Ask any random person on the the street what the best way to lose weight is and they will tell you. Exercise and eat a healthy diet. We all know that. But did you know that there should be a third category added to that list? Diet and exercise are important to any weight loss program but one thing that is often overlooked in a health program is water consumption. I know what you’re thinking, “No kidding, smart guy, but doesn’t water consumption fall under the healthy diet category?”
That is true. Water does technically fall under the healthy diet category, but before you go off insulting me in you head again, please read further.
Even though water is part of the “healthy eating” group it is often overlooked and ignored. But it is such an important part of healthy living! Here are some reasons why we need to stop ignoring the importance of water consumption and make it it’s own category in the magic weight loss formula.
1. Water as a Filler
One of the biggest challenges people face with trying to loss weight is decreasing portion sizes. Water is here to save the day. Let water be your filler. When you’re hungry and it’s meal time, try drinking a glass of water before you eat . This will fill a void in your stomach and will help you become full while eating less food than usual. Plus, as an added bonus, water doesn’t add any extra calories to your diet so it really is the perfect filler.
2. Water as a snack
Ok water shouldn’t be substituted for food but sometimes when our body is telling us we are hungry we are, in actuality, thirsty. So next time you get some hunger pangs instead of reaching for a snack, reach for a glass of water. If your hunger doesn’t go away with 10 or 15 minutes then grab a healthy snack. But it just might surprise you how often those feelings of hunger go away when you drink a glass of water.
3. Water Improves Metabolism
Our bodies are made up of 60-70% water . This means that everything happening in our bodies, all the way down to the microscopic level, is improved if adequately hydrated. If we are not drinking enough water then our body is unable to perform important weight loss processes, such as metabolizing fat. But if we are getting the amount of water that we need, our body soaks it up and as a result everything works better.
4. Water Improves Exercise
When you start exercising to lose weight it needs to be done at the right intensity and for a long enough period of time so it can have an effect on weight loss. Dehydration causes our bodies to become sluggish and slow down. As a result the desired intensity and duration of the workout can’t be be reached. When the intensity and duration isn’t reached the exercise is less effective or sadly, not effective at all.
It is recommended that you drink 8-16 oz of water before you exercise and continue drinking 4 oz. of water every 15 minutes during exercise to prevent you from mild dehydration. Whatever you do, do not wait until you are thirsty to drink water. Thirst is a delayed response and by the time your feel thirsty, its too late, you are already dehydrated
Sports Drinks are no substitute for water during exercise. I see people all the time that bring a sports drink with them to their workout sessions and it breaks my heart. I’m not saying sports drinks are bad, they have their place but it isn’t in the weight loss world. These drinks are full of simple sugars that our body can quickly convert into fat. Water is all you need when doing exercise so don’t let the pretty, colorful drinks distract you.
I once had someone tell me that drinking diet soda was no different from drinking water because it has zero calories. This couldn’t be further from the truth. While diet sodas are lacking calories, they are loaded with sodium and sweeteners that can potentially cause you to crave sugar and other sweets that will destroy your weight loss goals.
Drinking diet sodas can also increase your chances of becoming dehydrated. Some of these diet sodas are diuretics, which means they impede your kidney’s ability to put needed water back into the body. They are tasty and they give you the buzz you sometimes need to get through the day, but they don’t keep you hydrated and do more harm than good to your body.
When starting your weight loss program make it a point to drink more water. Start your day off with a big glass and drink periodically throughout the day. Doing something as simple as drinking more water will increase your chances of achieving your weight loss goals and make your body healthy and happy.
So next time someone asks you what is the best way to lose weight, scream proudly, “ WATER CONSUMPTION, EXERCISE, HEALTHY DIET!”
If you are not a part of our 12 week shape up challenge, this is the nutrition article for week eight of the challenge. Click here to join.