You have probably all seen it at some point. Those “body builder types” in the gym lugging around their gallon jugs of water, and thinking…’Why does anyone need THAT much water?”. I have thought the same thing myself. I have gone even further in my contemplation and thought…HOW do they drink all that water and not be in the restroom all day! Of course, I do have the bladder of a door mouse, but that is beside the point.
So, why is it that water consumption plays such a significant role in weight loss? If you have read any diet books or completed any sort of cleanse you know that one of the main ingredients is water consumption, and more specifically hydration. The reason is multidimensional but I want to share with you a few of the key reasons why water and weight loss go hand in hand.
First and foremost our bodies require water for basic survival. Our bodies are made up of 55-75% water. We can survive weeks without food, but only three days without water. If we deprive our bodies of the primary source of fuel, not only will performance suffer but we are leaving ourselves prone to sickness, and potentially fatal circumstances when taken to the extreme.
Though not a fail safe method to weight loss, there is significant research to support that drinking more water, especially with your meal, can decrease hunger and lead to smaller portions and less cravings. Water is not a long term diet solution, but in some cases it can help to fill you up and leave you less likely to overindulge.
Fat Burning Catalyst.
Water is the catalyst for a significant number of bodily functions, one of which is helping the liver metabolize fat. Without sufficient water, our bodies cannot move fuel through the cells and promote the breakdown of fat stores in the body.
Our muscles are like a living organism. They need water to grow and to survive. When we consume glucose (sugar/carbs), water acts as a catalyst for the storage of glucose as glycogen. Without water, our muscles will not “fill up” as efficiently, leaving them flat and less able to perform at an advanced capacity.
How much water do you need?
Most sport science institutes and organizations have slightly varied formulas. The most common is based on body weight and activity level. We can lose lbs of water weight in a high intensity exercise session. So, when you are considering how much water your body needs, you must also consider how much water you are losing through perspiration (That’s Sweat!), urination, and simply breathing (think of seeing your breath on a cold day…this is humidified air leaving the body). A good rule of thumb is to drink one half your bodyweight in ounces. So, a 150 lb. person should be consuming 75 oz. of water a day. If you are less active this may be a bit less for you.
Can I drink too much water?
Absolutely. Too much of anything is unhealthy. Everything has its limitations and moderation scale. You cannot melt fat away by downing gallons of water a day. Your body has a threshold, and you need to understand and respond to that. Calculate your water needs, consider exercise and other potential diuretics that may increase that need (caffeine, alcohol, medications, etc), but use water in moderation and responsibly! The results will be profound.