January 4, 2013

Is Water Important for Weight Loss?


Is water important for weight loss? 
Guest Post by Theresa Grisanti, MA, CHHC

Do you get enough water? Not tea, coffee, soda, or juice but pure water. Dehydration is one of the biggest deterrents to weight loss and it is more common than most people think.

Dehydration can easily be mistaken for hunger, illness or lethargy. As our culture has moved away from listening to our body’s signals, we fail to understand how our body signals cravings.

The common misconception is that we know we need water when we feel thirsty. The truth is if you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated.

As we have moved into the new year and people are focused on weight loss and resolutions it is important to note that dehydration will prevent you from losing weight and water is the only pure form of liquid that adequately hydrates and cleanses the body.

Symptoms of Mild to Mod­er­ate Dehydration

Do you ever have any of these symptoms?
  • Dry, sticky mouth
  • Sleepi­ness or tiredness
  • Hunger
  • Thirst
  • Decreased urine out­put or dark urine
  • Dry skin
  • Headache
  • Con­sti­pa­tion
  • Dizzi­ness or light-headedness
  • Phys­i­o­log­i­cal Func­tions of Water
Let’s take a look at just how water affects the body. Our body relies on water to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the cells, muscles and organs. It is necessary for fat-burning and removal of toxins in the form of urine and feces. Water is used to regulate the temperature of the body to prevent overheating through sweating and air vapor. Water is necessary for the lungs to remove carbon dioxide from the body. The immune system relies on water to fight infection and disease by moving immune cells through the body and removing the infections from the body.

Digestion requires water to move food through the digestive system and carry nutrients into the bloodstream. Lack of suf­fi­cient water can result in constipation and infections within the digestive tract.

How Dehy­dra­tion Affects Weight

If your body is even 1% dehy­drated, your metab­o­lism is significantly decreased. This is because dehy­dra­tion low­ers blood vol­ume and makes the deliv­ery of oxy­gen to the cells more dif­fi­cult. Without oxygen in the cells the rate of fat-burning diminishes, the removal of tox­ins from the cells is impaired and the abil­ity becomes unable to pro­vide nutri­ents for energy pro­duc­tion within the cells and mus­cles. The result is lethargy and stagnation.

Diges­tion with insuf­fi­cient water is sig­nif­i­cantly reduced and can lead to overeat­ing. All food con­tains some por­tion of water and in an attempt to sat­isfy its thirst, the body will con­tinue to send hunger signals in the hopes of get­ting more water into the sys­tem.

We have also come to equate all forms of liquid as equal to water. When we begin to feel thirsty or tired, we immediately reach for highly caffeinated beverages. These diuretic foods actually cause the body to release more water rather than providing water.

It is essen­tial to add increased water intake to your life if you are seri­ous about weight loss.


Solu­tion

Obvi­ously get­ting more water is impor­tant but how can you max­i­mize your water intake to lose weight. Recent stud­ies have shown that drink­ing 16 ounces of water before a meal will reduce caloric intake by 75–90 calo­ries. The body is sat­is­fied more quickly and hunger is abated.

If you are won­der­ing how much water to drink each day, the gen­eral rec­om­men­da­tion is to drink 50% - 100% of your body weight in ounces of water each day. For exam­ple, if you weigh 150 pounds you should drink between 75 - 150 ounces of water per day.

If that sounds like a lot of water don’t be scared. Put a glass of water by your bedside. When you wake up drink the entire glass before your first meal. This will help your body to get started and give you a better sense of how to recognize when your body is thirsty throughout the day.

Another tip is to drink warm water with lemon to support the diges­tive sys­tem and help the body clean out tox­ins removed from your sys­tem while you were sleep­ing.

Theresa Grisanti has been studying and applying her understanding of health, nutrition and intuitive eating for more than 15 years. Her training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, included instruction from leaders in the holistic healing field, such as Andrew Weil and David Wolfe. Find out more about Theresa's new program Break Free From Dieting and learn how to lose weight the natural way.

Disclosure:  I did not receive any financial compensation for this post.  See my full disclosure.

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