“I’ll just have water, thanks.”

The phrase I used to think was just the sign of either a broke college student or someone who was a penny pincher.  Now I realize that not only is getting water at a restaurant an economical and smart choice, but it also is a GREAT choice for health!

I am very fortunate because I actually love water but I know a lot of people don’t care for it or just aren’t in the habit of drinking it much.  But after choosing healthy foods and exercise, I think that water MAY be the next most important tool to help you gain health. There are SO many reasons why water is a great choice of beverage for you. Below are some reasons why water is specifically important during weight loss followed by some reasons why water is just great for your health in general.

WHY DRINKING WATER IS IMPORTANT FOR WEIGHT LOSS
There are many reasons why it is important to drink water, especially if you are dieting:

  • Initial weight loss is largely due to loss of water, and you need to drink an adequate amount of water in order to avoid dehydration.
  • The process of burning calories requires an adequate supply of water in order to function efficiently; dehydration slows down the fat-burning process.
  • Burning calories creates toxins (think of the exhaust coming out of your car), and water plays a vital role in flushing them out of your body.
  • Dehydration causes a reduction in blood volume; a reduction in blood volume causes a reduction in the supply of oxygen to your muscles; and a reduction in the supply of oxygen to your muscles can make you feel tired.
  • Water helps maintain muscle tone by assisting muscles in their ability to contract, and it lubricates your joints. Proper hydration can help reduce muscle and joint soreness when exercising.
  • A healthy (weight loss) diet includes a good amount of fiber. But while fiber is normally helpful to your digestive system, without adequate fluids it can cause constipation instead of helping to eliminate it.
  • Drinking water with a meal may make you feel full sooner and therefore satisfied eating less. Note, however, that drinking water alone may not have this effect. In order to feel satiated (not hungry), our bodies need bulk, calories and nutrients.

Why Drinking Water is Important for Weight Loss was found at the following website: http://www.caloriesperhour.com/tutorial_water.php


OTHER BENEFITS OF DRINKING WATER

  • Water increases your energy & relieves fatigue: Since your brain is mostly water, drinking it helps you think, focus and concentrate better and be more alert. As an added bonus, your energy levels are also boosted!
  • Water boosts your immune system: A water guzzler is less likely to get sick. And who wouldn’t rather feel healthy the majority of the time? Drinking plenty of water helps fight against flu, cancer and other ailments like heart attacks.
  • Water relieves and prevents headaches: Water helps relieve and prevent headaches (migraines & back pains too!) which are commonly caused by dehydration.
  • Water Prevents Cramps & Sprains: Proper hydration helps keep joints lubricated and muscles more elastic so joint pain is less likely.
  • Water can help put you in a good mood: When the body is functioning at its best, you will feel great and be happy!
  • Water will save you money: Water is FREE! Even if you choose bottled/filtered water, it’s STILL cheaper than that high sugar and fat-filled latte!
  • Water can prevent cancer: Yes, that’s right – various research says staying hydrated can reduce risk of colon cancer by 45%, bladder cancer by 50%, and possibly reduce breast cancer risk as well.
  • Water can help you perform better:Proper hydration contributes to increased athletic performance. Water composes 75% of our muscle tissue! Dehydration can lead to weakness, fatigue, dizziness, and electrolyte imbalance.
  • Water makes your skin glow:Our skin is the largest organ in our body. Regular and plentiful water consumption can improve the color and texture of your skin by keeping it building new cells properly. Drinking water also helps the skin do it’s job of regulating the body’s temperature through sweating.
  • Water feeds your body:Water is essential for the proper circulation of nutrients in the body. Water serves at the body’s transportation system and when we are dehydrated things just can’t get around as well.

Benefits of water were found at the following websites: (http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4287/10-Reasons-Why-You-Should-Drink-More-Water.html)  and (http://breakingmuscle.com/health-medicine/10-life-changing-reasons-to-drink-more-water)


TIPS FOR DRINKING WATER

-Buy a reusable water bottle to bring with you EVERYWHERE.  There are tons of options and you can buy them at just about any store now.

My bottle of choice is the Nalgene (www.nalgene.com).


Nalgenes have been my bottle of choice for about 10 years.  Yes, 10 years.  If I needed a second job, I could probably become a Nalgene salesperson because I love them so much. The basic Nalgene is between $9-11 and can be purchased at Target, outdoor (REI) & sporting goods stores.  There are oh so many reasons why I love Nalgenes, but here are a few:

1.  They are pretty.  They’ve got some great new colors, designs, and sizes.  They even have a glow-in the dark one now!
2.  The standard Nalgene has a big opening so is easy to put ice in.
3.  They are VIRTUALLY unbreakable.  Rumor has it as well that if your Nalgene breaks (not included the lid), then Nalgene will replace it at no cost to you.  One time I purchased a new Nalgene at REI and right in the parking lot of REI jammed my Nalgene up behind the tire of my Jeep and backed over it.  It did NOT break, only got a few scratches from the gravel.  If I don’t lose my Nalgene, which is a fairly common occurrence, I can easily keep the same water bottle for years.
4.  They have a great loop on the lid that makes it easy to clip on to a backpack or purse.
5.  They make me feel outdoorsy.  Yes I said it.  During high school and college, I was super outdoorsy.  I grew up in Colorado and have always had a love for mountains and all the activities that go with mountains.  I still LOVE the outdoors but living in Houston hasn’t really given me a ton of opportunities to hike around in mountains AND Houston is WAY TO HOT to be outdoors a ton during ¾ of the year.
6.  They are big.  The standard Nalgene holds 32 oz.  So my goal is three Nalgenes a day.
7.  Finally, they have a twist cap that makes the Nalgene spill proof.

-If you like ice cold water, fill up your reusable water bottle about ¾ full.  Don’t tighten the cap completely.  Put in the freezer overnight and VIOLA!  The next morning, your water will be an awesome ice cube to keep your water cold throughout the day!  Add a little water so that it will begin melting and providing you with a delicious, ice cold drink!  The reason you don’t tighten the cap completely is because your bottle may expand in the freezer if it doesn’t have room to breathe AND the cap may get temporarily frozen shut.

-If you don’t like the taste of water, try putting fresh fruit (or cucumbers) directly in your water or purchase a water fruit infuser bottle or pitcher.  (Here’s a great article on fruit infused water http://www.theyummylife.com/Flavored_Water)

-Try drinking about 90 oz. per day.  I know that is a LOT.  But because of how our body uses water for basically every function, our bodies need a lot of water to operate at it’s best!  Once your body gets used to the increase in water, you won’t be running to the bathroom every hour.  You’ll notice some great changes in how you feel if you make this a habit.

-And if you simply forget to drink or need reminders, a good friend just shared with me that she uses a app for her phone called Water Your Body. It tracks your water consumption and sends you reminders to drink!

And that’s it.  Even with this long post, I haven’t even scratched the surface for how awesome water is for you.  If you don’t currently drink much water or any water, I’d encourage you to if nothing else, increase your intake and see how it makes you feel!

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