I was looking into this whole plateau, fat cell, water replacement thing and here is what I found:
A biologist at Berkeley shared something very revealing on the low-carb BBS system about 4 years ago that helps us all through the erratic weight fluctuations you invariably encounter:
“Fat cells are resilient, stubborn little creatures that do not want to give up their actual cell volume. Over a period of weeks, maybe months of “proper dieting”, each of your fat cells may have actually lost a good percentage of the actual fat contained in those cells. But the fat cells themselves, stubborn little guys, replace that lost fat with water to retain their size. That is, instead of shrinking to match the reduced amount of fat in the cell, they stay the same size! Result – you weigh the same, look the same, maybe even gained some scale weight, even though you have actually lost some serious fat.”
This is what we have been telling folks. You lose inches but not pounds because your body plumps the fat cells. I tell them it is a complicated biochemical process that your body replaces the fat molecules with water and fluids until you exceed your bodies predetermined fluid level. Then your body will release a chemical that releases all this stored water and you get sudden overnight loss of several pounds. Then the cycle starts over again with inches gone and the scales lag behind.
The good news is that this water replacement is temporary. It’s a defensive measure to keep your body from changing too rapidly. It allows the fat cell to counter the rapid change in cell composition, allowing for a slow, gradual reduction in cell size. The problem is, most people are frustrated with their apparent lack of success, assume they have lost nothing, and stop dieting. However, if you give those fat cells some time, and ignore the scale weight fluctuations, your real weight/shape will slowly begin to show.