Weight Loss Tips: How much water should I drink?

Okay folks, here it is – the number-one-all-time-absolute-best-tip for anyone trying to lose weight is…drum roll please!

Drink more water.

That’s it.

Seriously.

A few years ago I accidentally, on purpose, overheard a conversation at the gym (I love eaves dropping!).  While chatting with a trainer, a woman half heartedly complained that she had been working out for a year but had only shed a pound and a half.

It was phrased like she was baiting the trainer. None the less, her confession caught my attention big time. A long list of questions immediately sprang into my own mind. I tried to look involved with my stretches but listened intently to how the trainer would respond. Like a pro she took the comment in stride and began quizzing the member on a few basic healthy habits.

At this point I don’t remember the exact exchange so I’ll paraphrase:

Trainer: “Are you drinking enough water?
Member: “Oh no. I don’t drink very much water.”
Trainer: “You might consider increasing the amount of water you are drinking. It helps your body to flush out all the bad stuff.”
Member: “Well, I’m not too worried, because I don’t abuse my liver…”

I think my mouth fell open a bit when I heard her explanation. “I don’t abuse my liver.” I started thinking about all the things that go into my body that my organs have to sift out and expel because they have no nutrients, or are potentially harmful to my health. On my list were air pollution, pesticides on food, chemical additives, alcohol and caffeine, and more. Many things go into our bodies on a daily basis, whether we knowingly ingest them or not.

I lost track of the conversation when I headed out to finish my workout. I spent the rest of the hour thinking about the importance of water to weight loss and overall good health.

Add slices of fruit, vegetables, or herbs to water to make a refreshing (calorie free) beverage

Personally, I try to stay well hydrated. Over the years I have gotten pretty sensitive to the need to drink water throughout the day. Our family stash of water bottles is substantial – read: they fall on our heads when we open the cabinet. We try to keep one, per person, handy at all times. I also keep a bottle or large glass on my desk.

Drinking water helps me feel better physically and I know it helps me to function better.

A few reasons I keep well hydrated:

  • My body eliminates waste more efficiently
  • My skin stays in better condition – dewy and youthful(ish)
  • I have more energy
  • I can better identify when I am truly hungry
  • Some cravings are reduced when I am fully hydrated.
  • In my mind it just makes sense to drink plenty of water.

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard people say, they just can’t bring themselves to drink water. Common complaints included, water is too plain or they are addicted to diet soda and just won’t drink anything else. In person I try to appear sensitive and keep my sarcastic sighs to myself. But really people – REALLY? Your body needs water to function.

As for plain – that excuse is easy to overcome!

If you find plain water dull - add some bubbles!

Simple ways to give your water pitcher some pizazz:

  • Add slices of favorite fruits or vegetables. Try single flavors or combinations. Start with cucumber, lemon, orange, lime, mint leaves, pomegranate seeds, or berries.
  • Mix in a zero calorie flavoring. Crystal Lite or similar products taste more like juice. Start with the mix at full strength. Over a couple of weeks increase the amount of water until you just need a little pinch to feel like it is no longer plain water. Different brands use different sweeteners, check the labels if you are concerned.
  • Boost the fun factor with carbonated water. Make sure the label shows zero calories and zero added ingredients. Add a slice of fruit for a great alternative to diet soda. – Also try ordering soda water with lime or lemon in a restaurant you can pretend you are at a spa!
  • Drink herbal tea – hot or cold, tea comes in many varieties. Find a few you like and drink up!

Truthfully, pretty much all caffeine free, non-alcoholic fluids are going to increase your hydration, but I would encourage people to consider making it a goal to reach for water most often. In fact, I tell all my new clients to get a water bottle they like and glue it to their hand. It doesn’t hurt to keep one in the car either.

Keep in mind – most people should aim for 6-8, 8 ounce servings of water per day. Considering, you probably drink from cups or bottles that hold more like 12 – 16 ounces of fluid, this is only about 3-4 glasses of water. You can easily fit in a glass before breakfast, a glass before dinner, and a bottle during the day. Add a cup of tea in there somewhere and you have met your goal!

Man, I wish all my weight loss goals were that easy to knock out on a daily basis!

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