Health Challenge Week 3: Why Drinking Water is Important for Weight Loss

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woman athlete takes a break, she drinking water, out on a run on a hot day

Why Drinking Water is Important for Weight Loss

Drinking more water can help you eat less! Drinking water is important for weight loss because it hydrates you without putting in extra calories. Drinking water before a meal will help you feel fuller sooner. It can help you to replace unneeded calories found in snacks or in large portions at mealtime. The general recommendation is to spread out 8-8oz glasses of water throughout the day for a total of 64oz.

Dieters may need to add more water to boost the body’s ability to flush out waste. If you are in hot weather you’ll need to drink more and if you exercise you’ll need even more. It’s possible to lose up to a quart of water in an hour of exercise! There are plenty of tactics to boost your water intake like using a water tracking app, adding it in through food like veggies that have high water content, or spicing up your water with a piece of fruit!

The Science of H2O

You may have heard before that drinking water is important for weight loss. But do you know how your body uses the water you drink to turn fat into energy? Your kidney’s job is to keep the good stuff and get rid of the rest. Your kidneys rely on a certain level of water to run properly and when you are dehydrated, your kidneys have to work much harder or push the workload on another organ. That workload gets transferred to the liver, which already has an important job. When the workload is divided, your liver can’t turn as much fat into energy, leaving you feeling crummy and heavier than you should be. The less fat that the liver has to metabolize, the better!

When it’s dehydrated, your body will go into survival mode. In survival mode, your body will hang on to as much water as it can, also known as retaining water. Water retention leads to slowed metabolism and less weight loss. Here are some signs that you might be dehydrated:

  • Feeling thirsty (obvious, but often ignored)
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Flushed or dry skin
  • Low blood pressure
  • Lack of energy
  • Muscle cramps or spasms

Researchers estimate that over the course of a year, a person who increases their water consumption by 1.5 liters a day would burn an extra 17,400 calories, for a weight loss of approximately five pounds. They note that up to 40% of the increase in calorie burning is caused by the body’s attempt to heat the ingested water. The findings are reported in the December issue of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism

Benefits of Good Hydration Habits

1) Improved bodily functions: Drinking sufficient water helps your body get the right balance of nutrients because your body is 60% water. Water transports nutrients, maintains body temperature, assists in digestion
and absorption, and is key to good circulation.

2) Weight Loss/Control: Water helps with the process of weight loss by efficiently processing the foods you eat. It helps give you a “full” feeling and helps you feel more energized so that you can get the most out of
your exercise program. Water also helps flush out by-products of fat breakdown.

3) Energizes Muscles: When muscle cells don’t have enough fluids, they won’t work as well. It is essential to drink water during exercise to replenish the fluids that you’re losing. Consume water before it’s needed and
you’ll avoid the negative effects of dehydration that occur through sweating.

4) Help Kidney Function: A moderate increase in water consumption can clear sodium, urea, and toxins from the body, decreasing the likelihood of kidney related problems and even kidney stones.

5) Regular Bowel Movements/Removal of Toxins: For proper bowel movements your body needs fiber and water. If your body is short on fiber, your body will pull water from stool, giving you constipation. Even if
you’re lacking in fiber, your body can relieve constipation if it has sufficient water. Clean and pure water also does a great job of flushing out toxins from the body through sweat, bowel movements, and urine.

6) Increase Energy/Reduce Headaches: Even before you begin to feel thirsty, the effects of mild dehydration can decrease energy, mood, and thinking. Staying hydrated can decrease the chances of headaches caused by
severe dehydration.

7) Prevent Cramping: In sports, cramps can be caused by a lack of water. Increase your water intake and you can prevent one of the major causes of cramping.

8) Strengthen the Immune System: Water oxygenates the blood, removes toxins, increases lymph production, cleans eyes and mouth, helps digest food, helps fight insomnia, lubricates joints, and increases serotonin
production (fights depression).

Drinking enough water can help you perform better at the office, the gym, and the dinner table!

Print this chart to stay on track: 

 

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