You have heard it a million times. Drink 8 glasses of water a day. Your body is 70% water. Water is healthy for you. Etcetera, etcetera. And like a 4 year old, I want to know WHY?
I briefly touched on this in my 5 Simple Rules for Getting in Shape post. Today, I want to delve into that a bit more. So the first question is:
What does water do in the body?
Well, it does quite a bit actually. Water can dissolve almost anything. It is essential for digestion (because of the molecules that make up water and some other scientific stuff) and also helps to deliver the nutrients from your food to different parts of the body. Think of it as if the nutrients are ships floating to their destination via the Three Rivers (only WAY cleaner). Water also helps maintain your body temperature and is necessary for proper body function. We’ve all heard of the stories about people dying of dehydration. You know how you feel after a particularly indulgent night out at the bar, right? Headache, body aches, tired, dry mouth, nauseous… Now imagine actually dying from these symptoms. That’s what it feels like to die from dehydration. So I’m told.
How much water should I drink in one day?
You’ve probably heard a ton of different equations for how much water to drink in a day, but let’s face it. Everybody is different. Some are short, tall, fat, skinny, athletic, flabby, and the list goes on. Typically, your body will tell you when you need water. Now, if you are more like me, I used to feel like I never got thirsty. Hence why I rarely drank water and probably lived a good portion of my 20s being at least slightly dehydrated every single day. I am sure now, looking back, that is a contributing factor to why I always felt tired and sometimes foggy. I have gotten to a point where I crave water now. Still, there are days when I barely drink any.
So I use this simple rule of thumb to make sure I get enough water daily. Here’s what you do. Take your weight in pounds. Divide it in half. That number is how many ounces of water you should consume in one day. For example, let’s say you are 140 pounds. Half of that is 70, so you would want to drink at least 70 ounces of water per day. Invest in a good BPA free water bottle that has at least a 20 ounce capacity. Fill it up in the morning as you get ready for work and drink it before/with breakfast. When it’s gone, fill it up again and drink it before lunch. Fill it up a third time with lunch and drink it before dinner. With or after dinner, drink one more bottle. Yes, I know that is 80 ounces of water, but you can always round up! Plus, if you are doing a hard workout every day, you need to replace the water that you lose sweating during the workout! And if you aren’t sweating when you are working out, then we have another issue.
Don’t like water?
Me neither. So I dress it up. Rarely, do I drink plain water. I buy fresh lemons, limes, oranges, strawberries, cucumbers, mint and keep it on hand. I slice them up before hand so I can just toss one in and go every morning. I usually only need to use one lemon slice for my entire day. Sometimes , I’ll add another slice after lunch. The point is that you should add these things to make water more appealing. A slice of orange and some mint… heaven!
While they do sell flavored water, sometimes these are not the best options. Take a look at the nutritional value on the back. If there are any artificial flavors or sweeteners in it, it isn’t “water” anymore. It should not have a high sugar or sodium content. Besides, it is just as cheap to buy fresh fruit for your water as it is to buy these flavored bottled water, if not cheaper. A whole lemon is $.79 for Pete’s sake and I space that out for at least 4 days!!
And the million dollar question – How can water help me lose weight?
Besides all of the stuff I mentioned above, water is pretty awesome because it can help you lose weight. Did you know that many people mistake thirst for hunger? Have you ever finished a meal and then a half hour later realized you are hungry again? You probably aren’t hungry. You’re probably thirsty. I KNOW this was a main cause for my weight gain originally because I never drank enough water.
Water will help to flush out the toxins and other bad stuff, quite literally. That is one unfortunate thing about increasing your water intake. You will be in the bathroom more, but once your body adjusts to the increased fluid, you will go less.
Water is going to make you feel full longer. Please do not mistake what I am saying. You should NOT replace food with water. But if you have planned out your meals and are eating properly and are still hungry, you should try drinking more water first. Then if you find you are still hungry 30 minutes later, you should eat more.
Ultimately, you need to learn to listen to you body. There isn’t some easy formula to follow that will help you get fit. You will play around with your diet, exercise and lifestyle to find out what works. One thing that is consistent is water. You NEED water. To lose weight. To feel good. To get healthy. To live.
All the facts from this blog were found in The Eat-Clean Diet: Recharged by Tosca Reno. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is really serious about getting healthy!!!