"So yesterday, first thing in the morning, I did a salt load with 1/2 tsp. of pink himalayan salt in 1/2 cup of water, followed by 16 oz. of pure water. I ended up being REALLY bloated all day, despite drinking copious amounts of water all day long. I'm actually up a pound this morning, despite not eating much yesterday."
-IMO you are dosing to low; in Iodine and salt. I do half a teaspoon of real salt every day (in addition to my food), and have done so for 4-5 years. I never have water retention / bloating except for at long flights. Some boron may help.
Often one have a bloating in the beginning, which decreases with continued use. When taking salt, let your body decide how much water it wants; it is a wise being.