green tea to go in your fridge. Steep 5 tea bags in 1 L of water and place in the fridge overnight. To make your daily tonic, prep a water bottle with the green tea, juice of 1/2 lemon and 1/8 tsp cayenne. The aim is not to snack between so that you give your body time to do it's thing.
4. Lunch. This is a smoothie and requires some prep - but not much and it's well worth it for how it makes you feel.
Blend everything together until smooth. Ensure it's not freezing cold when you drink it and take the time to chew a bit. It may seem a little odd at first but it's like having a cold soup and is packed with diuretics and anti-oxidants that will help balance your system.
5. In between lunch and dinner. Same as 3.
6. Dinner. Steamed asparagus with white fish. Olive oil and herbs/lemon to dress. Avoid salt.
The only differences between day 1 and 2 are as follows.
1. Lunch: you can add 1/2 ripe banana OR 1 cup watermelon to your smoothie
2. Dinner: swap the asparagus for any of the vegetables listed above, as long as they are cooked. You can use any herb you'd like but avoid salt and pre-made 'seasonings' as they're often filled with additives or undesirable fillers (ie cajun seasoning).
The amount of food may seem light, however it's important not to overwhelm the digestive system and keep portions reasonable. If you end up getting too hungry in the afternoon you can of course have something (from the list). Try to stick to celery and cucumber, both great for electrolyte balance and will help address cravings, or make an extra helping of cooked vegetables. The cayenne will help you with cravings and energy and is also a stimulant. You can drink as much of this in the day as you'd like (the only caveat is if you have an ulcer, in which case avoid the cayenne!) Enjoy any herbal teas and drink lots of the tonic.
You can still have coffee if you need it, but aim for black and no more than the equivalent of 2 espressos. The cayenne drink makes you pretty alert, so don't be surprised if you don't feel the need for coffee! Avoid black tea.
A great way to ease back to normal is with soaked oats, cooked oats or a smoothie the next day. Try to ensure the smoothie only has one source of fruit (ripe banana is best) and mix it with some of the diuretic veg from above.