We are all told to drink plenty of water - at least 8 glasses a day! But that is about where our knowledge ends.
We all know that are survival depends on drinking enough liquid, but many of us don't like drinking water, and don't drink enough of it. We would much rather have something with sugar or caffeine in it - both of which actually dehydrate rather than hydrate us. For instance - if you drink a cup of coffee, when you go to the bathroom, you will actually pass more liquid than you just consumed.
So, here are 5 good reasons why we should all drink more water and how it can help with weight loss:
1) Water suppresses the appetite.
Have you ever started to feel hungry and reached for a snack? Your body was asking for something and you presumed it must be food. But it may have just been thirst. Next time grab a glass of water and see if this helps, you may just be dehydrated.
Water will also help metabolise stored fats. Studies have shown that a decrease in water will cause fat deposits to increase. An increase in water can reduce this.
Your kidneys function at there best when given enough fluid. If they do not function properly they will dump some of their load onto the liver. One of the functions of the liver is to metabolise stored fat into energy for the body. But if the liver is having to do some of the kidneys work it is not working as it should, so metabolism of fat is slowed down and this can cause weight loss to stop.
2) An increase in water can help fluid retention.
When the body does not receive enough water it will perceive this as a threat to survival. So every drop of liquid that you provide, it will hang onto. Water is stored outside the cells and this will show up in swollen hands and feet. A water retention pill may help, but this only provides a short term solution. As this forces water out of the body, it will also take some nutrients with it. The body will still perceive this as a threat to survival and the next time you drink something, the body will store it.
The best way to combat this is to drink more water. The body will know that there is an endless supply so will stop hanging on to every drop. You may find that if you have a high sodium diet you will also suffer from water retention. Again, drink more water. This will help flush the sodium through your kidneys and keep things working properly.
3) Big versus small
An overweight person will need more water than a thin one. An overweight person has a bigger metabolic load. As we learned above, water can help metabolise fat. More water is needed to help the kidneys and liver to function optimally. On average for every 25lbs overweight, an extra glass of water is needed.
4) Muscle Tone
By preventing dehydration, water will help muscle tone by giving them the natural ability to contract. Water can also help against sagging skin in weight loss. Shrunken cells are buoyed by water and this will help the skin plump, and leave it clear and healthy.
When we lose weight we have a lot more metabolised fat to get rid of. Drinking more water will help flush this waste out of the body. Water can also help constipation as well. The body siphons what it needs from internal recourses, this includes the colon. If there is not enough liquid in the body, this can cause constipation. The cure? You've guessed it - drink more water!
So how much water should we drink?
Saying 8 glasses is fair enough, but how big (or small) are the glasses? We should be consuming around 1.5 litres a day. This sounds a lot when you are not used to drinking that much, and yes to begin with it is difficult and you have to drink when you are not thirsty. But after a few days, you will pass the 'breakthrough' period and will begin to get your natural thirst back. You will be surprised, in the end, how easy you will find drinking 1.5 litres actually is.
One trick I found helped me when I started, was to measure out 1.5 litres in a jug. Then find a medium sized glass and measure out how many glasses it would be. You may find that it is only 4 glasses and this seems pretty manageable to drink in a day. If you pick a glass that is to small, you may find yourself having to drink 8-10 glasses of water. It is all about tricking the mind and making it seem less than it really is.
If you stop drinking enough water your body will be thrown out of balance. You may experience weight gain, fluid retention and loss of thirst.