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Water and Weight Loss?

Water and Weight Loss?

It’s National “Drink Water” Week. At South Sound Preventive Medicine, drinking enough water is one of the first recommendations we make when embarking on a weight loss journey.  We recommend that you forget about the common advice to drink 64 ounces a day and focus instead on the color of your urine, drinking enough to keep the urine clear.  Think about it:  doesn’t a landscaper in Phoenix need more water than an executive assistant in Olympia?  Doesn’t a man who is 6’2” and weighs 230 pounds require more water than a 5’4” woman weighing 160 pounds? So forget about counting ounces and check your urine instead.

Many of our patients find difficulty with this advice:

We get it. We struggle too.

Here are some reasons why drinking enough water is important; perhaps these facts will help keep you motivated.

1.   Water is essential to life.

Water transports oxygen and nutrients to the cells of your body. When you become dehydrated, the cells suffer.  You become mentally foggy, tired and physically weak. Chronic dehydration can cause a host of complications including low blood pressure, constipation, muscle cramping, kidney stones, and more.

2.   Fat cells need water in order to release fat.

Recent studies on rodents suggest that dehydrated fat cells become insulin resistant, which impairs fat release.  There may also be an effect on energy metabolism.  Researchers think that rodents who stayed more hydrated were less likely to gain weight because they were burning fat more effectively.  We don’t know about you, but we think quicker fat loss is a great motivator to keep that urine clear!

3.   Those who drink more water eat less.

It’s easy to misinterpret thirst signals as hunger.  If you’re feeling hungry, try drinking a glass of water before eating.  You may actually be thirsty.

4.   Dehydration is associated with weight gain.

A 2016 study that included a sample of nearly 10,000 US citizens found a relationship between dehydration and weight gain.  This study was unique in that instead of measuring water intake – which is variable - the researchers looked at urine concentration, a much better indicator of hydration status.  The researchers found that those Americans with more concentrated urine were much more likely to have struggles with their weight.

5.  Water keeps your cardiovascular system healthy.

Your kidneys are remarkable organs that are constantly sensing the fluid balance in your body and adjusting urine output accordingly.  When you become dehydrated, the hormones the kidney releases to conserve water cause stress to the cardiovascular system in a myriad of ways.  Not good, especially considering cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among Americans.

Ok. So hopefully we’ve convinced you to drink more water.  Here are 7 tips to make sure it happens.

 

1. Have water with every meal and snack.

2. Keep a water bottle with you at home, at work, in the car, and while exercising.  Avoid plastic bottles, which may contain toxins and will pollute our environment. I like to use one of those insulated water bottles to keep my water cold. 

3. Set an alarm to remind you to drink water every hour.  Many of the wearable fitness devices have reminder features built in, or you could set an alarm on your cell phone.

4. Make a colorful sign to tape to your monitor that says “(Your name) drink water!”  I think it’s important to use your name on the sign. My medical assistants did this for me, and it’s been an invaluable tool to keep me drinking!

5. Give yourself a break every hour.  Stand up and walk, get some steps in, and get your blood moving again. And head for a little bathroom break. You’ll return to your work refreshed.

6. Avoid diet drinks. Artificial sweeteners are associated with weight gain.  Keep things interesting by infusing your water with lemon, lime, or even cucumbers and mint to make a nice flavoring.

7. Increase your intake of fluid-packed foods like lettuces, cucumber and celery.

 

Remember, fluid losses occur continuously.  Don’t forget to replenish regularly and you’ll reap the benefits of improved weight control, better health, better focus and more energy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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