Dehydration will wreck your fat loss goals faster than you can say “I’ll have an iced tea.” So this week we need to talk about how to make sure you’re drinking enough water.
If you’ve missed any of the previous weekly challenges, you can get them all here. Each challenge will dramatically speed up your fitness results, so you don’t want to skip any steps!
Here’s a quick refresher on why water is so important for weight loss:
Water improves metabolic function – Our bodies are primarily made up of water. Even just slight dehydration can cause muscle aches, grumpiness, dizziness, lethargy, mental fatigue, poor digestion and irregularity. When we don’t drink enough water, toxins in the body don’t get flushed out, which essentially impairs the body’s ability to balance blood sugar and metabolize cholesterol… opening the door to diabetes and obesity.
Water is a natural appetite-suppressant – When we feel hungry, sometimes we’re actually just thirsty. Try drinking a big glass of water and waiting 15-20 minutes to see if you’re still hungry. If you’re legitimately hungry but it’s not time for your next meal, drink a big glass of water (or IdealBoost) and it will help tide you over until your next meal.
Water fuels your workouts – Exercise energy doesn’t just come from food! Not drinking enough water causes our bodies to be tired and sluggish. On the other hand, starting your workout well hydrated will enable you to work out at a higher intensity.
What’s more, drinking water means we’re not drinking unhealthy beverages. Thanks to clever advertising and bottle labeling tricks, sometimes we unconsciously turn to soda and juice to quench our thirst… when all we wanted was a refreshing glass of H20.
Your Challenge: Gradually increase your water each day this week
Count your cups of water on the first day. Try to add two cups on the second day, two more on the third day, and so on until you reach 12-16 cups. Then maintain that level the rest of the week.
How Much Water Do You Really Need?
It’s sometimes recommended that people drink half their body weight in ounces per day. For a 140-lb female, that would be about 70 oz. or nine cups (not glasses but cups) of water per day. Problem is, this doesn’t take into account that you’ll also need to compensate for fluids lost during exercise, and you may need more water in a dry climate like I do here in Utah. It also may not be enough to take advantage of the fat loss benefits listed above.
For that reason, I would recommend that you drink anywhere from 12-16 cups of water (or 3/4 of a gal.) to a full gallon per day. Definitely NO LESS than 10 cups per day. And if your goal is weight loss, drink on the higher end, including having two cups of water about 30 minutes before your meals.
When you increase your water intake you need to make sure your electrolytes stay balanced, which may require you to increase your sodium intake. If you increase your water slowly, you should feel just fine. But if you increase it quickly you might notice that you start to feel slight headaches; to bring your electrolytes back into balance, just add a little more salt to your food!
You’re probably thinking “How on earth do I drink that much?” There are two ways to make sure you get enough water each day and it really depends on what kind of person you are. I’m a schedule and list-oriented person, so I “schedule” my water drinking: I drink two cups immediately upon waking, then two more by 9am, four cups by noon, four more cups by 3pm, and four more by 6pm.
Some of you may prefer to just sip on your gallon throughout the day and that’s fine too. Either way, I would suggest trying to get at least half of your water in by midday to make sure you’re keeping on top of it (and so you won’t be up all night in the bathroom).
Track Your Results
See if increasing your water intake this week helps you…
- Have improved mood and mental clarity
- Have more energy when exercising
- Feel less hungry, snacky or inclined to drink non-water beverages
Let us know how it goes in the comments!
P.S. Want Free Workouts Too? Nutrition is only part of the puzzle. Click the banner below to do the full Shape Up Challenge program with me each week!