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Hydrate to Lose Weight: Drinking Water & Its Relationship to Weight Loss

It all begins with water ....
Water makes up 75% of the human body, so to say it is vital to health could be nothing short of an understatement. Drinking water is a necessity for maintaining health, but it helps those of us who are trying to lose weight or decrease fat in ways you may not have considered.

First of all, by drinking water before and during a meal, it makes you feel full sooner. If you feel full sooner, it can help you to stop eating sooner. Secondly, water can be mixed with low calorie concentrates and sipped throughout the day.

By adding flavorings (such as juice concentrate or green tea extract) the water tastes more like food, which can also put off feelings of hunger and keep you feeling more satisfied between meals.

Finally, drinking lots of water helps you feel better while losing weight. When the body burns old fat deposits, it can encounter contaminants and chemicals stored within the fat. These contaminants can cause you to have flu-like symptoms. By drinking plenty of water throughout the day, you provide a vehicle to allow the body to assist in flushing out those contaminants.

So how do you drink more water? Like everything else related to losing weight or fat, discipline must be incorporated. Here are a few suggestions to help you drink more water each day:

1. Create an Accountability Partner at home or work and tell one another when you drink a glass of water, so that the other has to also. Compete to see who drinks more water.

2. Associate drinking water with daily 'landmarks'. Brush your teeth, drink a glass of water. Have breakfast, drink a glass of water. Leaving for work, drink a glass of water. And so on.

3. Proximity. Keep the water close to you at all times. Buy bottles of water that can be frozen and taken with you if you are not going to be at home or at work. Keep extra glasses and water bottles at work and make sure you always have one full. If it is available, you will drink more water.

A couple of very important aspects of hydration that dramatically affect weight gain and loss are water retention and kidney function.

First of all, water retention. Water retention is an interesting issue because it is one of those issues that runs completely contrary to how we would imagine it would work. Water weighs about seven pounds per gallon, so its easy to imagine that we could shed a few quick pounds by losing some retained water... but how do we do that? Well, as it turns out, we lose retained water by drinking more water!

The body has such a need for water that it retains extra water if we don't supply the right amount on a daily basis - and most of us do not. By getting into a habit, or regimen, of drinking more water than our body actually needs, our body becomes convinced that it doesn't need to hoarde extra water. Once your body is "convinced" that you are going to provide more than enough water to simply survive, it will let loose of the extra water it has stored up in your cells.

Secondly, let's look at your kidneys. Well not directly at them, but let's talk about them. In order to do their job properly, your kidneys require an enormous amount of water. If the water is not supplied, your body goes to Plan B, which is to enlist the assistance of your liver. Because the liver is able to metabolize fat (turn it into energy), every second your liver spends bailing out the kidneys is a second it isn't burning stored fat. Drinking more water allows the kidneys to run at their optimal level and keeps the liver available to burn fat.

For dieters, there is an additional aspect worth consideration. Because we are attempting to burn EXTRA fat (not simply the supply of fat in our daily diet), we actually create an extra water deficit. It takes water to do the normal work of processing waste from our bodies, and it takes EXTRA water to process the stored fat and waste that comes from that job.

Earlier in the article we shared a few tips on how to drink more water each day. Here are a few more tips to help you start your hydration habit:

1. Whenever you feel the urge to binge or have a hankerin' for something that you KNOW you shouldn't eat or drink, immediately drink a big glass of water. It'll do two things... first it will fill your stomach, preventing you from putting the bad stuff in there, and secondly, it will put some time between you and your craving, giving it a chance to pass.

2. Water out, water in. Make it a habit to drink a glass of water after you use the restroom. Did you remember to shut the light off??

3. Drink with a straw. Some people say that you drink more and drink faster if you use a straw. It's worth a try, right??

References: University of Minnesota, Extension Water Quality Program

Copyright 2005 Michael Callen

Michael Callen is the author of the Weekly Weightloss Tips Newsletter and the Chief Technology Officer for, an online retailer of dozens of health and wellness products.


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