Weighing the Benefits of Water
You may have thought to yourself “I need to drink more water.” But have you thought about why? There are many benefits to drinking water — including aiding weight loss — that you might not know about. Staying hydrated helps us to:
feel less tired
prevent/treat kidney stones
There’s a reason our body is made up of ⅔ water! Clearly, it is essential for many of our bodily functions. Lack of water leads to symptoms of dehydration - including dizziness, nausea, cramping, constipation, and confusion. Not fun!
One more important benefit of drinking water is its role in managing our weight. Drinking water 30 minutes before a meal helps us to feel more full, thus preventing us from overeating. In addition, there is some evidence in animal models and human studies, although inconclusive, that drinking more water may boost metabolism and aid with weight loss.
Now, how much water should you drink? There’s the old adage that 8 cups/day is best. Some say to drink half your body weight in ounces. It can be confusing to say the least. Here is a good baseline to start with:
Women: 9 cups (72 ounces)
Men: 13 cups (104 ounces)
However, it turns out that there are a lot of factors to consider and individual needs vary. Here are some other things to think about:
When you’re eating a lot of fruits and vegetables, they naturally contain water and can count towards about 20% of your daily water intake.
On a hot day, when you’re sick, or on days when you find yourself especially active, you’ll need to drink more water (about 1.5-2 cups more).
Drinking water doesn’t have to be boring! We can drink more than just water to help reach our goal — tea, carbonated water, coffee, and other options count too! A smoothie for breakfast includes both the water in the fruits and veggies plus any additional water, plant-milk, or ice you use in the recipe.
Choose one of these strategies to boost your hydration:
Try drinking water before meals. For the next 2 days, try drinking 2 glasses of water before breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Notice how you feel, how much you eat, and any other shifts that come up.
Set a goal to drink more water overall. As with any new step, start where you are and push yourself to do a little more over time. Are you currently drinking 2 cups of water a day? Shoot for 3 and see how you do.
Fit hydration into your day. Often we’ll have a grand plan to drink more water and then get to the end of the day before we realize how much we have left to go! Nobody wants to chug a gallon of water before bed. Try setting incremental goals for yourself throughout the day — whether this is tied to drinking water before meals, finishing a water bottle by a certain time, drinking after every bathroom break, or setting alarms on your phone as a reminder — making a plan to break up your water consumption throughout your day helps to make this new goal a reality.