Dehydration is the enemy of every weight loss and fitness goal. And “beverages with benefits” usually are, too. So what’s the problem—why can’t we just drink more water already?
Well, as always, there’s a complicated answer for this. Actually, there are four complicated answers: sugar dependence, consumerism, misinformation, and habit.
Before we get into these, let’s look at why it is critical to drink water for weight loss, and lack of it can be a culprit in packing on extra pounds.
As Mayo Clinic reports, dehydration hampers the ability of the body and mind to function optimally. In the mind, even mild dehydration causes lethargy, light-headedness and fuzzy thinking. In the body, toxins aren’t being flushed out, which essentially means garbage piles up that impairs the body’s ability to balance blood sugar and metabolize cholesterol… opening the door to diabetes and obesity.
David discusses the relationship between toxins and weight in-depth in IdealShape’s new book. In a nutshell, all of the above symptoms play a villainous role in weight management. In addition to causing the body to actually store more fat, dehydration makes exercise physically difficult, if not downright dangerous.
Staying on top of weight loss goals requires mental energy, too. Lack of water makes your mental state such that workouts and healthy eating efforts are unlikely to happen in the first place.
Drinking enough water is one of the foundations of successful weight loss. So why do we get hamster-wheeled into a state of perpetual dehydration?
Enter: the Obstacles
Sometimes, we simply forget about how important it is to drink water. We’re busy and it’s not on our mind.
But here’s why slapping a reminder post-it on your wrist won’t fix that: there are several forces that make us WANT to forget about water. Sugar dependence, consumerism, misinformation, and habit come to mind.
Sugar dependence causes us to lean on beverages that contain sugar—and sometimes caffeine or other ingredients—for a pick-me-up. We often turn to “functional beverages” to get us through the day, despite the fact that water can also boost mental alertness and stave off fatigue. Why? Because sugar is addictive.
The brain likes sugar, but it also likes novelty. When given a choice between “boring water” and bright, colorful bottles that promise added benefits, we choose the latter. Non-water beverages offer fun packaging and the marketing story promises an exciting experience.
We can also chalk it up to misinformation. People generally do want to gulp healthily, but we’ve been led to believe we need a special drink to do so. In sync with people becoming health-conscious consumers, the Beverage Marketing Corporation reports that the “wellness beverage” and “functional beverage” niches are exploding.
Water consumption sure isn’t exploding, though. A National Institutes of Health article points out a wide-scale cultural shift toward large portions of fluids coming from caloric beverages instead of water.
Breaking the Beverage Habit
Dehydration is one of the top 10 behaviors causing weight trouble, David explains in “Think.” Thanks to all these “beverages with benefits” on the market (whose nutrition pitfalls are frequently glossed over), people unwittingly turn to non-water beverages to get healthy. Meanwhile, we drink less water, because we don’t want to be in the bathroom all day. Both make weight gain worse.
Breaking the beverage habit is tough. Physically, mentally, and culturally. But with a little Brain Training, it’s possible. IdealShape approaches the beverage battle with weight loss hypnosis, and devotes a chapter in Think to helping people learn to drink more water.
In the end—cover your ears, beverage marketers—water is all we need in order to achieve our health goals. It’s time to take back our brains and our bodies, and invest in the habit of drinking water, rather than shoveling money into fancy beverages. That liquid that’s flowing freely from the kitchen tap is the real miracle weight loss drink.