The New York Post reports that more than 70% of U.S. adults don’t drink enough water. While the daily intake of water will vary from one person to the next, we recommend that you should be drinking at least half of your body weight in ounces per day. Proper hydration does more than just quench your thirst, it has weight loss benefits, too.
Why Drinking Water Helps You Lose Weight
Water is a Natural Appetite Suppressant
When your body is hungry, it’s easy to feed it with whatever food is convenient, from unhealthy snacks to sugary sweets. However, when you drink water, your stomach becomes fuller, naturally, and without the excess calories.
A 2014 study by the National Library of Medicine found that overweight individuals who consumed water before breakfast, lunch, and dinner experienced a reduction in body weight and appetite suppression.
Water Acts as a Substitute for Other Liquids
Sugary juices, calorie-filled sodas, and coffee sweeteners are all examples of calorie-dense liquids. (These liquids are also not permitted under the RM3® plan, for good reason!) Water is a great substitute for these liquids because it has zero calories and many health benefits. For example, drinking three soda cans in a day that are 150 calories each, will result in a whopping 450 calories, whereas three glasses of water results in 0 calories by comparison!
Water Hydrates You When You Exercise
When you’re using your muscles for exercise, whether it be taking a walk or doing yoga, you’re using your muscles. If your muscles are dehydrated, you won’t be using them efficiently, and this can lead to cramping and fatigue. Also, if you’re sweating, you need to rehydrate yourself so that you can work out longer and burn more calories.
Water Reduces Stress and Anxiety
Stress eating can be a challenge when trying to lose weight. In a study by the International Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers found that dehydration increases cortisol production. To alleviate this, drink more water and stay hydrated. When you’re ‘hungry’, you may actually just be ‘thirsty’, and drinking a glass or two of water can help combat those stressful food cravings.
How Much Water Do You Need To Drink?
There is no standard recommendation for how much water to drink. Some people require more or less water, depending on a variety of factors, including:
- activity level
- body size
- sun exposure
- health status
Your body is made up of 60% water, so hydration is crucial for maintaining bodily processes, like circulation and energy production. At Red Mountain Weight Loss®, we recommend that patients should be drinking at least half of their body weight in ounces per day.
Getting Enough Water
While everyone knows it’s important to stay hydrated, doing so can be difficult. Here are a few simple ways to drink more water.
Keep a Reusable Water Bottle With You
When you have a reusable bottle, you can easily drink water in any setting, whether traveling or at home, school, or work. It can also be a visual reminder to stay hydrated if you see the bottle on your desk or table.
Drink a Glass Before Each Meal
Another way to increase your water intake is to drink water before each meal. This adds an extra three cups (720 ml) to your daily water intake if you eat three meals daily.
Keep in mind your body may mistake feelings of thirst for hunger. Having a glass of water before eating can help you decide whether you are truly hungry or not.
Flavor Your Water
If you dislike the flavor of plain water, add a bit of flavor to help you drink more. An inexpensive fruit-infuser water bottle is one healthy option. You can use any combination of fruits that suits your taste. Some of our favorites include cucumber-lime, lemon, and strawberry.
Drink Water When You Wake Up & Before Bed
An easy way to increase your water intake is to drink one glass when you wake up and another before bed. Cold water in the morning may help wake you up and boost your alertness. Plus, a glass of water before bed can keep you from waking up with a dry mouth and bad breath.
Sometimes we mistake our boredom or thirst for hunger, which is a vital mistake. Even just mild dehydration can trick our bodies into thinking that we’re hungry! Learn more about appetite control strategies.