Is it possible to lose 5 pounds or more overnight? Yes, it is and it can be done safely by naturally reducing the amount of water your body retains but make no mistake that the weight loss will be mostly temporary. Anyone who follows my work knows that I am a staunch opponent of the idea of a quick fix, and the information in this article is far from being one of those so called quick and easy solutions to weight loss. What it is, however, is a safe and natural way to lose several pounds TEMPORARILY to fit nicely into that dress you would love to wear, look your best for that photoshoot, have a day at the beach or any occasion where it wouldn’t hurt to be just a few pounds lighter. It is not by any means going to ‘jump start’ your weight loss attempts, nor is it going to help promote the loss of body fat. That calls for a long term and lifestyle based approach of proper diet and regular exercise of adequate intensity which will always be the way to lose weight and keep it off as the mechanisms of human biology aren’t changing anytime soon, regardless of how badly we would like it to do so. Some might ask why would a strong proponent of lifestyle based weight loss write an article on how to quickly shed a few pounds and the answer is pretty straightforward. I have stood silently by for a long time watching people destroy themselves with all manner of quick fixes. From diuretics to enemas, from starving themselves with no food or zero carbohydrate diets, to extreme water depletion combined with excessive amounts of exercise. All unhealthy methods that do bring about rapid weight loss- but only temporarily so and always come at a cost to your overall health and well-being. There are, however, natural and safe ways to lose 5-7 pounds overnight, tricks of the trade as you might call them that I have used myself and with my clients who range from bodybuilders and fitness models to actors and actresses over the years to prepare for photoshoots, guest appearances and such. There are no side effects, no pills or powders and I will map out the steps for you and also explain why it works. Thanks for reading and if you know someone who would benefit from this article, do be sure to forward it to them.
How to Lose 5 Pounds Overnight- Who It’s For & What Should You Expect
Before we go into the details of how to lose 5-7 pounds overnight I should first explain that the results will vary based on your body weight, body fat percentage, and degree of overall muscle mass. The lower your body fat the more pronounced the effect will be as it works around the idea of removing as much excess water as possible from your body and so the leaner you are to begin with, the more of a dramatic difference it will make. Thus someone at 12%-15% body fat will see far more of a difference than let’s say someone with 25% body fat or higher (see my article on What Different Body Fat Percentages Look Like for a point of reference)- however all parties will experience some weight loss in the range of 3 pounds to as much as 7 pounds depending on their prior dietary norms. That said, while this method offers a small fix, it is still always in your best interest to be as lean as possible from regular exercise and proper diet to be able to reap the most benefits from this method. Note that the emphasis is on removing EXCESS water as too much water depletion will result in dangerously low levels of essential minerals which can bring about severe muscle cramps, decreased muscle contractility, and in extreme cases can bring about arrhythmia and respiratory paralysis. The methods described below do not rely on any extreme means of fluid removal, however, as always you should consult your physician before attempting any type of fluid manipulation and are not recommended for anyone with underlying medical issues or those on medication for hypertension or any other ailment. That said, here’s how you do it:
Step One: Limit your sodium intake
How To Lose 5 lbs Overnight- Step One: Limit Sodium Intake
The day before you need to drop those extra few pounds and look your very best, you first need to limit your sodium intake, which in my experience can help most people lose as much as 2 to 5lbs overnight without doing much of anything else. Especially if they have been consuming a high sodium diet. A low sodium diet means not adding any salt whatsoever to your food and avoiding not only foods that are salty to the taste such as canned soups, chips and salty snacks but also foods with added salt that might not be necessarily be salty to your taste buds. One of the first early marketing discoveries in the food industry was that people eat more if salt is added to a food, especially if you reduce the fat or sugar content. As a result, food manufactures add salt to an array of foods that you might not think of as being high in sodium. Most breads, cold cereals, frozen foods, diet sodas, non-salt free canned vegetables, non-salt free seasonings, condiments and spaghetti sauce- (most of which you should not be eating in the first place if you are serious about healthy eating) might not taste salty, but are high enough in sodium that they should be avoided. 75% of the sodium in the American diet comes from processed foods and foods served in restaurants so you should avoid eating out as well the day before unless you have access to food that you know for certain is 100% salt free such as sashimi with nothing on it.
