“Drink More Water” is one of those well-meant – but extremely vague – pieces of health wisdom that we’ve all heard or read somewhere, along with “Eat Right”, “Be More Active”, “Love Yourself”, and “Live a Balanced Lifestyle.”
Each of those health mantras have the potential to transform all of our lives. If only we could just understand what the heck any of them actually mean.
Drinking water is one of the basic staples of human survival, like breathing or blinking, so you’d think that we wouldn’t have to be told to do it, or instructed how to do it. We’ve managed to make it so far without withering into dried-up prunes , after all.
And yet, strangely, there are a few tip-offs that indicate that we’re still not doing as well in the drinking department as we may think – tip-offs that have led many top doctors and health practitioners around the world to report that poor eating and drinking habits are among the prime reasons that the majority of people on the planet suffering from some level of chronic dehydration, linked to health problems that ultimately affect our weight, well-being, appearance, energy level, general health and longevity. While it seems like drinking water should be second nature to all of us as a species, several elements of our modern lifestyles and environments have ultimately thrown our basic drinking instincts and internal hydration sensors way out of whack.
The evidence suggests that we could all use a handy how-to guide when it comes to drinking water, and that doing so the right way may lead to several fantastic benefits to one’s health and weight management.
Find out why drinking more water can help you turn the tide on your health, metabolism and weight loss, and follow these tips to ensure that you’re drinking water the right way.
Why Water Has Such a Major Impact on Your Health & Weight
Water is involved in every single cellular process and chemical reaction that takes place in your body, including the processes that take care of digesting food, managing appetite, burning calories for energy, optimizing the functions of all your organs and muscles, and eliminating toxins and waste products. Without enough water, all of those processes slow down and start to work less efficiently.
Being even just one percent dehydrated can already start to significantly drag down the speed of your metabolism, while increasing water intake has shown to have the opposite effect. A 2003 study showed that people who drank 8 to 12 glasses of water daily burned calories at a higher rate than people who were not well hydrated, even while at rest. German researchers repeated the study on patients who were overweight or obese, and their test subjects began burning 24 percent more calories within just one hour of drinking water.
The condition and function of the muscles in your body are also largely tied to the speed of your metabolism and how efficiently you burn fat and stay slim. Healthy, toned muscles are key to maintaining a high metabolism and losing weight, even while you’re resting and not using them. Dehydration reduces blood volume, reducing the amount of oxygen and nutrients delivered to your muscles to keep them active. Dehydration also reduces your muscles’ ability to contract and work properly, which slows down your metabolism and ability to break down body fat.
Your other organs are also highly dependent on your water intake. For example, when you don’t drink enough water, your kidneys are not able to work properly, causing your liver to try and pick up the workload and fulfill the kidneys’ essential functions. However, this means that the liver is not able to attend to its other primary responsibilities – such as metabolizing stored fat – which gets put to the wayside while the liver attempts to perform organ double-duty.
Other organs involved in removing waste and toxins from inside your body, like your intestines, colon, skin, etc. also nose-dive when dehydrated. All of the normal processes that your body conducts every day, like digesting foods, burning calories, breaking down fat and etc., naturally create toxins in the body, and if you’re not getting enough water, these toxins build up inside of your blood, organs and fat cells, instead of getting flushed out. The internal build-up of toxins leads to a slower metabolism, weakened immunity, fatigue, skin problems, inflammation, illness and diseases.
And while every system in your body is so heavily reliant on drinking water, the problem is that several lifestyle and environmental factors seem to stand in our way of getting the water that we so desperately need. Diets high in heavily processed foods, beverages and unhealthy food additives majorly disrupt your body’s natural thirst signals. And unfortunately, our brains aren’t very good at distinguishing between hunger and thirst to begin with – one of the human body’s strange little quirks. Many of the signals our bodies give us for thirst and hunger are the same – stomach discomfort, weakness, headache, dizziness, nausea, etc. – which makes it very difficult to know whether we should be reaching for a glass of water or a bite to eat. Usually, most of us end up reaching for the later, consuming calories our bodies weren’t actually asking for. Then, if you are still thirsty (which often happens if you eat instead of drink), the thirst/hunger symptoms persist, leading you to eat even more. This cycle of “silent” dehydration often leads people to overeat and gain weight. On the other hand, a 2001 study showed that by simply drinking one 8 ounce glass of water before a meal, people were better able to identify when they had had enough to eat, leading them to eat less calories during the meal and throughout the day.
Creating healthier drinking patterns can have some massively positive effects on our bodies, weight, energy levels and appearances, and it starts by incorporating some new drinking habits into your daily schedule.
Try these making your own deliciously refreshing no-calorie infused waters.
Your Guide to Drinking Water to Effectively Boost Health & Weight Loss
- First thing in the morning – before you’re eaten or drink anything else — drink 8 to 16 oz. of clean filtered water. You can add a squeeze of fresh lemon to help activate your natural morning detoxification cycle.
- Twenty minutes before breakfast, drink another 8 oz. cup of clean filtered water.
- For every cup of coffee, caffeinated tea or alcoholic beverage that you drink, drink 4 – 8 more ounces of clean filtered water.
- Twenty minutes before every meal, drink 8 to 16 oz. of clean filtered water.
- Two hours before bed, drink 8 to 16 oz. of clean filtered water
- To help avoid intake of harmful toxins and chemicals that can be found in drinking water, drink water that has been filtered. Drink water stored in glass or stainless steel bottles and cups, and avoid drinking from plastic bottles when possible.
- Sip water throughout the entire day, rather than trying to guzzle several glasses of water all at once.
- Keep a glass bottle of filtered water by your side at all time.
- Avoid soda and other sweetened processed beverages.