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Could This Be The Most Important Health/Weight Loss Tool?

The Wonders of Water

Photo by: Davide Restivo

Photo by: Davide Restivo

Our bodies are slightly over 75% water. Let that sink in a minute–75%; for every one hundred pounds you weigh, 75 of it is nothing but water. It is amazing to me that this is one of the most underused aspects of a healthy lifestyle. Drinking the right amount of water has made a huge impact on my life all the way around, but more on that in a minute.

Dangers of Dehydration

Not having the proper amount of water to nourish our bodies can have major health consequences. Just a few of the items a person who is dehydrated may experience are:

  •  Not able to focus
  •  Dry skin
  •  Headache
  •  Constipation
  •  Dizziness or lightheaded
  •  Rapid heartbeat
  •  Low blood pressure
  •  Severe dehydration can cause delirium and/or unconsciousness

Back to my story-I look at that list and I see everything that I was experiencing just a couple of years ago. I could not seem to focus on anything, pounding headaches at least 3–4 times a week, skin so dry that it was cracking in places, and constipation problems (read able to move the bowels around once a week). My answer for all these ailments of course lay outside of my diet, mainly at my local pharmacy. I took an OTC pill or liquid for everything listed above except the alertness; for that I turned to coffee, drinking on average three pots a day by myself (little did I know at the time, coffee is a diuretic which causes your body to lose even more water).

As you already know if you have read our story, I was overweight, under productive, and just plain miserable most every day. When Angry Chick and I decided to make a change, the first thing we decided to focus on was our health. It was through this decision that we discovered the difference the correct amount of water can make.

Photo by:  Jenny Downing
We contacted a personal trainer (fitnesspoynters.com) and had a meal plan created to help us reach our ideal weight. Part of our plan (and most others as far as we can tell) was that we drink lots of water-working up to at least a gallon a day! I shrugged it off initially, and only done around a quart in the mornings with breakfast instead of my normal cup or two of coffee. After about a week of this I noticed that I started taking my coffee a little later in the morning-instead of being the first thing I went after it was now a couple hours after waking when I drank that first cup. Now, I am over a gallon of water a day, and as of this post on average I drink two cups of coffee a day; one around 10am and another shortly after 3pm.

Benefits of Water

From three pots of coffee a day down to two cups with an improvement in alertness and energy. That is enough to convince me that we made the right move. In case you need more, here is a list of the benefits attributed to proper hydration:
* Increased alertness
* Relief of joint pain
* Weight loss
* Better waste management
* Regulate body temperature

I have experienced all of the above (well, I didn’t exactly measure my temp to see if it was more stable, but the rest are on par). The pain in my knees went from a 8 out of ten down to about a 2. Angry Chick was able to get a full gallon on the first day on her meal plan. The result? She lost 4 lbs. In one day. That is how dehydrated she was and how much water her body was retaining. I lost 2.2 in one day just by doing a quart.

As with any health program, always seek medical advice first before starting a plan. With that out of the way, here is the best way we have found to get our gallon in each day.

    • Drink 16oz as soon as you wake up. I set a bottle on my nightstand each night and drink it first thing upon waking. It kick starts my alertness, helps me not hit snooze, and gets my body going for the day.
    • Drink another 16ozs with breakfast. (First quart down)
    • Drink 16ozs each work break (for our 8 hours shifts, that equates to 2 breaks-quart number 2 gone!)
    • Drink a quart with lunch.
    • 16ozs with dinner, and then another 16ozs a couple hours before bed to finish off a gallon.

You may have to adjust the times depending on bathroom availability and how your body processes water (i.e. you do not want to be up all night going to the rest room). I could not do it the first few weeks, but Angry Chick got it first day. Just do what you can, and work into it slowly if needed. If you are not already drinking lots of water, I guarantee you are going to see a difference.

On a side note-nothing else counts toward your water intake. Soda, tea, coffee, etc-it must be water for it to be added to your water intake. One way to keep up with your intake is with the MyFitnessPal app or web interface. Add me as a friend on there if you use it-my profile is WJ354.

Thanks for reading, and have a great day!

Have you increased your water intake? What differences did you notice? We would love to hear from you in the comments below.

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