Drinking Water Really is the Key to Weight Loss by Maia Appleby
Don't roll your eyes! The potion for losing that excess body fat is all around you. It covers two thirds of the planet. If you eat right and exercise at the intensity, frequency and duration proper for you, but still can't get rid of a little paunch here and there, you're probably just not drinking enough water.
No need to get defensive. You're actually quite normal. Most people don't drink enough water. Most people are also carrying around a few more pounds than they would be if they did drink enough water. If you can't seem to get that weight off, try drowning your sorrows in nature's magical weight-loss mineral. It works, and here's why:
"What on Earth is 'metabolism', anyway?" People use the term all the time, but ask them what it means and you'll get all kinds of answers. Merriam Webster defines it as, "The process by which a substance is handled in the body." A little vague, but that's really all it means.
There are many forms of metabolism going on in your body right now, but the one everyone is talking about it the metabolism of fat. This is actually something that the liver does when it converts stored fat to energy. The liver has other functions, but this is one of its main jobs. Unfortunately, another of the liver's duties is to pick up the slack for the kidneys, which need plenty of water to work properly. If the kidneys are water-deprived, the liver has to do their work along with its own, lowering its total productivity. It then can't metabolize fat as quickly or efficiently as it could when the kidneys were pulling their own weight. If you allow this to happen, not only are you being unfair to your liver, but you're also setting yourself up to store fat. Do you want to be a fat-storer? If not, say this every day until you're well-established in the water habit: "I'm a fat-burner, not a fat-storer!" Pound your fists on the table as you say it.
"I've tried it and I couldn't stand it!" The problem is that, though many decide to increase their water intake, very few stick with it. It's understandable. During the first few days of drinking more water than your body is accustomed to, you're running to the bathroom constantly. This can be very discouraging, and it can certainly interfere with an otherwise normal day at work. It seems that the water is coming out just as fast as it's going in, and many people decide that their new hydration habit is fruitless.
Do take heed , though. What is really happening is that your body is flushing itself of the water it has been storing throughout all those years of "survival mode". It takes a while, but this is a beautiful thing happening to you. As you continue to give your body all the water it could ask for, it gets rid of what it doesn't need. It gets rid of the water it was holding onto in your ankles and your hips and thighs, maybe even around your belly. You are excreting much more than you realize. Your body figures it doesn't need to save these stores anymore; it's trusting that the water will keep coming, and if it does, eventually, the flushing (of both the body and the potty) will cease, allowing the human to return to a normal life. It's true. This is called the "breakthrough point."
One recent finding, as irresponsible as it may be, that caffeine increases the body's fat-burning potential has many people loading up on coffee before going to the gym. This finding may hold some degree of truth in it, but caffeine is, in essence, a diuretic, and diuretics dehydrate. Caffeine may increase the heart rate, causing a few more calories to be burned, but this is at the expense of the muscles, which need water to function properly. This isn't doing your heart any favors, either. It's already working hard enough during your workout. Never mix caffeine and exercise. In fact, your best bet is to stay away from caffeine all together. It's a big bully that pushes your friend water out of your system.
Water is the best beauty treatment. You've heard this since high school, and it's true. Water will do wonders for your looks! It flushes out impurities in your skin, leaving you with a clear, glowing complexion. It also makes your skin look younger. Skin that is becoming saggy, either due to aging or weight loss, plumps up very nicely when the skin cells are hydrated.
In addition, it improves muscle tone. You can lift weights until you're blue in the face, but if your muscles are suffering from a drought, you won't notice a pleasant difference in your appearance. Muscles that have all the water they need contract more easily, making your workout more effective, and you'll look much nicer than if you had flabby muscles under sagging skin.
"Eight glasses a day? Are you kidding?!" It's really not that much. Eight 8-ounce glasses amount to about two quarts of water. This is okay for the average person, but if you're overweight, you should drink another eight ounces for every 25 pounds of excess weight you carry. You should also up this if you live in a hot climate or exercise very intensely. To get a more individualized water prescription, check out AQUASANA's hydration calculator.
This water consumption should be spread out throughout the day. It's not healthy at all to drink too much water at one time. Try to pick three or four times a day when you can have a big glass of water, and then sip in between. Don't let yourself get thirsty. If you feel thirsty, you're already becoming dehydrated. Drink when you're not thirsty yet.
Do you think water is yucky? Drinking other fluids will certainly help hydrate your body, but the extra calories, sugar, additives and whatever else aren't what you need. Try a slice of lemon or lime in the glass, or if you really think you hate water, try a flavored water. Just make sure you read the labels. Remember that you're going to be consuming a lot of this fluid.
It's probably a good idea to stop drinking water a good three hours before you go to bed. You know why.
"How cold should it be?" This is debatable. Most experts lean toward cold water, because the stomach absorbs it more quickly. There is also some evidence that cold water might enhance fat burning.
On the other hand, warmer water is easier to drink in large quantities, and you might drink more of it without even realizing it. Do whatever suits you, here. Just drink it!
When you drink all the water you need, you will very quickly notice a decrease in your appetite, possibly even on the first day! If you're serious about becoming leaner and healthier, drinking water is an absolute must. If you're doing everything else right and atill not seeing results, this might just be the missing link.
Maia Appleby is a certified personal trainer and weight loss consultant at a fitness center in south Florida. For more of her articles, along with weight loss and fitness tips, news and resources, visit her website: Inch-Aweigh.