7 tips to increase your water intake & lose weight
Part of our getting back to basics — nuts & bolts blog series
I used to drink a case of diet coke every 3-5 days. My office was stocked with the stuff and I felt addicted to it. I also consumed my share of heavy milk shakes, juices loaded with sugar and alcoholic beverages. I can’t even begin to tell you how many calories I drank.
Five years ago when I went to weight-loss boot camp that all came to a screeching halt. That’s when I went “cold turkey” and replaced all of those high-calorie beverages with pure water. Well, all but the occasional alcoholic beverage, which I still enjoy!
Replacing sweetened drinks with water not only spares you hundreds of calories in a day, but water is just plain good for you. I remember the day about four years ago when I tried a diet coke and couldn’t even stand a sip of it. It was too sweet for me! My palette now prefers water — and, yes, it also likes the occasional alcoholic beverage! 😉
Most of us know that water is a principal component in our bodies. But did you know that water actually makes up about 60 percent of your body weight? Every system in our bodies depends on water.
Here are a few of the benefits of water based on the research, as well as my personal experience. And if you struggle to get enough water in, here are my 7 tips for making it much easier – in fact, delicious.
- Revs up the metabolism and makes you feel full
- Helps suppress appetite — drink a full glass before a meal
- Boosts your energy (being dehydrated can make you tired)
- Helps you shed water weight
- Aides digestion — drinking water before, during and after a meal can help your body break down the food and absorb nutrients
- Helps build muscle tone — drinking water helps prevent muscle cramping and lubricates joints in the body so you can work out harder or longer
- Good for your skin — water hydrates skin cells and plumps them up
- Flushes toxins out of your body
- Makes your hair shinier?!
How much water do you need?
Recommendations vary and if you “google it,” you’ll probably find conflicting advice. I grew up being told eight, 8-ounce glasses (64 ounces) per day for women; slightly more for men — up to 10 eight-ounce glasses. The research I read more recently said the exact amount depends on your size, your level of activity, the climate, and your general health. My personal theory is anything over 80 ounces is great.
I aim to drink a gallon of water a day, every day. Yep, you read that right – a gallon. So I double the recommendation for women and shoot for 120-128 ounces per day. Some days it’s easy, other days I have to work at it. But it works for me, health wise. I not only feel better, but also see the results in my skin, the scale, etcetera. So I know first-hand — ditching the sugary stuff and increasing your water intake really helps with weight loss and healthy living in general.
If you know this but don’t like to drink plain water and find yourself struggling to get it in, here are 7 tips and tricks. I hope they help.
7 tips for drinking more water:
- Add fresh lemon or lemon essential oil to your water. Lemon water naturally cleanses the body and aids in digestion, not to mention adding the lemon makes it easier to drink and gives you an energy boost. TIP: Make sure you use lemon essential oil that can be ingested — I use DoTERRA all natural essential oil for this reason. NOTE: Not all oils can be ingested — some are toxic — so READ THE LABEL. Here is some information on oils that can be ingested.
- Infuse your water with fresh fruit, veggies or both. I love cucumber and mint infused water. There are some great fruit combos, too. Infused water can also be great for detox. There’s lots of information out there. Here is one link with a few ideas from DoTERRA.
- Drink sparkling water for part of the day. Replace alcoholic beverages with water by drinking it in a beautiful wine glass. I started drinking sparkling water out of a wine glass to cut the cocktails all together in January and it’s working for me. Sometimes, when out with friends for dinner, I’ll drink club soda with a lime twist to replace my cocktail. It’s not quite the same but it does help.
- Carry a water bottle with you at all times. I take mine to meetings, in my car, and wherever I am on the go.
- Drink at least one glass before and after each meal. This helps you spread your water intake throughout the day. And for many people, it’s easier to get it in with meals.
- Use a straw. Another trick I’ve tried is sipping my water from a straw. Works for me. I don’t know why but I often drink more this way!
- Try Tea. At night, I often switch to tea and get my final water in that way in the evening. You can drink tea all day if it works for you.
Do you have tips to share about getting your water in? I’d love to hear them.
In case you missed them, here are the other blogs in our January back to basics, nuts and bolts series:
- Want to lose weight, get smart first
- Confused about what to eat to lose weight & maintain a healthy body
- Slow cooker chicken salsa. Yum!
- My go-to snacks for weight loss
- Meal prep. Works for me