Feeling hungry? You could just be thirsty! Learn 5 ways to drink more water for maximum weight loss, without carrying a jug around all day long or spending all day in the bathroom.
You know that water is important for weight loss, yet you hate guzzling water all day long or maybe you forget to drink more throughout the day. Unless you live in the desert or are a hard-core endurance athlete, you probably find it fairly easy to avoid water, unless you feel especially thirsty on a hot summer day.
Unfortunately, most of us don’t really know when we are thirsty! If you struggle with your weight, you may be struggling with identifying when you’re hungry, and thirst may masquerade as hunger.
That is why I will share with you 5 ways to drink more, even if you don’t like water, don’t have patience for tracking your intake, or consistently struggle with understanding how much water you need to drink to benefit from weight loss.
First of all, our bodies are made up of 60% percent water. This water serves a critical function that has NOTHING to do with weight loss.
Everyday Health shares that your body uses water in all its cells, organs, and tissues to help regulate its temperature and maintain other bodily functions. Because your body loses water through breathing, sweating, and digestion, it’s important to rehydrate by drinking fluids and eating foods that contain water.
What does water have to do with weight loss? Before I start sharing scientific studies on this phenomenon, let me share my own personal experiences with this.
Back in 2001, I knew I wanted to start what would probably be a very long weight loss journey. Being the poor college student I was, I didn’t have a lot of cash flow to help me get there. Even with my limited knowledge of nutrition, I knew that my daily diet soda habit probably wasn’t helping my goals.
One of the first lifestyle changes I made in that first month was cutting out all drinks except for water and occasionally milk.
What do you think happened as a result? I dropped 20 pounds in one month!
That doesn’t guarantee that you will see such results- after all, I was easily 100 pounds overweight, which means I was probably retaining a lot of water. I also took the step of starting a food journal that month.
However, I know that replacing all of my kool-aid and soda with water was the right thing for me.
Now, on to the studies!
Authority Nutrition quoted a study of overweight women that increasing water intake to over 1 liter (34 oz) per day resulted in an extra 2 kg (4.4 lbs) of weight loss over a 12-month period.
A study conducted on 10,000 adults aged 18 to 64 found a correlation between high BMI and dehydration. Here are details of that study.
Water can do so much more than improve your chances of slimming down, such as preventing migraines, improving your skin, and increasing athletic performance.
Yet, none of those studies are helpful to the busy women that I frequently work with.
The biggest frustration many women have is not why water is important for weight loss, but how to drink more of it joyfully. And, how much is “enough”?
Are you in that boat?
Let’s look at how you can tell you are drinking enough water.
Some people say 8 glasses a day, or break it down into how many ounces per pound you weigh.
If you have read any of my articles before, you KNOW that I strongly dislike numbers. Whether those numbers are calories, carbs, points, or ounces. (Sorry to all the statisticians out there).
The BEST way to determine if you’re drinking enough water takes just 5 seconds to verify. All you have to do is look at the color of your pee.
- If your pee is light yellow like lemonade, congrats! You are doing great with water.
- If your pee is dark yellow like apple juice, you might need some extra sips throughout the day.
Believe it or not, the color of your pee will tell you WAY more than any scientific study or random measurement you find on the Internet. Trust your own body.
I once had a woman tell me that she doesn’t want to drink more water, because it meant she would have to have more frequent bathroom breaks. As a busy women entrepreneur, she didn’t want to sacrifice the precious working time she was able to carve out in her day.Um, well, if you have time to breathe and to work, you have time to drink water and to pee. Just saying. @cnn… Click To Tweet
OK, so now you know the benefits of drinking water, how to tell whether you’re drinking enough water, and now it’s time to figure out how you can enjoy more water without tracking every sip you make, or replacing your daily wine glass with some H20.
Here are 5 Ways to Drink More Water
- Drink Tastier Water
Water isn’t very exciting, is it? Even if you savor a tall, frosty glass of ice water after a workout, that may not inspire you to chug tepid water while your friends are chatting over margaritas.
Have you tried making your water more appealing? Before you jump onto the “flavored” water train, STOP! While flavored water sales account for 30% of all bottled water consumption per the Telegraph, many of these waters are sugar bombs.
Instead of opting for expensive and not-so-healthy water mix-ins, try using fresh fruit to infuse your water with natural flavor. A fruit infuser bottle or pitcher costs WAY less than a single bottle of flavored water, and can be reused over and over. Check out some fun water infusion ideas at Reader’s Digest.
2. Before and After
This is a trick not commonly known to everyone, but can help with controlling overeating. Did you know that drinking one full glass of water before and after a meal can help with weight loss? This is a trick I borrowed from a friend who had weight loss surgery, and also from my Indian relatives.
To really use this to your advantage, don’t drink while you are eating your meal. You may wonder, how is this helping with drinking more? Well, if you ditch a calorie-laden beverage while you are eating, and do the full glass before and after, you are already doing your body a favor (and getting 2 extra cups of water at least twice a day).
3. Keep a Bottle Handy
You won’t drink water if you don’t have ready access to it. Therefore, I highly recommend carrying a water bottle around with you. You might already do this during the hot summer months, at least for your kids, but you should also commit to doing this for yourself.
When I was working a day job, I kept a full water bottle on my desk at all times. Now, that I work at home, I use more advanced techniques, since I rarely sit still for more than 2 hours at a time (see next tip)
Note: if you road trip a lot, keep a package of bottled water in your car, or a small cooler filled with water. Your body thanks you.
4. Sip from a Straw
Do you wonder how restaurants encourage you not just to drink more, but also to eat more? Well, they give you straws to drink from.
There are several ways to straws encourage you to drink more. First, you drink more liquid and less oxygen when sipping through a straw. Second, if you use a transparent bottle, you are able to visualize your water intake more easily. Third, sucking actually soothes you, thanks to your early days of drinking from a bottle or breast.
5. Download an App
In our tech-obsessed world, I would be remiss not to mention that convenience of an app. However, there is only one app I recommend to my clients. In fact, one of my clients found great success using this particular app, which is completely free.
(I suspect it has to do with women’s natural urge to nurture).
Downloaded over 8m times, the Plant Nanny is my preferred way to “track” water intake. The reason is simple- if you don’t drink the set amount of water, you are literally killing a plant.
If that’s not motivating, I’m not sure what is.
Keep the plant alive by reaching your daily water goals. Plus, enjoy “caring” for a plant, even if you’re not a green thumb or don’t have plants or kids. This might be therapeutic if you have had some previous experiences with killing plants as well…(raises hand).
What are your top ways to drink more water for weight loss? I would love to hear your comments on how water has helped you either lose weight or maintain it for the long haul. Share away!