Drink water to lose weightPublished 10:00pm Thursday, June 5, 2014
Man, do I love this country of ours, but we hold a number one ranking I’m not too proud of. We’re the world’s “obesity” champs.
That’s right. In 1997, 19.4 percent of all U.S. adults were considered obese; not just overweight. That number rose to 24.5% in 2004, 26.6% in 2007, 33.8% in 2008, and reached 35.7% by 2010, with 63.1 percent of all adults being at least overweight.
There are many strategies for losing body fat, but I’d like to share a simple one, you might never have thought of…Water. Drinking water helps us lose more body fat in several ways. First, we need proper blood volume to lose fat, because we lose it via the blood stream. Blood is 83% water, by volume, so if you’re dehydrated, you just won’t lose as much fat.
Think of it this way, let’s pretend there’s a train delivering coal every day to fuel a power plant. The train has 100 coal cars, but one day the train leaves the station with only 50 coal cars. That means the train only delivers half its usual coal supply that day.
Well, that train is much like your blood stream. Those coal cars represent your blood’s water content, and that power plant is like your liver that burns fat (coal) for energy. So remember, if your blood volume is low, your body can’t burn as much fat. Water is also a great appetite suppressant. Drinking a couple of glasses before each meal will help you feel fuller, so you’ll tend to eat less. Remember too, that muscle is 70 to 75 percent water, so if you’re dehydrated it’s like running on flat tires, and remember, you’re heart’s a muscle too.
Your muscles won’t look as good if you’re dehydrated, because they won’t be nice and toned, tight, and shapely; they’ll tend to sag.
Drinking cold water increases fat loss, because your body has to burn calories to heat the water you drink to your body’s normal temperature. Drinking water also helps inhibit “vasopressin” release.
Vasopressin is a hormone that reduces your body’s thermogenesis (heat production) which in turn, slows metabolism, and makes you retain fluid. So not only does drinking more water increase your metabolism, but for those of you who tend to retain fluid, drinking more water may be the solution.
When I do nutritional consultations I normally ask if the individually drinks much water. If they say “yes”, I ask them if they are often thirsty. Almost every time they will respond “yes.”
I’ll then ask if they know someone who does not drink much water. If they do, I ask if that person is often thirsty. Most every time, they’ll say “no”. Doesn’t that seem backward? You’d think if one drank lots of water, they wouldn’t be thirsty and vice versa. It doesn’t work that way, and here’s why.
Our bodies can’t tell the difference between what we choose to do, or have to do, so when we consciously choose not to drink much water, our body just thinks water is not available. This in turn, causes our brain’s thirst mechanism to shut down.
When we drink lots of water, our body tells our brain we can afford to be thirsty, because water is available. If you don’t like to drink water (by the way, adding lemon juice to water is really healthy, and makes it more palatable), try this. Make yourself chug a big glass of cool water, wait 30 minutes, and do it again.
Soon you’ll be thirsty. That’s one way to start loving water. There are a few cautions associated with drinking water. First, drinking too much at one time is very dangerous. If you were to drink 2 gallons in one sitting, it could kill you by making your brain swell. Drinking too much water throughout the day can also flush out electrolytes like magnesium, calcium, potassium, chloride, and sodium.
Electrolytes are minerals that carry electrical charges through our muscles, to help them contract properly, and losing too many could cause cramps. Taking a good vitamin/mineral supplement, and eating a variety of fruits and vegetables will help prevent this. Also, for those who suffer from acid reflux, drinking too much water can sometimes aggravate the condition by causing acid to rise up the esophagus.
Diet or exercise question? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit fitness4yourlife.org. David Crocker of Landrum has been a nutritionist and master personal trainer for 27 years.
He served as strength director for the Spartanburg Y.M.C.A., head strength coach for the USC-Spartanburg baseball team, S.C state champion girl’s gymnastic team, and the Converse college equestrian team. He served as a water safety consultant to the United States Marine Corps, lead trainer to L.H. Fields modeling agency, and taught four semesters at USC-Union. David was also a regular guest of the Pam Stone radio show.