Sodium is an essential mineral and it plays a key role in regulating the amount of water in your cells but if you consume more than your body needs it will cause your body to retain water- which most of us will experience as an increase on the scale and if you are lean enough- you will see a marked reduction in your overall muscle definition, especially in the abdominal area and in the lower body. Our body tries its best to maintain a ratio of sodium to water outside cell walls that is approximately the same as sea water, so when you consume a food or drink containing sodium, your body will hold on to water to maintain the ratio. To give you an idea of the effect, the 400 milligrams present in one gram of table salt would result in a fluid retention of 4.4 kilograms- or 2 pounds to maintain a sodium/water balance. So it makes sense that if you want to keep your weight down and skin tight that you keep your sodium levels low. (See my Article 5 Ways To Deal With Lose Skin After Weight Loss for more on the importance of a low sodium diet). We only need between 180 and 1,500 milligrams of sodium a day to maintain good health, [1, 2,3] which most of us will reach or slightly exceed EVEN if we consume foods that have no added salt to them whatsoever as sodium is present in almost everything we eat. Following a strict salt-free diet I still take in between 1,200 and 1,400 milligrams of sodium a day- so you don’t have to ever worry about not getting enough. That said, according to the American Heart Association, 98% of Americans ingest more sodium than they should, with the average intake being more than 3,400 milligrams a day and anything over 2,300 milligrams is considered unsafe[1,2,3] Regardless of what you might read in fitness magazines and in the bodybuilding circles about high sodium intakes making for better pumps and a more vascular appearance the truth of the matter is that reducing sodium intake also reduces blood pressure and higher sodium intakes are strongly associated with greater risk of incident stroke, fatal stroke and fatal coronary heart disease.[4,5]
To get rid of extra fluid brought on by a high sodium intake the usual procedure is to simply drink more water. A simple solution that flushes out the excess sodium and returns water levels in your body to normal but we are going a bit further as you will see.
Step 2: Eat a large helping of watermelon.
How To Lose 5 Pounds Overnight- Step Two: Have A Large Helping Of Watermelon
Watermelon is high in fructose and very sweet and you might think that a having a large serving would wreak havoc on your insulin levels, as it does indeed have a high glycemic index. However, because watermelon is made up mostly of water it has a very low glycemic load, which means that sugar from eating it is slowly absorbed into your body and does not cause the type of insulin spikes typical with the consumption of very sweet foods. (See my article here about Glycemic Index & Glycemic Load- Understanding The Differences). Because of the high water content, watermelon also works as a natural diuretic and a larger than normal serving of 4-6 cups an hour or two before bed will most certainly make you spend the night going to the bathroom and in the process rid you of any excess sodium and water your body might be retaining. Why not just drink more water before bed to have the same effect? Well, watermelon has some attributes that help the process. Firstly it is high in potassium, which is critical for maintaining proper fluid balance as well and can be significantly depleted when your body loses a significant amount of water. Secondly, watermelon is high in the amino acids L-Citrulline and L-Arginine- which both have been shown to play a role in the reduction of high blood pressure and improving blood circulation. Citrulline (which is derived from the Latin word for watermelon) is also converted to the amino acid arginine, which goes on to create nitric oxide in our bodies, a key compound that improves blood flow and healthy sexual response. Long before Viagra, I had several clients swear by the benefits of eating a large helping of watermelon at night and there is indeed some evidence of the role of nitric oxide as having such effect.[6,7] But we will leave that for another article!
Either way, if you can eat it all at once, then by all means do so, but you can spread it out over the course of the night as well as you don’t need to eat to the point where you feel uncomfortable. You will lose a significant amount of water overnight- and will have to wake up from time to time to use the bathroom. For most, these two steps should be more than enough to lose about 3-5 pounds, but if you are preparing for an event where you need your legs to look as tight as possible, or if you really need to lose as weight as possible overnight for a photoshoot or event, then you would move on to step three.
