We are all aware that water is an amazing, and often underestimated drink, but are you drinking enough?
Could dehydration be what's holding you back on your weight loss journey?
First let me explain that by dehydration I'm not just referring to extreme cases (like the images that pop in to your head when you think of dehydration); dehydration is actually simply put, when your body loses more fluid than it takes in.
When the normal water content of your body is reduced, it upsets the balance of minerals in your body, which affects the way your body functions.
Water makes up over two-thirds of the healthy human body. It lubricates the joints and eyes, aids digestion, flushes out waste and toxins and keeps the skin healthy. Because so much of your body is water, it can actually be affected even just by losing a small amount of water.
The problems experienced with severe dehydration obviously involve hospitalisation, but for this article I am referring to everyday dehydration that can occur simply by not quite
drinking as much as your body needs.
Being dehydrated can actually cause you to gain weight.
Water plays a key role in helping us to maintain a healthy weight by suppressing our appetite. Dehydration, however, can cause you to feel hungrier, which ultimately could result in a higher intake of calories.
Dehydration can even cause food cravings, because dehydration is often misinterpreted as hunger; so if you are craving sugar when you perhaps wouldn't normally, it could just mean that you are thirsty. When cravings occur frequently it can (obviously) lead to weight gain.
Adequate water intake decreases food cravings. In a University of Washington experiment, one glass of water eliminated midnight hunger pangs for nearly all of the dieters involved in the study...so next time you feel hungry in between meals, drink a glass of water rather than immediately reaching for any food.
It's also good practise to get in to the habit of drinking a glass of water before meals; that way you will know that you have satisfied any "thirst hunger", and when you begin to eat, you are purely fulfilling your actual hunger.
The recommended daily water intake for women is 1.6 litres, and for men, 2 litres. This is the recommended amount because it is estimated on the average body size (if such a thing exists) and various other aspects.
This amount will vary from person to person though depending on a variety of factors; such as their body size, temperature and how active they are, as sweat deducts a large amount of water from the body.
Being fully hydrated not only allows your body to function to its full potential, but it can also improve your workout, because being fully hydrated regulates the body’s temperature and helps the muscles to work well, which in turn leads to a more productive workout.
Water intake directly affects energy levels, and the higher your energy levels, the easier it is to stay active...and workout.
Your metabolism is also affected by water, as by keeping your body hydrated, it is able to operate at optimum levels. Dehydration, however, does the opposite; severe dehydration can actually slow your metabolism.
Dehydration causes the body to store toxins in fat cells. The body will not release the fat until it is adequately hydrated to safely remove the toxins, so by keeping your body adequately hydrated you are actually allowing it to detox itself.
If you have read this article and figured that you are never dehydrated then please think again because, although very few of us have ever been severely dehydrated (as I mentioned earlier), dehydration occurs far more often than you may think.
Are you thirsty right now?
If you are feeling thirsty then you are already (ever so slightly) dehydrated.
Please don't freak out and think that you need to go to see the doctor; I'm just talking about your body's way of telling you that you are running slightly low on fluid, and need more water.
If you are struggling to lose weight, think about your daily fluid intake. Could that be what's hindering your efforts?
If dehydration isn't what's affecting your weight loss, then check out my recent post about why you're not losing weight