Does drinking water help with weight loss? The short answer is yes, but there’s a little more to it than just adding an extra bottle of water to your daily hydration routine.
Drinking enough water when you are on a weight loss journey can feel like a chore. Many experts recommend drinking at least 8 to 12, 8-ounce servings of water each day, but the reality is that this amount does not take your lifestyle, body weight, medications, weight loss goals, or other health factors into account. Drinking water for weight loss is a debated topic among many health circles. So, how much water should you be aiming for when you are losing weight?
Both The Mayo Clinic and The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that the following guidelines should be followed for adequate water intake (source):
- About 15.5 cups or 3.7 liters per day for men*.
- About 11.5 cups or 2.7 liters per day for women*.
*These amounts should be considered general statements and be adjusted based on activity levels, environment, and other health factors.
When it comes to losing weight, it is important to realize the impact that proper hydration has on the body. Over 60% of the adult human body is comprised of water (source), making sufficient water intake a foundation for many of your body’s vital processes, including:
- Helping maintain normal body temperature.
- Carrying nutrients and oxygen to your cells.
- Lubricating and cushioning your joints.
- Protecting your spinal cord.
- Helping the body get rid of waste, lessening the strain on the liver and kidneys.
Taking these functions into account, it is important to listen to your body when it comes to hydration, especially in hotter climates, during increased physical activity, when taking certain medications, or when experiencing illness. Furthermore, if you are on a weight loss journey, drinking enough water and monitoring your hydration levels are critical.
How does hydration impact your weight loss?
Hydration plays a key role in weight loss journeys. Drinking water for weight loss is not just a suggestion; it is a powerful tool that can aid in shedding extra fat with a myriad of significant benefits including:
- Boosting metabolism and increasing the body’s ability to burn calories.
- Helping suppress appetite, making the body feel fuller.
Ample hydration levels can also aid in making exercise easier and more effective. When your body is dehydrated, your cells will break down proteins quickly for energy, which can slow muscle production, making your workouts less effective. (source) When you are hydrated, your body can build muscle more efficiently, making your workouts more effective.
Water intake can also have a significant impact on your blood pressure. When you become dehydrated, the brain secretes a chemical to constrict blood vessels, which can increase your blood pressure (source) Over time, this can lead to hypertension, and other unwanted symptoms.
If you want to achieve your weight loss goals effectively, make sure to prioritize hydration and drink plenty of water throughout the day.
How to monitor your hydration levels
Staying hydrated is important for your overall health and is especially important when you are trying to lose weight. One way to monitor your hydration levels is by paying close attention to the color of your urine.
When you use the restroom, take a quick look at the color of your urine to check in on your hydration levels. If your urine is a pale yellow or clear, it is a good sign that you are well-hydrated. On the other hand, if your urine is a dark yellow or amber color, it may be a sign that you need to drink more water. If you are taking supplements or certain medications, these can change the color of your urine to a bright or fluorescent yellow. If you have any concerns about the color of your urine, please consult with your medical provider.
Hydration is crucial for weight loss because it helps your body function properly. So, make sure to drink water throughout the day and keep an eye on the color of your urine to stay on track with your weight loss goals.
If you are not sure where to start or how to keep up, here are 5 easy tips to stay hydrated, no matter the season.
- Utilize a reusable water bottle to have water available wherever you go.
With a reusable water bottle, you can have water available wherever you go. This is a great option if you forget to drink water or tend to become thirsty when water isn’t easily accessible. Reusable water bottles are a convenient and eco-friendly solution that not only makes hydration more accessible but also helps to reduce your plastic footprint.
- Eat hydrating or water-rich foods like soups, broths, watermelons, and cucumbers.
While drinking literal water is by far the most straightforward approach, there are other ways to stay hydrated as well. Eating hydrating foods like soups, broths, watermelon, and cucumber can provide the hydration your body needs. These foods are packed with water and can help to keep you feeling refreshed and satisfied. Plus, they offer additional benefits like vitamins and minerals.
- Set a daily water intake goal to hold yourself accountable.
Setting daily water intake goals is essential for staying hydrated and supporting your weight loss goals. When you are properly hydrated, your body can function optimally. Setting a goal for both sedentary and active days is recommended, but once you set your goal, stick to it! Some water bottles are large enough to carry almost an entire day’s water intake. One helpful tip is to mark lines on your water bottle to divide your water throughout the day. If you have not had enough water by the time you reach the “12pm” mark on your water bottle, it can be a great reminder to hydrate!
- Limit diuretics like teas and coffees as they cause the body to dehydrate faster.
It is best to limit your diuretic intake, like teas and coffee, as they make our bodies lose water faster. If you are drinking diuretics like tea, coffee, or energy drinks, it is a good rule to add additional water intake into your daily goal, equivalent to the volume of the diuretic beverage you consumed. For example, for every cup of coffee you drink, it can be helpful to add an additional serving of water (8-12 ounces) to your daily intake to counteract the coffee’s dehydrating effects.
- Use alarms or reminders to keep you on track and remind you to hydrate.
It is easy to forget to drink enough water throughout the day. That is where alarms or reminders can come in handy. By setting up an alarm or reminder on your phone, you can stay on track and make sure you’re getting enough hydration throughout the day. At a minimum, you can set alarms for every 4 hours, but do not be afraid to adjust this to fit your activity levels or tailor it as you see fit.
In conclusion, staying hydrated is crucial for your overall health and well-being. By following these five simple tips, you can ensure that you are giving your body the hydration it needs to function at its best. From boosting your energy levels and improving your digestion to enhancing your skin’s appearance and supporting weight loss, the benefits of staying hydrated are endless.
So, why wait? Commit to your health today and take the first step towards a healthier, happier you. Our team of weight loss specialists is here to support you on any step of your journey, whether it’s finding ways to maintain your weight or lose weight.