Dropping excess weight can be very tricky, but fortunately turning to good old H2O can help you meet your weight-loss goals. Drinking water throughout the day curbs your appetite, helping you eat less and further aiding in your weight-loss efforts. But getting enough water doesn’t just help you regulate how much you eat, it also helps you digest it properly as well. To be clear, you cannot rely on water alone, as you still need to eat healthy and fit in regular exercise.
Water is a vital part of any health, diet and exercise program, not to mention life in general, because it aids every aspect of bodily function. Water is a huge component of muscle and is important for energy production, so if you want to make the most of your workout, make sure you’re always well hydrated. There is no real one-size-fits-all approach to water consumption, but I can provide you with some really great guidelines to help you make an assessment of what you need.
Calculating How Much Water You Need
A great way to calculate how much water you should drink in day, is to take your weight and divide by 2. This will give you the number of fluid ounces you should drink. So if you weigh 140 pounds divide that by 2, which leaves 70. So you would need to drink 70 ounces of water per day.
Exercise & Water Consumption
If you exercise or engage in any activity that makes you sweat, you need to drink extra water to compensate for that fluid loss. Drink 12 ounces of water two hours before a workout, and another 12 ounces 30 minutes before you begin. While you are exercising, you should drink 4 to 8 ounces every 15 minutes. You should consume an additional 12 ounces within 30 minutes of the end of your workout. During intense exercise involving significant sweating — say, during a marathon — you may need a sports drink or coconut water rather than plain water, to replace the sodium lost in sweat.
Environment & Water Consumption
In hot or humid weather, you need to drink additional water to help lower your body temperature and to replace what you lose through sweating. You also need additional water in cold weather if you sweat while wearing insulated clothing. Heated indoor air can cause your skin to lose moisture, increasing your necessary daily fluid requirement. Additionally, altitudes higher than 2,500 meters (8,200 feet) can affect how much water your body needs. Higher altitudes can trigger increased urination and more rapid breathing, which use up more fluid reserves.
Drinking Water For Weight Loss
Drinking plenty of water can help you lose weight and/or maintain a healthy weight. According to physician nutrition specialist Dr. Melina Jampolis, staying hydrated helps keep your metabolism operating at an optimal level. It can also help your body accurately distinguish hunger and thirst, which are two separate signals the brain reacts to similarly. If you drink water before meals and with meals, you can satisfy your body’s need for hydration and eat fewer total calories as a side effect.
According to two studies, drinking 500 ml (17 oz) of water can temporarily boost metabolism by 24-30%.
The top line below shows how 500 ml of water increased metabolism (EE – Energy Expenditure). You can see how the effect diminishes before the 90 minute mark.
The researchers estimate that drinking 2 liters (68 ounces) in one day can increase energy expenditure by about 96 calories per day. It may be best to drink cold water for this purpose, because then the body will need to expend energy (calories) to heat the water to body temperature.
Best Times To Drink Water
It’s not just how much water you drink each day, but also when you drink it that can be very helpful. Before you sit down to a meal, have a couple glasses of water. Filling your belly with two 8-ounce glasses of water about 20 to 30 minutes before your meal makes you feel full. Because you’ll feel a little less hungry you’ll wind up consuming roughly 75 to 90 fewer calories at that sitting. Do this three times per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and you’ll cut 225 to 270 calories from your daily diet.
Drinking water about a half hour before meals can also reduce the amount of calories people end up consuming, especially in older individuals. One study showed that dieters who drank 500 ml of water before meals lost 44% more weight over a period of 12 weeks, compared to those who didn’t.
Overall, it seems that drinking adequate water (especially before meals) may have a significant weight loss benefit, especially when combined with a healthy diet.
What Else Counts Towards Water Intake?
There are plenty of hidden sources of water you can add to your diet. Certain beverages, as well as the moisture content of foods, also count toward your daily water intake. Fruits are an excellent source for water. Watermelon is 90% water, so it ranks highest on the list, but some other items that work well are oranges, grapefruit, and melons like cantaloupe and honeydew are also strong contenders.
Vegetables, though not as rich in water as fruit, can also become a nutrient-rich water source. Stick with celery, cucumbers, tomatoes, green peppers, and Romaine lettuce. Coffee and tea also count in your tally. Many used to believe that they were dehydrating, but that myth has been debunked. The diuretic effect does not offset hydration. If you don’t like the taste of plain water, add some lemon to it. Or try sparkling water with raspberries, strawberries, pomegranate juice or just add a sprig of mint.
Alcohol is a huge dehydrator, so you should try to limit your intake, but if you are going to raise a glass, aim for at least a one-to-one ratio with water.