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BAD Fluid retention

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    How doi manage this :( one day i look slim the next i am puffy. i swear my face changes so much


    I would also like some helping regarding fluid retention. I’ve been refeeding since March, when I came off a 3 year low carb diet :-( and was in a mess! I have since put on 60 (uurrrggghhh!!) pounds so am 5ft4 and weigh over 180 pounds but the worst thing is that my arms and legs are swollen up like sausages. I guess this is down to fluid retention as just above my wrists you can see where my arms suddenly bulge outwards and when I wear socks my ankles have deep indents in them for ages after. Also they feel tight and puffy. What to do??? Please help. Will this just go away on it’s own? My temps are up, usually around 36.5 first thing and can often be 37 by the evening. I guess they still need to be higher in the morning? Would appreciate any advice re this problem. Thanks.


    @Kaza – Other than the edema (swelling) do you experience any other unwanted symptoms? Also, do you eat completely unrestrictedly? How long has the edema been a problem? The entire time refeeding? How is your sleep? What are your stress levels like?


    I eat as much as I can most days – usually around 2500-3000 cals – although my stomach (looking around 6 months pregnant) sometimes just feels like it can’t fit that much in! My sleep is still rubbish. I sleep in anything from 1 hr – 4 hr chunks and can be awake for a few minutes to a few hours between sleep chunks. I guess that means my stress levels are still too high, even though I feel much better and the anxiety has mostly stopped. The edema has been a problem for the last couple of months. The first 3 months I just started to put fat on various parts of my body, then the last chunk of fat went on my stomach (uurrgh!) and then my legs and arms started to swell up and just never stopped! They feel tight and puffy. Do you think it is just related to the hormonal changes taking places? I’m guessing that as my metabolism sorts itself out then so too will this? It’s horrid to put up with though so any advice or help would be greatly appreciated :-)


    @Caz – I’m sorry if I’ve hijacked your thread by responding to Kaza. I hope that the information I’m sharing with Kaza is helpful for you too. If you haven’t already read this blog post at YE then I highly recommend it.

    – I would also recommend to you to read this blog post at YE (same as I suggested to Caz) if you haven’t already. It offers some really helpful information. I think that the information applies whether you were ever restricting calories or not because it sounds like your metabolism was slowed for one reason or another, and you were restricting carbs, so edema during refeeding is likely.

    What is puzzling to me is that you started experiencing edema after three months of refeeding. But then I’m not sure what your age is, and I made the assumption (not sure what basis I had for this) that you are female. If you are under 25 and female then according to MiniMaud guidelines your minimum calories should be 3000 a day. If that is true, then you’ve been undereating, and that could account for the delayed onset of edema during refeeding. In any case, if you are retaining water as a healing response due to refeeding then the YE recommendation is to eat more, relax more, and pamper yourself with massage if possible.

    As I have said, it is darn near impossible for me or anyone else here to know what is causing your edema. And refeeding is not the only reason for edema. My best recommendation is to give a shot to eating more. If you’re having trouble with eating 2500-3000 calories then it is possible that you could be more creative about how you get the calories. With foods like chocolate cake, ice cream, pasta with cream sauce, etc. you can find some very calorie-dense foods that are highly-palatable. And I find that adding sugar to foods (I add sugar to fruit or fruit juice, milk, or anything else I can) is a good strategy that works for me if I’m wanting to get in more calories without having to feel that I’ve eaten much more in terms of bulk.

    I have never experienced edema to the degree that you describe, but I have experienced it, and I can certainly understand your distress. I understand that it can be more than just unpleasant and can prompt an intense desire to do something about it. With that in mind, I will second the opinion expressed in that YE post to avoid diuretics when possible. My own experience bears that out. My own experienced with water retention were part of greater health problems that I was experiencing, and I was at the end of my rope. I am an amateur herbalist, and in my desperation I tried to use some mild herbal diuretics. Not only did I not get the relief that I hoped for, but I believe (but cannot prove, obviously) that it only prolonged my recovery. I now believe that the way out for me was to eat more. So I am not suggesting that diuretics are always inappropriate, of course. I am just saying that I agree with the YE caution against them because of my own experience.

    As I have said, there are plenty of other possible causes for edema. I have a few insights into that area. But, nothing that you have shared so far suggests that other causes are likely. My very best guess based on the little information I have is that you might find relief by continuing to refeed and by increasing your caloric intake. Also, I believe that adequate salt is necessary to keep the water in balance. Get someone to give you massage if possible. If not (or even if so) then give yourself a massage. And relax as much as possible. I’d recommend seeing what you can do to improve your sleep because sleep can work miracles. I know that none of that is an easy quick fix, but it is the best bet based on what you’ve shared.

    Please keep us updated. If things don’t improve with more refeeding then there are other possibilities to explore. Oh, and definitely read that YE post. And if you’re a member at the YE forums then you will probably find lots of reports from others who have gone through or are going through similar water retention challenges.


    @caz – yes am sorry for hijacking your post but was hoping for advice that would help you too :-)

    – can’t thank you enough for that link :-) That does explain everything and is enough to stop me freaking out. Thinking about it I did start piling the weight on immediately but I just assumed that was all fat and only thought about it being water retention when my ankles disappeared a couple of months ago! I suppose it could have been less noticeable edema from the start maybe? Anyway, I will try to increase my calories. The trouble is that my appetite still doesn’t match that amount of calories. It’s better than it was as when I first started refeeding I had no appetite and had to force it all down. I’ll try your suggestions of adding sugar and maybe cream to everything! I reaslise everyone is different but do we have any idea how long this stage may last? I’ve stopped putting on weight now (thank god!) so that’s something. Oh, and I am 40. This year! And unfortunately rather than life beginnning at 40 my life went down the toilet! Lol! At least there is light at the end of the tunnel now :-) Yes, your assumption was correct, I am female. Thank you so much for sharing. I am off for a massage :-) I will keep you all updated with my progress. xx


    @Caz when i ‘fell off my wagon’ and started refeeding,it felt great mostly mentally,but like you i began experiencing severe edema after a while to the point where i couldnt open my eyes anymore and i had bloody and burning shins bc of all the waterpressure in my legs,where skin spontaneously cracked open!
    So,i dont want to diss the 180approach at all nor YE but for me it doesnt work like that.

    I think my edema and other issues were bc of major bloodsugar rollercoasters bc im probably wired to be prone to diabetes.
    Lots of my symptoms improved when i took out all starches,especially all grains unfortunately:(

    And the grains probably made me hypothyroid again and causing mineral deficiencies,despite the fact that i was eating thousands of calories. Even the ‘safer grains’ like white rice and corn. Apparently they have some kind of quality that can bind minerals to them.
    From what it seemed,it was also a huge burden on the liver detoxing capabillity as i started to experience several livertoxicity issues,jaundice from butter etc.

    So,its my personal belief that when you start having severe problems after initial phase its NOT a positive sign of metabolism healing and that you just need to push through it,bc i sometimes get the feeling its a bit becoming dogmatic among some people here that you should not restrict certain foods and that everything is just a sign of metabolism healing.
    Unfortunately,ive found it isnt always ‘that simple’….

    • This reply was modified 10 years, 7 months ago by Dutchie.
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