Step 3: Sleep with your legs up!
How To Lose 5 Pounds Overnight- Step Three: Sleep With Your Legs Higher Than Your Heart
The problem with trying to reduce your body’s excess water levels is that you have to contend with gravity to get all of it out. Fluid tends to build up in the extremities- hands, feet and ankles as a direct result of gravity and simply drinking more water or eating a large helping of watermelon won’t necessarily make you lose all of the excess water, especially in your lower body. To take care of this, you sleep with your legs elevated to a point where your legs are higher than your heart. Doing so naturally allows for excess fluid to drain out of your lower limbs and you will see a major difference in how your lower body looks overnight if you are lean enough. It does, however, increase the diuretic effect of eating the watermelon and so you can expect to wake up several times during the night to go to the bathroom if you implement all three steps. For those who easily fall asleep and stay asleep this might not be too bad, but light sleepers might want to take note as you might be a bit tired the next day from waking up frequently and for some, sleeping with their legs elevated can be a bit of a challenge. Nevertheless, you should expect to lose 5 to as much as 7 pounds from using all three steps overnight- a safe and natural method with no side effects or questionable pills or powders to purchase.
Losing 5 Pounds Overnight- How Long Does It Last
Most will regain the weight lost over time but you can reduce the weight gain by keeping your sodium intake low and water intake high.
The loss of water overnight can come with a loss of essential minerals such as potassium. This can lead to painful muscle cramps and so it is best advised that you eat fruits and vegetables high in potassium the next day such as sweet potatoes, peas, beans and greens. On the day of your event you should also continue to keep your sodium levels low and drink water normally. The effects are usually most pronounced first thing in the morning, (so if you have a photo shoot try to schedule it in the early hours), and you will start seeing the numbers on the scale increase slightly as the day goes on. Staying off your feet with your legs elevated helps maintain the temporary weight loss as long as possible and if you keep your sodium intake low and your water intake high you might not completely regain the weight lost. If not, expect your weight to go right back to where it was if you aren’t following a low sodium diet. Doing the three steps several days in a row won’t work to help you lose much extra weight either and the more you do it the less effective it seems to be- so save it only for those times when you really need it! As I mentioned earlier, this isn’t a substitute for proper diet and regular exercise, which over time can get you to a place where you don’t need to worry about how to lose 5-7 pounds overnight in the first place. Thanks for reading and I hope this article helps you out and keeps you on the path towards long term weight loss.
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References for How to Lose 5 lbs Overnight:
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- Aaron KJ, Sanders PW. Role of dietary salt and potassium intake in cardiovascular health and disease: a review of the evidence. Mayo Clin Proc. 2013
- World Health Organization Guideline: Sodium intake for adults and children. 2012
- Cook NR, Cutler JA, Obarzanek E, Buring JE, Rexrode KM, Kumanyika SK, Appel LJ, Whelton PK. Long term effects of dietary sodium reduction on cardiovascular disease outcomes: observational follow-up of the trials of hypertension prevention (TOHP). BMJ. 2007
- Taylor RS, Ashton KE, Moxham T, Hooper L, Ebrahim S. Reduced dietary salt for the prevention of cardiovascular disease: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (Cochrane review). Am J Hypertens. 2011
- Burnett AL. The role of nitric oxide in erectile dysfunction: implications for medical therapy. J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2006
- Toda N, Ayajiki K, Okamura T. Nitric oxide and penile erectile function. Pharmacol Ther. 2005
- Orozco-Gutiérrez JJ1, Castillo-Martínez L, Orea-Tejeda A, Vázquez-Díaz O, Valdespino-Trejo A, Narváez-David R, Keirns-Davis C, Carrasco-Ortiz O, Navarro-Navarro A, Sánchez-Santillán R.Effect of L-arginine or L-citrulline oral supplementation on blood pressure and right ventricular function in heart failure patients with preserved ejection fraction. Cardiol J. 2010