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Water is a Secret Ingredient

Water: The Wild Card of Weight Loss

-- By Zach Van Hart, Staff Writer

Is water important? Well let’s see, other than making up 50%-60% of our bodies, regulating body temperature, helping our breathing, transporting nutrients, carrying away waste and helping our muscles function, water is pretty much useless. Oh, and you need water or, after three days without it, you’ll die.

So in other words, water is pretty darn essential. It can even be an extremely important (and often unappreciated) weight loss factor.

Somehow, though, water is one of the most neglected parts of our diet. Some of us possibly go an entire day at times without one glass! Every part of your body is dependent on and comprised of water, and the most important parts need even more. Your brain is made up of 75% water, your blood 82% and your lungs nearly 90%.

Besides being a vital component of your body, water also helps to reduce weight. The more hydrated you are, the quicker your metabolism works. When you are dehydrated – even before you start becoming thirsty – your liver has to help the kidneys function and can’t metabolize fat as quickly. Your metabolism slows down, causing some unwanted fat to remain.

If your body is used to not getting water, it actually stores more in ankles, hips and thighs. In other words, it doesn’t trust you to keep bringing water, so it keeps what it can get, like a thirsty cactus. Once it realizes the water will keep coming, your body will get rid of the stores and you’ll lose weight!

Plus, if you’re suffering from cravings or having trouble controlling hunger, drinking water is a quick, healthy way to feel full. Drink a glass when you normally snack, and have one before your meal and right before going out.

Staying hydrated is not restricted to drinking water; milk, juice and other liquids – even some fruits and vegetables – are good sources of water. But avoid caffeinated beverages (coffee, soda), as they actually cause you to lose fluids and become dehydrated. <pagebreak>

The recommended daily amount of water is eight cups a day, but don’t feel bad if you have neglected your water intake. Even if you constantly drink coffee or soda, you can make some simple changes to increase the water in your diet. Here are just a few ways to get more water every day:

  • Find the water bottles with pop tops. They’re easier to carry around and use than twist off caps.
  • Keep a water bottle in the car.
  • Take a water break instead of a smoke break at work.
  • Set a rule with your water glass: once it’s empty, it gets filled back up right away.
  • Drink orange juice or eat fruit in the morning.
  • Get two water bottles, one for work and one for home. Fill up one every day when you leave to go home, and fill up the other before you go to bed each night.
  • Order water at restaurants instead of soda. Even if you have something else to drink, have water too.
  • Weekends are the toughest, so be aware of your water and fluid intake throughout Saturday and Sunday. Keep more than one water bottle in the fridge so you always have a cold one.
  • Follow the example of a SparkPeople member: this woman put a water glass on her windowsill with 8 pennies on one side. Each time she filled up her glass and drank it, she moved a penny to the other side, until all the pennies were moved. Great reminder system!
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