Whether you know it or not, it is likely you are dehydrated. Thirst is the body’s way of telling you to drink water. Right now. Go ahead, you might want to go get a glass of water before you read on …
If you are feeling thirsty, your body is already dehydrated! This is one reason that athletes learn to drink on schedule. Drinking water is key to healthy weight management. Water plays an essential role in helping your body process nutrients, maintain normal circulation and keep the proper balance of fluids.
DRINKING WATER TO LOSE WEIGHT
Your body needs water! It is about 70% water and is involved in every type of cellular process in your body, including your metabolism. Dehydration, on the other hand, slows down the fat-burning process.
“Your metabolism is basically a series of chemical reactions that take place in your body,” says Trent Nessler, PT, DPT, MPT, managing director of Baptist Sports Medicine in Nashville. “Staying hydrated keeps those chemical reactions moving smoothly.” Being even 1% dehydrated can cause a significant drop in metabolism.
HOW WATER HELPS YOUR DIET
Surprisingly enough, it’s also very difficult for the body to tell the difference between hunger and thirst. So if you’re walking around feeling a gnawing sense of hunger, you might just be dehydrated. Try drinking a glass of water instead of grabbing a snack.
Research also has shown that drinking a glass of water right before a meal helps you to feel more full and eat less. Even if you only drink water before dinner every day, you’re likely to consume 27,000 fewer calories over the course of the year. That’s almost an eight-pound weight loss!
HOW MUCH WATER SHOULD YOU DRINK A DAY?
As a general guideline, drink six to eight 8 oz. glasses of water a day. How much water you actually need depends on your weight, level of activity, the temperature and humidity of your environment, and your diet. Your sense of thirst, if you listen to it, combined with simply paying attention to how many glasses of water you’ve had in a day, can help you to keep your body hydrated.
One way to monitor your hydration is to note the color of your urine. Not only should you need to go every one to two hours, your urine should be pale yellow. If it’s a color you might find in a crayon box, it’s likely more concentrated more water is needed. Here’s practical tip: every time you use the bathroom, drink a glass of water to replace lost fluids.
WATER FOR BETTER SPORTS PERFORMANCE
Adequate fluids are important for a healthy, well-functioning body.
Water is like the oil in your car that helps the body run more efficiently. Cells that don’t maintain their balance of fluids and electrolytes are more likely to experience muscle fatigue, while drinking plenty of water before an athletic endeavor allows adequate fluid for muscle cells to enable peak performance.
Two cups of water a couple of hours before exercise should be followed with another cup or so 10 to 20 minutes before you start. If you find you become thirsty while working out, use a sports bottle to help replenish water lost through sweating. A few ounces every 15 minutes can help prevent excessive fluid loss. Watch for other signs and symptoms of dehydration, such as muscle cramping, or feeling light-headed or faint.
LAY OFF THE JUICE
Think you need a sports drink? If you’re working out for less than an hour, water is all your body needs. Because of their caloric and sugar content, soft drinks, fruit juices and most sport drinks are not good choices for replacing lost fluids, especially if you are trying to lose weight or manage your weight. For example, a 1-cup serving of orange juice from concentrate contains 112 calories. Water, of course, has no calories and all the hydrating benefits. Try adding just a splash of fruit juice or a slice of lemon or lime to a glass of water if you don’t like the taste of plain water.
HOW TO DRINK MORE WATER FOR WEIGHT LOSS
The best way to ensure that you drink enough water is to track your water intake. You can do that by using one measurable water bottle only that you ever drink from and keeping track of how often you fill it. Finding a favorite water bottle and bringing it with you everywhere you go is a good start!
You also can try an app on your phone to track water intake. If that’s not your thing, perhaps drinking 8 oz every hour on the hour will get you to your goal? You can set an hourly chime on your phone or timer. Come on in to New U today and we can make drinking more fluids part of your wellness plan!
What’s your favorite water bottle? Does it help keep you on track?