Incredible as it may seem, water is quite possibly the single most important catalyst in losing weight and keeping it off. Although most of us take it for granted, water is an essential ingredient for permanent weight loss. Water suppresses the appetite naturally and helps the body metabolize stored fat. The kidneys can’t function properly without enough water. When they don’t work to capacity, some of their load is dumped onto the liver.
One of the liver’s primary functions is to metabolize stored fat into usable energy for the body. But, if the liver has to do some of the kidney’s work, it can’t operate at full throttle. As a result, it metabolizes less fat, more fat remains stored in the body and weight loss slows.
Your weight loss and sense of well-being are affected by the amounts of fluids you drink! Every day you lose water through your breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. For your body to function properly, you must replenish its water supply by consuming beverages and foods that contain water.
Lack of water can lead to dehydration, which means you don’t have enough water in your body to carry out normal functions. Symptoms of dehydration can include fatigue, headaches, rapid heartbeat, light-headedness or dizziness, lack of energy, muscle weakness, dry mouth, eyes and lips. You may have less urine and dark-colored, cloudy, or strong-smelling urine. When you have fever, vomiting or diarrhea, your body loses additional fluids. You need extra fluids also if you exercise briskly and when the weather is hot and dry.
Drinking enough water also helps treat fluid retention. When the body gets too little water, it perceives this as a threat to survival and begins to hold on to every drop. Water is stored in extracellular spaces (outside the cells). This shows up as swollen feet, legs and hands.
Diuretics offer a temporary solution at best. They force out stored water along with some essential nutrients. Again, the body perceives a threat and will replace the lost water at the first opportunity. Thus, the condition quickly returns.
The best way to overcome the problem of water retention is to give your body what it needs — plenty of water. Only then will stored water be released.
If you have a constant problem with water retention, excess salt may be to blame. Your body will tolerate sodium only in a certain concentration. The more salt you eat, the more water your system retains to dilute it.
Getting rid of some unneeded salt is easy – check and adjust your food intake–then just drink more water. As it’s forced through the kidneys, it takes away excess sodium.
Water helps to maintain proper muscle tone by aiding muscle’s natural ability to contract and by preventing dehydration. It also helps to prevent the sagging skin that usually follows weight loss — shrinking cells are buoyed by water, which plumps the skin and leaves it clear, healthy and resilient.
Water helps rid the body of waste. During weight loss, the body has a lot more waste to get rid of – all that metabolized fat must be shed. Again, adequate water helps flush out the waste.
Water can help relieve constipation. When the body gets too little water, it siphons what it needs from internal sources. The colon is one primary source. Result? Constipation. But, when a person drinks enough water, normal bowel function usually returns.
The overweight person needs more water than the thin one. Larger people have larger metabolic loads. Since we know that water is the key to fat metabolism, it follows that the overweight person needs more water to help lose or maintain the weight.
How much water is enough? On the average, a person should drink eight 8-ounce glasses every day. That’s about 2 quarts. Some authorities recommend dividing the body weight by two, then drinking that many ounces! That’s a lot for most of us! It is important that you get enough fluid that you urinate regularly, about every two to three hours, and that your urine is light yellow, straw colored. If it isn’t, or if you feel ill, speak with your doctor or dietitian, or other trusted advisers about it.
The amount you drink also should be increased if you exercise briskly or if the weather is hot and dry. Water should preferably be cold — it’s absorbed into the system more quickly than warm water.
When the body gets the water it needs to function optimally, its fluids are well balanced. When this happens, you have reached the “breakthrough point.” What does this mean?
– Endocrine-gland function improves.
– Fluid retention is improved as stored water is lost.
– More fat is used as fuel because the liver is free to metabolize stored fat.
– Natural thirst returns.
– Natural brain function returns – the fog is lifted.
– Skin may be softer and smoother
On a daily basis, create a pattern to distribute your fluid intake evenly through the day, and to have fluids at times convenient for you. You do not have to drink only water. Find fluids you enjoy; you may also choose seltzer, flavored seltzer, sparkling water, or decaffeinated herbal teas. Try iced herbal teas; they come in many flavors; vary the fluids you drink, use cups or bottles that please you, and create a way of maintaining your fluid intake that works for you.
You may add other healthy options for a little pizazz in your water. Fresh fruits, veggies, and even herbs help add a punch of flavor naturally without adding calories. Here are a few other ideas: lemon or lime slices, chunks of watermelon or pineapple, sliced grapes or berries, cucumber slices plus a sprig of mint, grated ginger, or cinnamon sticks. Just don’t use more than ¼ serving of the fruits.
I hope you enjoy this wonderful summer month without dehydration or other food problems, and with a strong and satisfying recovery program. As always, be welcome to call if you have questions; share this with others, and we still are looking for the owner of the green sweater and the person who left her scale! Please call if you want them back.
Blessings to you,