Water, pure and simple, is an essential component to your health and the weight loss process. While many dieters become so focused on their nutrition, calories, and exercise, they can often forget that water also brings with it a wealth of health benefits that help make an impact on the scale. True You Weight Loss strongly encourages drinking a minimum of 64 ounces of water per day.
But how does water influence weight loss? Studies have shown that water helps burn more calories, even when your body is at rest. This is called “resting energy expenditure.” Water has also been linked to a reduced appetite, as well as a decreased caloric intake when it becomes the main beverage of choice. When you think about it, by choosing water instead of soda or juice, you are eliminating the consumption of many sugars and calories that could otherwise derail your weight loss efforts. Additionally, hydration leads to energy and better physical performance. If you are dehydrated, you will feel sluggish and fatigued, and therefore unable to exercise or be as physically active as someone who is properly hydrated.
For anyone who is struggling to keep up with their water goals, it is well worth the effort to make some adjustments that will allow water to become a bigger daily priority. According to Laura Sebring, MS, RD, LDN, lead bariatric and weight loss dietitian and nutritionist at True You Weight Loss, here are some easy and creative ways to “up your water game” and prevent your body from running dry.
- Eat Your Fruits & Vegetables: Watermelon, berries, oranges, celery, cucumbers, grapefruit, and zucchini are all examples of fruits and vegetables that are chock-full of water. Eat more fruits and vegetables like these, and you’ll discover a whole new way to help keep your body hydrated while pleasing your taste buds, too.
- Infuse Your Water with Creative Ingredients: To some, water alone can be boring and bland. So, why not spiff it up? Add some flavor and zest to your water pitcher by infusing it with creative combinations of fruits, vegetables, and herbs. For instance, try adding cucumber and mint; lemons and oranges; berries; jalapeño peppers; basil; mint or cilantro. Then, infuse your water with these ingredients by letting it sit at room temperature for one to two hours or in the fridge for three to four hours.
- Use a Favorite Water Bottle: An incentive to drink more water can even come in the form of a favorite water bottle. Whether it’s fun, colorful, or made with a new and innovative design, your water bottle should be unique to you and one that you enjoy using. You’ll likely find yourself filling up and drinking much more often.
- Track with a Marked Water Bottle or App: Sometimes you can go through the entire day without realizing how much water you actually drank. Therefore, purchasing a water bottle that is marked with ounces or even the time of day creates an impactful way to visualize your water goals and monitor your daily fluid-drinking progress. In addition, you can track your water intake on any electronic food tracking app, such as MyFitnessPal™, LoseIt!, or MyNetDiary.
- Choose Other Watery Drinks: In addition to drinking plain water, quench your thirst with other beverages that are mostly made of, or that are variations of, water. Consider an herbal tea (iced or hot), skim milk (which is 91 percent water), flavored water drops, or other water enhancers to help you achieve your daily fluid goals.
- Half Your Favorite Beverage with Ice and Water: However hard you might try to avoid it, sometimes you just need a drink of your favorite beverage. Whether it be juice, lemonade, or sweetened iced tea, allow yourself to indulge once in a while, but compromise by adding ice and water to half the glass.
- Accept Your Own Personal Water “Challenges:” All of us have the potential to be our own worst enemy or our own biggest motivator when it comes to weight loss strategies … even when it comes to drinking water. Therefore, issue personal water challenges to yourself throughout the day, and see if you can meet your goals. For instance, set small deadlines for yourself (i.e. “By 10 am, I will drink two full cups of water”) or challenge yourself to fill idle time spent by drinking water (i.e. while sitting on a conference call, waiting for your morning coffee to brew, or sitting in the carpool line).
So, raise your water glass, slice of watermelon, or pitcher of infused water, and cheers to drinking more fluids. Getting creative with your water-consumption habits can truly make a difference to your health.