How much water do you drink each day? Is it enough? These questions are important to consider if you’re serious about losing weight. Why? Because proper hydration is essential for sustainable weight loss and overall health, and being dehydrated over the long term can lead to serious health issues.
Most of us don’t drink enough water. We don’t think water is tasty or satisfying enough, so we opt for sports drinks, soda, or coffee beverages. We even add artificial flavoring or sweetener to water. Over time, this means our taste buds crave sweets, making water — the healthiest drink on earth — seem bland and undesirable. But, if you really desire weight loss, drinking water needs to be part of the plan.
How much water should you be drinking each day?
Most experts agree that drinking half your body weight (in ounces) of water is a good guideline. For example, If you weigh 150 pounds, you should be drinking 75 ounces of water each day. That’s about 9 (8-ounce) glasses per day.
If you’re an herbal tea drinker, those cups of tea count, too. But other drinks like coffee, soda, black tea, and wine don’t. Highly caffeinated drinks are diuretics, which dehydrate the body. Alcohol and spirits dehydrate the body, too. And sugary drinks or even those with artificial sweeteners only make things worse by causing inflammation or otherwise disrupting the metabolism. To keep everything in the body functioning at an optimal level, pure water is the best bet.
Water’s health benefits
Your body is largely made up of water, and your bodily systems and organs need water to function optimally. Your circulatory system needs water to move blood freely throughout your body. Your digestive system needs it, and so does your metabolism. In fact, drinking water is one of the most essential pieces of the weight-loss puzzle.
Often, when people hit a weight-loss plateau, it’s because they aren’t drinking enough water. When you lose body fat, the triglyceride molecules break down into carbon dioxide and water. The carbon dioxide leaves the body through the lungs, and the water is excreted in urine, sweat, or other bodily fluids. Drinking enough water helps this process.
Water helps curb appetite
Sometimes, we mistake thirst for hunger. Far too often, we start snacking when what we really need is a big glass of water to curb unnecessary cravings. In fact, a 2016 study in the journal Obesity shows that drinking water before a meal helped participants eat less and subsequently lose weight. When you’ve hit a weight-loss plateau, and need that extra push to lose those last few pounds, it’s often water that can help you get to the finish line.
Water helps the digestive system
Drinking water also keeps you regular, and having regular bowel movements is key to healthy weight loss. If you’re happy with your bowel movements, and feel that they’re healthy and regular, this is a good sign. You’re probably drinking enough water. If they’re not, that’s a sign you should drink more water.
Problems with digestion and elimination are very common. In fact, Americans spend millions of dollars on laxatives every year! Giving your body what it needs — including enough water — is often enough to get things moving and stay on a regular schedule.
Water can help you burn more calories
When you drink cold water, not only are you helping your digestion and elimination, you’re also burning calories! Drinking cold water helps our bodies burn the calories it needs to shed those extra pounds. It does this by using energy to transform that cold water into body temperature water for digestive purposes. Think of how many calories you can burn simply by swapping out the sugary drinks and replacing them with cold water. A lot!
How to drink more water
Drinking more water is a fairly simple goal, but it isn’t always easy to implement. Plain water doesn’t always hit the spot when you’re craving a cold beverage. And when you’re busy with work or running errands around town, it’s easy to forget to get your water in. Fortunately, there are ways to make your water intake easier.
Get help from your phone
Most of us are never far from our phones, so use yours to your advantage. A variety of apps are available that can help you set water goals and will give you reminders. If you’re already tracking your steps with a Fitbit, you can use your Fitbit app to track your water intake as well. Or if you prefer, choose an app that will reward you with badges for meeting your daily or weekly goals.
Make it tasty
Feel free to add cucumber slices, berries, or citrus fruits like lemon and lime to your water. These are all healthy additions to water that may keep you motivated to drink more. They can be especially helpful in the beginning, as you wean yourself off the sugary drinks. (Water with lemon can also help get things moving if you’re experiencing constipation.)
Eat foods that contain water
Another way to ensure adequate hydration is by eating foods with a high water content. Fruits and veggies full of water are essential for weight loss. Grapefruit, watermelon, blueberries, and apples contain loads of water. In fact, apples are made up of approximately 85% water. Getting into the habit of eating an apple a day is a great weight-loss strategy.
If you get bored drinking cold water and nothing else, you can drink cold, sparkling water to mix things up a bit. While green tea is caffeinated, it’s full of antioxidants and has been proven to support weight loss. A 2010 study explains how antioxidants known as catechins found in green tea break down fat. If you like green tea, it’s an excellent drink to improve your health and help you lose weight.
How do you know you’re drinking enough water?
To determine if you’re drinking enough water, the easiest thing to do is to check the color of your urine when you go to the bathroom. If it’s yellow, you’re not drinking enough. When you’re drinking enough water, the color of your urine will be a pale yellow, or even clear. If your urine is a dark yellow, this likely means you’re dehydrated. However, if you’re taking a supplement containing vitamin B2, this can make turn your urine bright yellow also.
If you’re drinking enough water, you should be hitting the restroom frequently. Some people are tempted to cut back on the beverages to keep the bathroom breaks from cutting into their busy days, but this is never a good health strategy. It’s dangerous to spend too much time sitting, so keep yourself hydrated and use your bathroom breaks to stretch and walk around for a bit.
At Elite Physique, we believe an equal balance of nutrition, activity, rest, and confidence is the foundation for achieving a healthier you. Our personalized weight-loss programs are custom-tailored to help you meet your goals and to address the underlying factors that can make weight loss difficult. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation!