We all know we can’t survive without water. (Duh.) But did you know that water can help with weight loss too? (We’ve got your attention now, right?)
It’s easy to mistake thirst for hunger, which is why staying in tune with our body’s need for water is super important when we’re trying to shed extra pounds. Drinking a tall glass of water (instead of say, surveying the contents of the fridge) can curb our appetite and help kick our kidneys into high gear to reduce water retention. For example, one glass of water helped dampen midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of the dieters in a recent University of Washington study.
By increasing our water intake by as little as three cups a day, we can consume a lot less calories (205 fewer) and sodium (235 fewer grams). To figure out how much water your body needs, rather than using the generic eight 8-ounce glasses a day guideline, divide your weight in pounds by two. The resulting number tells you how many ounces to drink daily. (For example, a person weighing 150 pounds needs to drink 75 ounces a day.) You can also do the “pee test” to be sure you’re drinking enough: your urine should always be pale yellow in color.
Water is also essential for proper circulation. The levels of oxygen in our blood are greater when we’re well hydrated. This is partly why we feel more energized when we drink more water. Mild dehydration is the number one trigger of daytime fatigue. A mere 2% drop in body water can cause fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math and difficulty focusing on the computer screen or on a printed page. The next time you feel an afternoon slump coming on, take a brisk walk to the water cooler and fill up your glass!
Here are 7 helpful hydration tips from our coaches:
- Drink a glass of water first thing when you wake and right before bed.
- Bring a water bottle everywhere you go, refill it often and sip water slowly throughout the day. (Fun fact: When you drink 12 ounces of plain water, your body will absorb 8 ounces of it within 15 minutes.)
- Drink more before, during and after exercise, if you’re in a very dry or hot climate (water helps regulate body temperature) or feeling under the weather (water helps flush toxins from the body).
- Avoid sugary drinks and excessive caffeine, which can work against good hydration.
- If you prefer flavored beverages, squeeze lemon, lime or orange juice into your water. You can also use cucumber and mint leaves for an extra flavor kick.
- Drinking water isn’t the only way to stay hydrated. Fruits (i.e. watermelon) and vegetables (i.e. tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, zucchini and radishes) all contain over 95 percent water.
- Know the signs of dehydration. It begins with a feeling of thirst. Additional signs to watch out for include: dark yellow urine (and decreased urination), headache, tiredness, difficulty concentrating, muscle cramps, rapid heart and respiratory rate and lightheadedness, especially when moving from sitting to standing.
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