Water and Weight Loss 101: Drinking Water to Lose Weight
As numerous weight loss tips saturate health talks, promising to be both necessary and effective, sifting through this information to understand what your body really needs is a task in and of itself. If you’re on a path to weight loss, you will have come across discussions on the importance of hydration when trying to achieve your ideal weight and optimal health. This leads us to the big question—does water help you lose weight? Is it necessary and effective?
Of all the weight loss tips to consider on your journey, staying hydrated is fundamental to encourage fat loss and facilitate progress. While the average adult body is made up of approximately sixty percent water, the proper functioning of each cell relies on having enough H2O to fuel its processes. So how exactly does that pave the way for losing weight?
Studies show that getting enough water can aid in digestion, muscle function, and even act as an appetite suppressant, making you feel fuller and more satisfied come meal time. Here’s a deeper look at how essential drinking water is to lose weight.
How Does Water Help You Lose Weight: 7 Insights to Water and Weight Loss
- Water May Increase the Number of Calories You Burn—Research shows that increasing your water consumption can temporarily boost your metabolic rate and have a positive effect on your resting calorie expenditure (the number of calories you burn during those take-it-easy moments). Just like with anything else you consume, your body has to work to process the water you drink. This “work” translates to more calorie burning and metabolic rates that are awake and ready for duty. Consuming cold water enhances this caloric burn even more, as your body puts in more effort to warm up the chilled H2O before digestion.
- Staying Hydrated Helps With Workouts—Another connection between water and weight loss has to do with the gym. Trying to complete an intense, fat-burning workout without the proper hydration can lead to muscle cramps, unlubricated joints, and fatigue. Consuming at least sixteen ounces before a workout and staying hydrated during your sweat session ensures that your joints and connective tissue are facilitating proper, pain-free movement, allowing for harder, longer workouts that lead to greater weight loss.
- Water is Needed to Burn Fat—Our bodies rely heavily on proper hydration to do their jobs – burning fat is no exception. The metabolic process that breaks down fat is called lipolysis. The first step of this breakdown requires water molecules, meaning that our body metabolizing fat can only occur with H2O. Drinking enough water ensures that our bodies are properly hydrated so these processes (i.e. fat burning) take place as smoothly as possible.
- Drinking More Water Can Reduce Overall Liquid Calorie Intake—Another detail that paves the way for a simple answer to the question of how water helps you lose weight lies with the fact that consuming more water means consuming less fluid calories. When you replace sodas and juices with water, you’re cutting back on the number of liquid calories that you could be consuming. For those of us that reach for our favorite soda or high-sugar beverage to quench our thirst, opting for a glass of lemon water instead can substantially decrease the number of calories coming in, therefore supporting our weight loss goals.
- Water Boosts Energy—Believe it or not, dehydration can mask itself as fatigue. When we’re overly tired, we’re more likely to make poor health choices that can hinder our weight loss progress. Another way that water and weight loss go hand in hand has to do with how proper hydration preps our mind and bodies to make healthy choices, stay motivated, and choose activity over idleness. Drinking more water keeps your brain alert and focused, your cells energized, and your muscles properly fueled.
- Increasing Your Water Intake Can Lead to Feeling Full and Eating Less—As an effective appetite suppressant, drinking water before a meal can lead to feeling full and consuming smaller portion sizes, which is a huge win for individuals trying to lose weight. Because water takes up space in your stomach, your brain is quicker to send signals that you’re feeling full. This tendency also has the power to curb unnecessary snacking between mealtimes. While many individuals reach for their favorite salty snack or a sweet treat when a headache, gurgling stomach, or low energy sets in, these same symptoms could also be our bodies’ way of telling us that we’re on the verge of dehydration. Drinking a bottle of water is a good way to determine if you’re hungry or thirsty.
- Water Is Responsible For Removing Waste From the Body—Another way drinking water can help to lose weight is by playing a huge role in removing waste from the body. The kidneys are responsible for filtering waste and keeping the nutrients and electrolytes that our body needs. To complete this filtering process effectively, the kidneys need water. Staying hydrated ensures that the process of waste removal goes as smoothly as possible. Retaining waste because of dehydration could lead to bloating and difficulty eliminating the excess junk in our bodies. This leads to increased inches around the waist, something we want to avoid when trying to lose weight.
How Much Water Should I Be Drinking and Tips to Up Your Water Intake
Understanding the importance of hydration and the role it plays in weight loss leads us to the next question—how much water should I drink to lose weight? Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. The amount of water your body needs depends on numerous factors, including weight, age, activity level, and even the amount you sweat.
For individuals that exercise more throughout the day, upping your water intake is recommended. This also goes for those who spend time outdoors in the sun, heat, and humidity. Drinking sixteen ounces of water in the morning, and eight ounces with each meal thereafter is a great place to start.
So, what can you do to build this healthy habit?
- Carry a reusable water bottle—carrying a reusable water bottle with you throughout the day serves as a constant reminder to stay hydrated. Consider setting a timer on your phone that reminds you to grab your bottle and take a drink.
- Keep water near your bed—having a glass of water on your nightstand is a great tip to get you through when you need a midnight thirst quench.
- Incorporate more water-rich fruits and veggies—many of us forget to consider that the water we consume isn’t limited to its thirst-quenching liquid form. Many fruits and vegetables such as melons, berries, cucumbers, celery, and tomatoes contain high amounts of water.
- Eat more soup—incorporating liquid foods such as soups, stews, and smoothies is another great way to increase your water intake.
- Drink herbal tea or fruit-infused water—if water in its simplest form seems a little dull and you’re eager to change it up, consider drinking a decaffeinated herbal tea or adding a squeeze of citrus, herbs, or berries to your water.
Do you need help to lose weight? Have you tried many different diets and approaches on your own without lasting success? If you leave in the Tomball, Spring, Cypress or Houston areas, check out our Medical Weight Loss Plan.