By Kevin McManus
Surprising as it may seem, water consumption is quite possibly the single most important factor when it comes to losing weight and keeping it off. Although most of us take it for granted, water may be the only true “magic potion” for permanent weight loss.
Water is one of our most critical nutrients. It is also proven to suppress the appetite naturally, and to help the body metabolize stored fat. Studies have shown that an increase in water intake can reduce fat deposits. Here is why - the kidneys can’t function properly without enough water and that inhibits waste filtration, the kidney’s primary job. When ones’ kidneys don’t work to capacity, some of their load is dumped on the liver. One of the liver’s primary functions is to metabolize stored fat into useable energy for the body. But if the liver is burdened with some of the kidneys work, it can’t operate at full throttle. As a result, one tends to metabolize less fat, and more fat remains stored in the body, and your
weight loss efforts are stymied!
Drinking enough water is the best treatment for fluid retention. When the body isn’t getting enough water, it perceives that as a threat to survival, and begins to horde as much water as possible. Water is stored in extra cellular spaces (outside the cells). This can result in bloated and swollen feet, legs, and hands.
Diuretics may offer a temporary solution to water retention by forcing out water (along with some essential nutrients). But again, the body feels threatened, and will work to replace lost water immediately. The best way to overcome a problem with water retention is to give your body what it needs...plenty of water! Excess salt may also cause water retention. Your body will tolerate sodium only in certain concentration. The more salt you eat, the more water your system requires diluting it. Good news is, getting rid of unneeded salt is easy...just drink more water! As water is rinsed through the kidneys, it takes excess sodium with it.
Water helps to maintain proper muscle tone by giving muscles their natural ability to contract by preventing dehydration. It also helps to prevent the sagging skin that usually follows weight loss - shrinking cells are buoyed by water, which pumps the skin and leaves it clear, healthy, and resilient.
Water helps rid the body of waste. During weight loss, the body has a lot more waste to get rid of. All that metabolized fat must be shed. Again, adequate water helps flush out the waste.
So, how much water should a person consume to stay properly hydrated? That depends on your weight. Larger people have larger metabolic loads. Since we know that water plays a critical role in metabolism, it makes sense that a heavier person needs to consume more water. The rule of thumb is to consume ½ your bodyweight in ounces daily. So, a person that weighs 200 pounds should aim for a daily water intake of 100 ounces, while a person weighing 140 pounds should aim for 70 ounces a day.
Yes, that’s a lot of water! And one will need to “go” more often, but the bladder quickly adapts and before long the frequency lessens. That said, it still makes sense not to try to consume all your water before bedtime. Consuming water, like any other discipline, is easier when you plan. Carry water with you everywhere you go. Keep track of your intake. Try to consume ½ your daily intake by mid-day and to finish an hour before your bedtime.
Here are a few other good reasons to stay hydrated:
- Water helps you build stronger bones
-Water aids in digestion
-Water helps you stay regular
-Water helps keep your brain sharp
-Water increases your energy and improves mood
-Water improves physical performance
-Water helps your body recover faster
-Water strengthens your Immune System
-Water is good for your skin
It’s never too late to start drinking more water. Start now and work your way up to your intake goal. And like any habit, the more you practice the better you get. But most importantly, be kind to yourself. If you forget your water or fall short of your goal, no worries, tomorrow is a
Kevin is a NASM certified personal trainer and co-owner of La Mision Fitness and Yoga. He coaches individuals and small groups 6 days a week. To schedule training or a fitness assessment, contact him by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by phone (919) 723-8885.