Drinking water is a simple way to help reach your weight loss goals and even better, it doesn’t require much additional effort! Increasing your water consumption can help with weight loss by reducing unnecessary calorie consumption, satiating feelings of thirst, increasing feelings of fullness, and aiding in digestion.
One of the most impactful ways that drinking water in place of other beverages helps with weight loss is that it is calorie-free. Drinking juice, soda, alcohol, and energy drinks (even the sugar-free varieties), adds calories to your day. By simply switching to water as your main beverage of choice, you can potentially cut hundreds of unnecessary calories from your diet.
Mild dehydration is often masked as feelings of hunger. “Hunger is the physiological need for calories, water, and salt, and it’s driven by a mix of factors, including your diet, appetite hormones, and emotional factors, such as stress,” says Los-Angeles-based nutritionist, Maggie Moon, RD. The confusion occurs in the part of the brain that regulates both appetite and thirst, known as the hypothalamus. When dehydration sets in, wires get crossed in the hypothalamus, leading you to grab a bag of chips when you really need a bottle of water. By drinking an 8 oz glass of water and waiting 15–20 minutes to see if your hunger subsides, you could potentially prevent mindless eating.
Drinking water is a key factor in proper digestion as well. Why is proper digestion important for reaching your weight loss goals? Proper digestion makes minerals and nutrients more accessible to the body, which allows our cells to function properly, resulting in higher levels of energy. Additionally, if our cells are getting proper and adequate nutrition, then the physiological need for calories is diminished and our bodies are better able to use the food we consume more effectively. The bottom line is that proper digestion helps to fuel our cells and bodies, reducing the desire for unnecessary calories.
Tips to drink more water:
- B.Y.O.B. – Keep a bottle of water in your car, bring a reusable water bottle into work, take a bottle of water with you everywhere you go!
- Drink a bottle of water before your morning coffee or tea.
- Flavor water with slices of lemon, cucumber, or strawberries. Or, mix fresh herbs such as mint or basil with chunks of watermelon, pineapple, or any fruit combination you have–get creative!