5 Proven Ways Hydration is Key for Weight Loss
By Alyssa Kessel, RDN, LD, Expert Dietitian
When it comes to losing weight and leading a healthier lifestyle, one of the most important things you can do is to drink enough water. A new study published in the Annals of Family Medicine found that hydration plays a big role in weight management. They found 33% of the people in the study were inadequately hydrated – and that these people had higher BMIs than people who were properly hydrated!
So, how does water correlate to your weight loss goals? I’ve found 5 big ways that proper hydration can help you reach the next level of your health journey:
1. Hydration boosts your metabolism and fat burning rate
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that drinking water (about 17 oz) increases the metabolic rate of healthy men and women by 30%. This increase starts to happen 10 minutes after consumption, and reaches its peak around 30-40 minutes. This happens because cold water must be warmed in the stomach before being absorbed, and this warming process is what causes the metabolism to increase.
2. Water is a natural appetite suppressant
People often mistake thirst for hunger. One study – conducted by researchers at Virginia Tech – found that those who drank about 2 cups of water before a meal were able to lose 5 lbs more than a group of people who followed a similar meal plan, but didn’t drink water before eating.
Why does this work? When the stomach senses that it is full, it sends signals to the brain to stop eating. Drinking water before or during meals can help take up space in the stomach, leading to feeling full and resulting in consuming less calories.
3. Water helps remove waste and toxins
Water helps your kidneys filter toxins and waste while the organs retain essential nutrients and electrolytes. The more fluid you drink, the more urine will pass through your kidneys. But when your body is dehydrated, it can’t properly remove waste from your system. Staying hydrated is a good way to avoid retaining waste!
4. Healthy hydration cuts calories
Every time you reach for water instead of another beverage, you’re cutting out excess calories. Even some of the “healthy” beverages (like milk, 100% juice, or smoothies) adds calories to your daily intake. And we all know that excess calories leads to weight gain.
5. Water increases your workout effectiveness
Your performance can suffer if you don’t drink enough water during your workouts. Water helps muscles, connective tissues, and joints move correctly, as well as helps your lungs, heart, and other organs work effectively during exercise. Plus, being properly hydrated can reduce the risk of muscle cramps and fatigue during your workouts. Always drink water before, during, and after your workouts to avoid dehydration.
So now that you’re hooked, how much should you drink? Studies have given varying recommendations over the years, because your individual water needs depend on age, gender, weight, health, level of physical activity, medications taken, weather, and other factors.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommend the following:
- Men: 11.5 cups (3.7 liters or 125 oz) of fluid a day
- Women: 11.5 cups (2.7 liters or 91 oz) of fluid a day
Well, how will I get my “fill” of water? It can be a struggle to get your daily recommendation, but here are some of my favorite tips:
- Track your water intake using an app or notebook
- Carry a large water bottle everywhere you go
- Make it taste better – squeeze some lemon or lime to add flavor
- Build it into your daily routine. Aim to drink 8 oz of water before and during all of your meals
- Drink water before, during, and after your exercise
- Set reminders – put notes on your refrigerator or alarms on your phone
Water makes up about 60% of your body, so don’t forget to replenish, replenish, replenish. Make it your summer and fall goal to stay hydrated – I guarantee you’ll see a difference in your health! For more wellness and weight loss coaching, please take a look at our Weight Loss Program. We work with clients one-on-one to determine a plan that works for YOU!
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