We all know water is good for us and we need to drink a lot of it – even more when we’re losing weight – but it seems like one of those things we do without asking any questions. When it comes to our health we need ask questions. So I did some research and came up with some answers.
Why do you need to drink water?
There are so many reasons why you should drink a lot of water that I don’t have enough space to discuss them all. Here are just a few.
- Water helps your body flush away the byproducts of fat loss.
- You lose it all day and if it’s not replaced, you become dehydrated.
- It works as a natural appetite suppressant. Have a big glass of water half an hour before each meal. It will fill you up so you eat less.
- Water helps your skin look younger.
- Dehydration contributes to conditions such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, high blood pressure and obesity.
- Fiber is an important part of a healthy diet and you need lots of water to keep from getting constipated.
The best reason? Water speeds up your metabolism and makes losing weight easier and faster!
How much water should you drink each day?
Depending on what you read, you’ll come up with different answers. This tells me that, once again, it’s important to listen to your body and figure it out. For years you’ve heard to drink 8 – 10 glasses of water a day; that’s 2 to 2-1/2 quarts. If you aren’t drinking that much, it’s a good goal to strive for. Baby steps! Try adding half a cup (4 ounces) a day until you’ve reached your goal.
Recently I’ve come across reports that advise taking your current weight, dividing it by two – and that’s how many ounces a day you should drink. This is just my opinion (remember I’m not a doctor or nutritionist), but depending on how much you weigh, this could be an unrealistic amount of water. When I weighed 250 pounds, for example, that would have meant drinking 125 ounces – one gallon of water – every day. However, if you weight 150 pounds, that’s 75 ounces or about 2-1/2 quarts.
Another article said to gauge how much water your body needs by looking at your urine. It should be a light, pale, yellow. If your urine is dark, you aren’t getting enough water. Ultimately, the amount of water you need will depend in part on how much physical activity you do each day and how hot and dry your climate is.
Some final thoughts
- It doesn’t help to just chug two quarts of water down in one or two sittings. You need to drink it all day long.
- When you first start to get hydrated it will seem like you’re in the bathroom all day. Don’t get discouraged; it will get better. It sounds weird but, eventually, the more you drink, the less often you will have to go to the bathroom.
- Here’s a little test to see if you’re dehydrated. Gently pinch the skin on the back of your hand. If the skin holds that little pinch for a moment or two instead of springing right back down, that’s a sign that you may be dehydrated.
- If you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated.
- Some people find it helpful to keep a one quart water bottle at their desk to sip on all day.
For many, sodas, tea, coffee and sugary drinks have become a substitute for good old plain water. As much as we might want to believe that “any liquids” will keep us hydrated, as far as our health goes, nothing could be farther from the truth. As with anything else, replacing a bad habit with something healthier will take some time. The difference water can make in how much we eat and our metabolism makes it more than worth the effort.
Dear Readers: How do you handle the challenge of getting enough water each day? Do you substitute it with something else? I’d love to read your thoughts.
Until next time,
Susan L Stewart