If you are one of my clients, you've heard it a 1000 times: drinking enough water is one of the most important things you can do to improve your overall health, but also your weight loss (if that's the goal). But do you know why is it so important and why I keep preaching about it?
Let's explore some facts about water:
We are water! Water makes up nearly 60% of total bodyweight which means that a 100 lb woman actually carries 60 lb of water. Additionally, the more muscle you have, the more water, so keep up with that strength training.
Water is vital for absorbing and transporting nutrients, filtering waste from the blood, and cleansing the colon.
Water is also what your liver (healthy liver = healthy body) uses to make quality bile so it can metabolize fat into usable energy and flush out toxins (super important for fat loss!!!!).
If you don’t drink enough water, the bile becomes thick and congested, and your liver's ability to burn fat slows down. When your liver's ability to burn fat slows down, your metabolism slows down right along with it. When your metabolism is low, food has a tendency to turn into fat and you become much more fatigued.
Through the normal activities of daily living, the average adult loses about 6 pints / 12 cups of fluid a day in sweat, urine, exhaled air from breathing, and through our bowel movements.
We lose approximately 4 to 8 cups of water just from breathing. How many of you get less than that per day? I know I did till I was about 25 years old and got my act together.
It has been medically proven that just a 5% drop in body fluids will cause a 25% to 30% loss of energy in the average person. When you have no energy, you’re not motivated to take care of yourself, and healthy living is difficult to sustain.
Symptoms of even mild chronic dehydration include headaches, feeling tired and groggy, constipation, joint pain, back pain, allergies, asthma, high blood pressure, dry skin.
Severe chronic dehydration can lead to more serious problems with blood pressure, circulation, kidney function, immune system function, and they digestive disorders.
We also often feel hugry becuase we are dehydrated.
Larger people require more water than smaller people therefore body size is important. Sweating rates, exercise and warmer climates will also increase your water requirements.
Consumption of foods high in fat, sugar and sodium (i.e. processed foods) require more water intake.
Carbohydrate storage increases water storage in the body while higher protein intakes tend to stimulate small additional fluid losses (because the body must increase its removal of urinary urea). Switching to high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet triggers very rapid water loss, from decreased stored carbohydrates and increased urinary urea production. This loss however, it only short terms and after a few days on the new diet, those losses stabilize.
What will you gain by drinking more water?
- you will have more energy
- you will digest and absorb your food better ( >>>> easier weight loss)
- you will burn fat more efficiently ( >>>> easier weight loss)
- you will feel less hungry ( >>>> easier weight loss)
- you will go to the bathroom more regularly ( >>>> easier weight loss)
- you will feel less groggy, achy and tired
- you will flush out more toxins ( >>>> easier weight loss)
- you will be getting more exercise (walking to the bathroom counts)
- every system in your body will function better
How much water should you drink per day?
A good rule of thumb is to drink half of your body weight in ounces, so a 140 lb woman requires about 70 oz of water.
If you exercise, you need additional water - about 16 oz of water per hour of exercise.
If you are currently dehydrated and not getting more than 4 cups per day, best way to increase your water intake is to do it gradually. Add 8 oz of water per day for a week, then increase to two 8 oz of water per day, until you reach your required amount.
How to quickly check your hydration status?
One way to determine proper fluid levels in the body is by checking your urine color. Anything from gold brown to dark brown indicate dehydration and an immediate need for fluid consumption.
Tips on drinking more water throughout the day:
upon waking (when we are most dehydrated) start your day with a tall glass of water, or even better, lemon water (8oz of warm water with freshly squeezed half lemon);
drink a tall glass of water for every alcoholic drink, coffee, soda, juice or any other calorie-rich liquid;
drink a glass of water before or after you walk your dog, talk to a friend on the phone, make morning coffee, etc. -> attaching a new habit to an already existing habit is a great way to start;
carry a bottle of water with you everywhere you go (I highly recommend buying a glass or stainless steel bottle);
set a reminder in your phone to have a glass of water at specific times.
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