Water and Weight Loss
Do you have any idea how very, very important water is to your life? Well, perhaps you know ‘sorta’ in general, but I’m going to give you some details-some that I’m pretty sure you didn’t know.
First of all you can go weeks without food and still survive, but only hours without water. Ok, you probably knew that one. But did you know that about 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated? Why does it matter? Well, all those trillions of chemical reactions of which we’ve spoken before, happen in a watery medium inside the cells. There is even a pumping system that changes the concentration of some important minerals from the inside to the outside (and vice versa) of the cells, so that the osmotic pressure of water inside and outside the cells stays optimal. Too much and the cell bursts, but too little and those chemical reactions are in trouble.
Well, your body is really good at prioritizing the important stuff. And water is pretty high in the priority list. So when the body gets slightly dehydrated, it goes into “conserve water” mode. Just as when you skip meals, you tell your body you’re in a famine, and it gets real good at conserving calories. (The mechanism for famine strategy is that the fat cell membrane gets very permeable to fat going into storage and very IM-permeable to fat leaving the fat cell.) When you tell your body you’re in a drought, it starts hoarding water and packs it in between the cells (extra-cellular water). Hormones are big players in this game, too.
So, do this self-test. Sit comfortably, press the thumb of one hand into your shinbone on the other leg.that place on your lower leg where there isn’t anything much but skin. Hold it there for 30 seconds. Now when you lift your thumb off, can you still feel a dent in your leg where it was pressing? If the answer is yes, what you just did is press the extra-cellular water out of that spot and it will take a little time for it to go back to being smooth. What did it tell us? That you’re holding water in places you shouldn’t, and the first line of defense is DRINK MORE WATER so you tell your body you’re not in a drought and it can go back to not hoarding! An extreme case of water retention is swollen feet and legs that you can see. The above test just indicates a minor retention.
Seems like a contradiction, doesn’t it? If your body is bloated, it means you need MORE water, not less. Now, there are other reasons (pathologies) why someone might be holding water that are beyond the scope of this article. But here’s a free, non-toxic treatment to try before getting into the not so free, and probably very toxic pharmaceuticals. Diuretics make bodies get rid of water all right, but they also flush out important minerals! And they are only symptom treatment, not cause treatment. Besides, the body will react to the perceived threat by holding on tighter…and the cycle escalates.
Next important function of water we’re going to discuss is for those of you who have weight to lose. Guess what! Water might be that magic pill we’ve been looking for! Ok, now you have to understand just a little bit of physiology. We’re going to talk about two organ systems. First are the kidneys. Their job is to get the garbage out of your blood. All the toxins and by-products, have to be filtered out, the balances of many substances (salts, acids, etc) have to be maintained. That’s what your kidneys do, and water is the flushing mechanism-and it’s eliminated as urine. As long as you drink plenty of water, the kidneys do this job admirably.
Now another system is the liver. It performs a number of functions, but the one we’re concerned with here, is turning fat molecules into glucose (fuel) to be burned. The process is called gluco-neo-genesis-making new glucose-and it’s made from stored fat. Hey! That’s what we want-to make fuel from stored fat! That’s how we’ll get that midsection slimmed down!
All well and good as long as you’re drinking enough water so that the kidneys can do their job optimally. But the body is adaptable! If water intake is low, the kidney function isn’t optimal and the liver kicks in to help detoxify the blood—because toxic blood is a killer, there has to be some redundancy to make sure it’s cleaned up. So if the liver is helping the kidneys, it does less of its job of making new fuel out of old fat! It will, by default, be metabolising less fat.
Get your liver at full throttle helping you lose that weight! Drink more water!
Ok, now just some quick stuff about water:
1. It suppresses appetite, naturally. 2. Water helps to maintain muscle tone. A hydrated muscle can grow, a dehydrated muscle can only catabolise (tear down.) 3. Water helps rid the body of waste-not only urine but faeces. More water, softer stools, less constipation. 4. Mild dehydration will slow metabolism by as much as 3% 5. If your thirst mechanism is weak from prolonged moderate dehydration, you will mistake thirst for hunger, and eat instead of drinking. 6. Lack of water triggers fatigue. 7. Nearly all the dieters in a University of Washington study reported that a midnight glass of water shut down hunger pangs. 8. A 2% drop in body hydration can trigger fuzzy short-term memory and trouble with math and focus on printed matter or computer screen. 9. Adequate water decreases risk of colon cancer, breast cancer, and bladder cancer.
HOW MUCH WATER?
You need to drink enough water, but there are various suggestions about how much is enough. The standard answer is 8 glasses of water a day. If you’re not already getting that much, then 8 is going to be a big improvement. I think you will be healthier if you can get closer to 16 glasses of water a day and your rate of burning old fat is going to go UP! If that seems like a lot, just get as close to it as you can. I, and many of the people I teach and work with, ALWAYS have a quart of water at hand. Don’t leave home without it! Yes, you will have to go to the bathroom more often! Hello! That’s the point-you will be flushing more toxins out and helping your body to be (or get) slim and healthy again. At any age!