If you want to get the best results from your weight loss eating plan, don’t miss out on water. Here’s some key considerations.
Hydration is helpful for both digestion and muscle function. The body needs water to metabolize stored fat and carbohydrates. Staying hydrated also helps with waste removal and kidney function to filter toxins and waste. When your body is dehydrated kidneys retain fluid.
Do you find it hard to stay hydrated in winter, especially when indoor heating can dry you out? Your body expels water vapour with every breath. Have you blown against a mirror lately?
Maintaining fluid intake in the winter months can be difficult, especially when signs of dehydration are very different to those in summer. With less sweating and feeling colder, it can be hard to see the signs. However, hydration in winter is equally as important as it is in the warmer months to keep energy levels stable, prevent skin from drying out, and support a healthy immune system. This is especially important as we find ourselves in artificially heated environments at home and work.
Here are a few handy tips to keep fluid intake up over the winter months:
- Make hydration a winter routine by drinking one glass of water in the morning and one at night when you brush your teeth. Regardless of your activity levels or how cold it is during the day, putting this in your routine will help with keeping your fluids up. Also having a glass of water before a meal acts as a natural appetite suppressant which makes you feel full and reduces hunger.
- Warm up your fluids. Warm herbal teas in a thermos might be more appealing than cold water from the tap. They are not dehydrating and there is such a large selection of flavours to choose from, with no need to add sugar or calories. Just make sure to keep these to around 2-3 a day, without adding milk or sugar. Even hot water with a squeeze of lemon, lime or orange can do the trick and add a zing to your liquid intake.
- Drink your food! Increase your intake of low-sugar, high-water-content fruit such as berries and vegetables such as celery, cucumber and tomato work well added to warm and nutritious soups and broths. Aim to add a soup or bone broth to one meal each day.
- Keep your hydration up by having a bottle of water handy at your desk, in your car and in your bag. Taking small sips throughout the day can be easier and less chilling than drinking larger amounts. If offered coffee in meetings, always ask for a glass of water as well.
- Drink water before, during and after exercise. Water helps muscles, connective tissues, and joints move better. Depending on how much and the type of exercise you do, water also helps lungs, heart and other organs function effectively. Dehydration can cause fatigue and lethargy, so energy levels suffer and you’re less likely to want to exercise.
- Hydration helps with bowel movements, keeping them softer and more regular. It reduces constipation by softening or loosening hardened stools. When waste builds up in the body you may feel bloated or swollen which can adds centimetres to your waist.
So, in summer, or winter, staying hydrated is important not only for your weight loss efforts but also for alertness, increased energy levels, and general health and well-being.
Finally, here’s a hydration trick question. Does coffee dehydrate? Many falsely believe coffee is dehydrating. To establish some logic, ask yourself or Google the desert question. “How long can humans last in desert without water?” The answer is “about 3 days”. But if you were stuck in the desert without water, but with gallons of black coffee, would you drink it? Of course you would and you’d survive. You might be wired and you might pee a lot, but you’d survive.