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Why Drinking Plenty Of Water Is Essential For Fat Loss

One of the biggest mistakes I see people making with a fat loss program is failing to drink enough water. Everyone has been told that drinking plenty of water is beneficial for your health but there’s not enough discussion on why it’s essential for fat loss.

I often have clients who are struggling with weight loss tell me that while they’re on point with their nutrition and workouts, they just can’t seem to increase their water intake.

I’ll hear excuses like “I just can’t go to the bathroom that much due to my job,” and “I simply don’t like the taste of plain water.” If you could burn fat effectively with sodas, crystal light, and sweet tea I’d say go for it, but the truth is it can’t be done.

I’m going to give you the straight up facts on why you absolutely must drink plenty of water if you want to be successful with fat loss. Once you see how it works in the whole fat loss equation you’ll understand why it’s a non-negotiable.

Reason #1: At A Molecular Level Your Body Is 70-85% Water

First off let’s look at the obvious reasoning. Your body is predominantly made up of water. It might not look that way in the mirror, but I assure you, without water you’d be nothing but a pile of assorted amino acids, minerals and some fatty acids.

If we were to consider a single human cell, we’d be looking at a molecular structure that’s between 70 and 85% water. Water is the primary component of blood. Water transports oxygen throughout the body and it’s the most essential nutrient for all bodily functions.

Reason #2: Water Impacts Fat Metabolism In The Liver

Without question, the most important organ in the human body when it comes to fat loss is the liver. It’s where fat metabolism takes place. The key to optimal liver function is the removal of built up toxins and metabolic waste. What does the cleansing of all this built up toxins and waste? You guessed it, water!

Think of your liver as being a filter for your body. If it’s overburdened with a build up of toxins and waste, it simply won’t work very well. Common sense right?

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We’ll since your liver is responsible for among many things, fat metabolism, if you’re not drinking enough water you severely handcuff your body’s ability to lose weight.

Reason #3: Water Is Needed For Proper Digestive Function

You also need to have a properly functioning digestive system in order to burn fat effectively. During consultations with clients struggling with weight loss I often have to bring up the uncomfortable subject of elimination.

I always ask the question “how many times a day are you going to the bathroom?” It’s not uncommon to hear things like, “funny you ask, I have trouble going and sometimes it might be days at a time.”

I try to reason with people on the reality of why they simply can’t lose “weight” in this scenario. If you’re eating several times a day but never going to the bathroom where does the food go?

You can’t be surprised with getting on the scale and not losing a pound or maybe even gaining a few pounds when you’re not eliminating the food you’ve eaten.
It’s a simple equation of addition and subtraction. You put several pounds of food in your body but it never came out…how could you be lighter?

But let’s go deeper than this obvious problem with not going to the bathroom. You could have regular bowel movements but have a severely imbalanced digestive system.

Just know that a healthy digestive system is also one that receives plenty of hydration. Why is this so important? Once again you need water to cleanse the GI tract and remove metabolic waste. Without it, you’ll significantly diminish the ability of your digestive tract to assimilate nutrients and fuel your body.

Understand that your upper GI tract works through healthy bacteria and microvilli to grab nutrients from the foods you eat. If you disrupt the balance of good bacteria to bad and overburden the microvilli with junk (processed foods, sugar, artificial ingredients, etc) you through off hormonal balances in other systems.

Everything is simply connected and the hormonal balances of other systems can be thrown off with an imbalance anywhere in the body.

Reason #4: Water’s Connection With Hormonal Balances

It’s important to understand that ultimately your hormonal balances control fat loss and hormones are significantly impacted by food choices and hydration.

If you don’t drink enough water you comprise organ function and digestive function with creates a domino effect impacting hormonal balances that control fat oxidation.

For example, if you put your liver under a steady burden of trying to rid itself of toxins and metabolic waste, but it’s struggling due to a lack of hydration, your body sees this as “stress.”

Your body responds to stress by kicking in the adrenal glands which produce cortisol. Elevated cortisol levels results in decreased testosterone and increased insulin secretion for example.



I could go on and on with all these connections (that nobody talks about by the way), but just know that adequate hydration is essential in part of hormonal balances.

Reason #5: Water’s Connection With Oxygen And Fat Oxidation

As you know water is made up of oxygen. For fat oxidation to occur, oxygen must be present. This is simply a fact. The better you are at delivering oxygen to your cells the more likely you are to burn fat when the conditions are right.

What’s the best way to bring oxygen to the cells? You guessed it ,with water.
Are you starting to see the connection? Water’s role in fat loss is rooted in the basic functions of the human body and all internal processes.

It’s a complex system of nutrients, hormones, and other factors that go into fat oxidation.

So How Much Water Should I Drink To Support Fat Loss?

While the general recommendations for “health” are 8 glasses a day, this simply won’t be enough for most individuals looking to lose weight.

As a rule the more body weight you have, the more water you need to drink.

A good strategy is to shoot for the following: multiply your body weight by .55 and this will give you the goal of water intake per day in ounces. It may sound like a lot when you do the math.

It’s really not when you consider the water that’s lost with perspiration and respiration during exercise (and yes I’m assuming you’re exercising, as a fat loss program is a waste of your time without it).

You don’t have to hit this number but it’s a good goal to shoot for. Getting even in the ballpark will ensure you have proper hydration to support fat oxidation. The key is simply avoiding states of dehydration that are often hard to recognize.

On a side note, hunger is often confused with a signal of dehydration and thirst. The next time you feel hungry try drinking a large glass of water and see if it curbs your appetite.

Recommendations For Getting In More Water

My recommendation is to carry a 32 ounce refillable water bottle with you during the day and sip on it often. I look at how many times I refill this bottle as an indicator of my water intake. You’ll have to work on increasing your water intake just like with anything else but the benefits will be well worth it.

Shane Doll is a certified Charleston personal trainer, fat loss expert, speaker, and founder of Shaping Concepts Personal Training Studios. You can receive a FREE no-obligations trial of his Charleston personal training programs and experience the Shaping Concepts difference for yourself.

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Category: Nutrition.