H2 Oh! Water and its role in well-being and weight loss
I’m not sure what the constant debate about drinking water is all about. It’s vital, important stuff that we need to get down our necks. I have met so many people over the years who have said that they can’t ‘stomach’ it or tell me that it’s boring. They would, I am told, rather swig pop or coffee and ok that is liquid, but it’s a liquid that has loads of other chemicals in that isn’t so good for us. Not that I am saying you shouldn’t drink things that you like, because what you put in your body is ultimately your choice, as it is mine.
Like many I forget to drink my requisite daily water. This is usually because I get absorbed in things and reach for hot chocolate (with water, not milk) instead.
Typically I start my day with hot water and lemon; then I migrate onto tea with lemon, peppermint tea or hot raw chocolate with homemade almond milk. In fact, I am a bit addicted to hot chocolate…
My peculiarity is that I can drink lots of water when I am driving. I take water with me on every journey and invariably want more, meaning I have to stop for a stretch and a wee. I think this has to do with my days on the road as a salesperson, when I found driving dehydrating.
Despite my good intentions, as I said I do forget, but I soon know that I am heading for dehydration. My mouth and fuzzy brain scream at me and I also feel ‘off kilter’. Even as I write this, I am gagging for water and I’ve already drunk 2 litres. It’s as if when I focus on water, my body finds a way to communicate to me. This communication requires action and I wonder as you sit reading this will your body and brain tell you to get up and take a drink? Mine did!
Weight loss and well-being
I’m not one for talking about weight loss; it’s not a favourite subject. I’ve learned that listening to my body, eating to suit me and staying hydrated enables my body to find it’s natural weight, promotes healing and provides me with a sense of well-being.
Over the years though I have done the usual suspects of dieting plans, none of which suited me. I know that dieting plans have moved on and if following a dieting regime helps you to get healthy, then that can only be a good thing. We are all different.
Dieting plans aside, what I do know is that water is good for the body and the brain.
Meet your brain
Let’s look at the human brain. It represents roughly 2% of the total body weight, approx. 75% water with 70% of the body’s glucose (an energy source) consumed by the brain. The brain is the only part of the body that is constantly active, which means that it has to take priority over the rest of the body for its needs.
To manage the body the brain needs a lot of energy, it needs the best source of glucose (we’ll talk about this another day) and water.
Noticing when your brain needs water
When the brain is thirsty, it will send out a plea for help, which we often mistake as hunger. Guess what? When this happens and we end up scoffing quick food fixes and more often than not become tired, irritable and energetically weak. Plus we subsequently eat more and ultimately put on weight. If only we have drunk water when we felt hungry.
The great news is that your brain will take the water that it needs and any excess is passed out of the body as urine, unlike food which could take an uninvited holiday on your hips.
Is your urine clear?
On the subject of urine, what colour should it be?
Simple isn’t it!!!!
As incredible as it may seem, water is quite possibly the most single important catalyst in losing weight, keeping it off and for promoting a sense of well-being. Simply, water suppresses the appetite and helps the body to metabolise stored fat, helps maintain good muscle tone, clears wastes and may even reduce constipation. No-one likes to be constipated do they?
How much water do you need?
There are many sites that will tell you that you ‘should’ drink at least 2 litres of water per day. This is a good starting point with allowances made for your lifestyle. If you exercise, you need more. If you live in a hot country, you need more. How much more will depend on your body (and a number of other variables), which you must listen to.
The more you listen to your body and recognise the signs that it wants water and not food the sooner you will find a balance and your body and brain will thank you.
On a final note, you can drink too much water and that’s not good either. Listen to your unique, incredible body and find the amount that suits you.
Top tips for getting water into your body
- Gradually introduce water by replacing one or two of your cups of coffee with a glass or water. You can also swap out your coffee with herbal tea to make the transition easier
- Buy a filter jug and drink a glass of water each time you go into the kitchen
- Fill a litre bottle of water from the filter jug and keep it by your desk, it will keep looking at you and will end up drinking it during the day. Set a water timer and drink when it goes off
- When you go to the coffee machine always have a cup of water as well
- Take a glass of water to bed and make sure you drink it on rising (if you have a cat or dog you might like to keep a bottle of water to stop them drinking it)
- When you are out for a meal, ask for a jug of water on the table and drink some before and after the meal, it will help you to eat less and ward off your hangover
- Keep water in your bag, your car, your gym locker, anywhere that you may be going, so that you can sip at anytime. I find that I need to take at least 2 litres of water every time I go anywhere in my car. It’s an old habit from my days as a sales person on the road
- Get someone at work to nag you and you nag them, make it a competition, make it fun and use accountability to support your water goals
- If you have dogs, join them at the water bowl
- As soon as you get a food craving down some water and see what happens
- On the way back from the toilet stop and get a cup of water, this will soon become a habit
So get drinking!