If you pick up one habit early on in your program that will make a major difference in your weight loss, this is it.
The list of benefits of water is so long, you’d think people were selling it as an 18th-century miracle tonic. There is evidence that fully hydrated bodies have higher metabolisms and can burn fat at a faster rate than thirsty, dry bodies. Water also helps you:
Look and feel fresher
Have more energy
Think more clearly
When you drink more water, and your body gets used to it, you ironically store less water. Seems that your body needs to trust that it’ll continue to get plenty of the good stuff, otherwise it’ll hold onto what little water it does receive. Less water means less weight. Early on, losing several pounds – even if it’s water weight – can be a huge motivator.
A healthy diet should NOT rely on fluids to provide calorie or nutrient needs, but water is necessary for metabolism and normal physiological function. In fact, water is the only fluid that the body truly needs. How much water do you need? Most people need about 8 cups every day, but active people usually need to drink more. Remember that water can come from lots of different sources--even foods contain the water that your body needs!
Fresh fruits and veggies are tremendous sources of water. Fruit juices, milk, teas and decaf coffee also count. Watch out for caffeinated beverages. Caffeine can actually increase your need for more water; so a lot of caffeinated coffee or soda may do more harm than good.
Relying on thirst is not a good strategy. By the time the brain signals thirst, you’re already dehydrated. If you’re working out, by the time you’re thirsty, your performance can drop 5-10%. The idea is to stay consistently hydrated for optimal performance and weight loss. Seesawing between hydration and thirst can hold you back. Again, your body needs to know that it’ll get what it needs all the time; otherwise it’ll store some back.
Find the water bottles with pop tops. They’re easier to carry around and use than twist-off caps.
Keep a water bottle in the car.
Take a water break instead of a smoke break at work.
Have a rule with your water glass: once it’s empty, it gets filled back up right away.
Drink orange juice or eat fruit in the morning.
Get two water bottles, one for work and one for home. Fill up one every day when you leave to go home, and fill up the other before you go to bed each night.
Order water at restaurants instead of soda. Even if you have something else to drink, have water too.
Weekends are the toughest, so be aware of your water and fluid intake throughout Saturday and Sunday. Keep more than one water bottle in the fridge so you always have a cold one.
Follow the example of the SparkPeople member who put a water glass on her windowsill with 8 pennies on one side. Each time she filled up her glass and drank it, she moved a penny to the other side, until all the pennies were moved. Great reminder system!
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