Nutrition Articles

Water Is a Secret Ingredient

Water: The Wild Card of Weight Loss

Is water important? Well let’s see, other than making up 50%-60% of our bodies, regulating body temperature, helping our breathing, transporting nutrients, carrying away waste and helping our muscles function, water is pretty much useless. Oh, and you need water or, after three days without it, you’ll die.

So in other words, water is pretty darn essential. It can even be an extremely important (and often unappreciated) weight loss factor.

Somehow, though, water is one of the most neglected parts of our diet. Some of us possibly go an entire day at times without one glass! Every part of your body is dependent on and comprised of water, and the most important parts need even more. Your brain is made up of 75% water, your blood 82% and your lungs nearly 90%.

Besides being a vital component of your body, water also helps to reduce weight. The more hydrated you are, the quicker your metabolism works. When you are dehydrated – even before you start becoming thirsty – your liver has to help the kidneys function and can’t metabolize fat as quickly. Your metabolism slows down, causing some unwanted fat to remain.

If your body is used to not getting water, it actually stores more in ankles, hips and thighs. In other words, it doesn’t trust you to keep bringing water, so it keeps what it can get, like a thirsty cactus. Once it realizes the water will keep coming, your body will get rid of the stores and you’ll lose weight!

Plus, if you’re suffering from cravings or having trouble controlling hunger, drinking water is a quick, healthy way to feel full. Drink a glass when you normally snack, and have one before your meal and right before going out.

Staying hydrated is not restricted to drinking water; milk, juice and other liquids – even some fruits and vegetables – are good sources of water. But avoid caffeinated beverages (coffee, soda), as they actually cause you to lose fluids and become dehydrated.

The recommended daily amount of water is eight cups a day, but don’t feel bad if you have neglected your water intake. Even if you constantly drink coffee or soda, you can make some simple changes to increase the water in your diet. Here are just a few ways to get more water every day:
  • Find the water bottles with pop tops. They’re easier to carry around and use than twist off caps.
  • Keep a water bottle in the car.
  • Take a water break instead of a smoke break at work.
  • Set a rule with your water glass: once it’s empty, it gets filled back up right away.
  • Drink orange juice or eat fruit in the morning.
  • Get two water bottles, one for work and one for home. Fill up one every day when you leave to go home, and fill up the other before you go to bed each night.
  • Order water at restaurants instead of soda. Even if you have something else to drink, have water too.
  • Weekends are the toughest, so be aware of your water and fluid intake throughout Saturday and Sunday. Keep more than one water bottle in the fridge so you always have a cold one.
  • Follow the example of a SparkPeople member: this woman put a water glass on her windowsill with 8 pennies on one side. Each time she filled up her glass and drank it, she moved a penny to the other side, until all the pennies were moved. Great reminder system!

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Member Comments

  • It is so hard for me to drink more than a glass or 2 of water per day. I'm just never thirsty, and have to choke it down.
  • I like the penny tip It is not always conducive for me to log in to say that I drank my eight cups of water but I can do the pennies when I'm at home.
  • For a long time I never got enough water. I just couldn't choke it down. I got sick and during that period I only wanted water but still didn't get enough. That was the beginning of me drinking water. I have 2 water bottles that my husband fills for me every day. A 25 oz bottle I got when I sent off for an exercise DVD and a 30 oz bottle I bought a couple of months ago. At first, I couldn't get over the 55 oz mark so I make it a point to drink a 6 oz glass of water before I leave the house then I drink 4 ozs right before bed. 65 oz or more now. Sometimes I get over 10 glasses a day if I work out hard. I only drink water and black coffee in the morning except when I go out to eat. I have tea at that time because it's the only time I drink tea unless I'm sick.
  • I have a 20oz water bottle on the counter and aim for 4 bottles a day
  • we have a couple of water bottles that have the tip up straw to them so we take those with us when we are in the car. This way you don't even have to wait for a traffic light to pull up the little top on those other bottles to take a drink and you never have to take your eyes off the road when drinking from them either.
  • My body must be smarter that most people's, LOL! If I'm hungry and drink a glass of water instead, I'll still be hungry! Water doesn't "fill you up" for more than a few minutes. A lot of this article is outdated. The 8-cups-a-day thing has been debunked over and over. On the other hand, water is a good thing and we should all drink it. Cheers!
  • Still my biggest challenge. I hate drinking water. It's good for making coffee and has no other purpose to me. I keep a full glass by the sink, another by the computer and another in the bathroom. I now order it with meals. I still don't hit the magic 64 (8 ounces X 8) most days. I won't drink anything in the car - it's a distraction I don't need. I don't perspire and for some chemical imbalance I don't sweat anymore so I'm missing two critical factors that identify thirst which helps when you need to drink water. Any suggestions.
  • I use my insulated water bottle from my bicycle. It holds 3 cups of water. I drink at least 4 bottles a day. When I worked I carried a 1.5 liter canteen and it was always gone by lunch! Hardest part for me was getting in the habit of ordering water at restaurants... just kills me that water cost more than coke ha ha (Restaurants use bottled water as tap water is not potable in most of the Philippines.)
  • My water is with me everywhere I go. Love it! In my car, on my dresser before bed, throughout the day. I panic without it. No counting, because I know I get the right amount and over.
  • I absolutely agree about the swelling when not drinking enough water ! I hadn't been able to figure out why I am not as badly swollen now (Still am, but to the point of unreal pain). TA DA !! I have given UP soda (was drinking 6 to 8 cans of regular pepsi a day) and now there's only swelling in my lower legs and not as said it
  • So funny, I went to a Weight Watcher meeting yesterday and one member said she does the 8 penny thing! I thought it was a great idea. I wonder if she got it here!!
  • I've been working on this goal since Sept 2013 when I first joined SP. I failed to have any success until I used the 'penny method' similar to what was described in the article. It's still rare for me to get 8 glasses in but I am doing much better.
  • These reports work up a fear that otherwise healthy adults and children are walking around dehydrated, even that dehydration has reached epidemic proportions. That is not true. According to Rachel C Vreeman and Aaron E Carroll in an article labeled Medical Myths 2007,
    /7633/1288 that this is based on a 1945 recommendation that stated: "A suitable allowance of water for adults is 2.5 litres daily in most instances. An ordinary standard for diverse persons is 1 millilitre for each calorie of food. Most of this quantity is contained in prepared foods." Articles like this ignore the last sentence. You know your body, pay attention to it not other people's opinions.
  • As a former triathlete, I carry a matter bottle that holds 3 cups of liquid and it fits in the bottle holder on my bike. The top pulls out easily with my teeth or my hands! :D Water does re-hydrate a person. My new habit is to drink 5 bottles worth of water during the daytime. i stop drinking after 9pm.
  • I don't count anything but water for hydration. I think I'm getting enough.

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