Of course, as an exercise professional, I’m going to tell you to exercise for numerous reasons…
Yet, if you won’t or can’t and you want to boost weight loss, there is a simple way to be sure your body can lose weight by other means…
But if you’re already exercising and still not seeing the results you think you should, this same simple trick may be what you need to get you over that edge, too.
What is “it?”
Be sure you’re hydrated. That sounds simple enough but it’s easy to overlook or ignore the signals your body sends that it’s thirsty. And that can get worse as you age…
The hypothalamus center of the brain controls how a person perceives thirst. Mature adults may begin to fail to perceive they are thirsty and their health can suffer.
The most direct way to hydrate is drinking water. Below I’ll share some other methods of increasing your hydration level. First, though, I’ll share the reasons why hydration is so important based on a recent study published in Frontiers in Nutrition.
Diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease are all influenced by hydration status. But even mild chronic dehydration is associated with obesity.
That means the simple act of drinking more water may not only help you look better in those jeans, but enhance your disease-free longevity.
Two reasons cited in the study for weight loss associated with hydration:
- Decreased feeding
- Increased lipolysis
It’s not news that we often confuse fatigue, dehydration and hunger. We humans tend to eat more often than not when we’re not sure what the signal is we’re getting.
When we experience a state of low energy, naturally we seek something to boost it. Better hydration, specifically by drinking water, results in less frequent eating by better awareness of true hunger signals.
In many weight loss programs it’s recommended you drink a glass of water before a meal. This was definitely the case in many of the studies reviewed. There is a pronounced reduction of caloric intake when water ingestion precedes a meal.
This is the exciting part. Your body can breakdown fat better when it’s hydrated. So it isn’t that water increases fat burning, but it removes the obstacle of “inhibited ability” to burn fat which occurs when you’re dehydrated.
You also can boost your insulin sensitivity by being more hydrated. That is, your body will store less fat. The combination of each of these ultimately can help increase your metabolism, particularly one that’s been slowed by dehydration.
Obstacles to drinking more
The first biggest reason listed for not drinking enough water is lack of awareness of the benefits.
But let’s say this article reminded you of the importance of hydration and you’re already here… well aware of the health benefits. There’s another reason older adults don’t drink enough…
You’ll have to use the restroom more.
It’s true, temporarily at least, that you might. However, a solution to that is to ramp up your water intake gradually. Don’t jump from two glasses of water a day consumed mostly to wash down meals to eight glasses a day. Find your typical average and then increase your water intake by no more than a cup more daily and stick with that for a week. Split that evenly by increasing by a half a glass more in the morning and half a glass more in the afternoon.
Dislike for the taste of water is another reason given for not drinking enough water. Browse through the list below for some easy ways to bump up your hydration.
Tips to increase daily hydration (and ultimately weight loss):
- Start with a glass. Commit to drinking a glass first thing in the morning.
- Drink a glass before each meal. Not only will this potentially reduce the amount of food you eat at the meal, but it will interfere less with digestion than consuming excess water at your meals.
- Enjoy more soup. Start meals with a clear broth-based soup. It can be bone broth alone or a veggie soup made with broth or water.
- Eat more “watery” foods. Vegetables, fruits, even cooking your rice more can increase the amount of water you take in at meals.
- Add ice to your smoothies.
- Mark a water bottle and keep it with you so you have a visual reminder. Instead of marking with ounces, mark it with the time of day you want the water line at specific points.
- Flavor your water with frozen berries, a squeeze of citrus fruit, and or a few drops of stevia to make it more appealing. Try this recipe for watermelon agua fresca…
How much should you drink?
Drinking six to eight glasses of water per day is “recommended” for adults … but by whom? That’s an oft-repeated phrase, but there’s no proof that this was ever shown to be effective by anyone.
The real advice from doctors in the know is to drink enough fluid so that it is in excess of your thirst. Which is a fancy medical way of saying don’t get thirsty in the first place, and drink more than you think you need to.
Equally important is limiting dehydrating foods and drinks like sugar, alcohol and caffeine, to help keep you well-hydrated.