After studying the first two rules (here and here), we know that it is important to eat enough and not skip meals, and we also know that calories are not created equal and it is possible to eat more food that is rich in micronutrients but lower in calories – this is a good trick to eat more and still work toward your weight-loss goals. What more rules can there be? Well, I have a few more up my sleeve. They may not be nutrition rules and tips, but rather general well-being rules that may still help you on your journey to a healthy weight. And I want you to know that without these important aspects of healthy lifestyle your body will have hard time functioning properly, and if it cannot function as it should it can’t be bothered with keeping a healthy weight.
3. About the ‘Holy’ Water
- For your body to function properly, it needs to receive 30 ml of fluid per 1 kg body weight.
About 65% of human body (give or take a few %) consists of water, as you probably learned in your science class at school. But where is that water? Blood would be an obvious answer, but with only about 5 to 6 litres of blood in the system, it composes only 6 to 8% of the human body, and blood is not all water. So where is it?
Most of the water in the body is intracellular, meaning that it exists inside the cells that compose the body – the cells of organs and other tissues. It is in the cells of our lungs, brain, skin, and even bones and muscles. The rest of the water is extracellular, or outside of cells, which also includes the blood plasma.
To some extent, water is more important for the body than food. Humans can survive up to 2 months without food if they take water, but only a few days without water. A loss of just 10% of water from the body can have serious consequences, and a loss of 20 to 25% of water can be fatal.
Why do we need water?
Water in the body is required to:
- Facilitate thermoregulation (regulate the body temperature);
- Moisten the tissues, such as mucosal membranes;
- Protect the organs and tissues;
- Moisten the joints;
- Dissolve minerals and nutrients for absorption during digestion;
- Make it easier for liver and kidneys and wash out the waste products;
- Transport oxygen and nutrients to the cells.
Why is water important when trying to lose weight?
It might seem paradoxical, but sometimes we can confuse thirst with hunger. Be it the brain sending the mixed signals, or our inability to interpret them – it happens. So when you feel hungry all of a sudden, it makes sense to have some water first instead of reaching for the fridge and see if it goes away. If it doesn’t, have a snack or a meal.
Drinking water before meal may also help you fill up faster without eating too many calories. That is why watery foods like vegetables, fruit and soups are good at filling up.
How much do we need?
It’s a well known ‘fact’ that we need to drink 2 litres of water per day. But in fact, it is not true. Water intake is strictly individual and should be calculated individually for you. The general rule in medicine is 30 ml of water per 1 kg body weight. That makes 1800 ml if you weigh 60 kg. However, if you live in a warm climate or it is a hot summer, make it 40 ml per 1 kg body weight. You also need more water when you work out and you need to drink it regularly during the workout.
It is not recommended to drink more than 200 ml at a time – this is the optimal amount to be absorbed. Drinking more water than needed is also not a good idea for a couple of reasons:
- Excess water can wash out the minerals and nutrients from your body;
- It can upset the electrolyte balance, such as sodium and potassium. Hyponatremia (low sodium) can have serious consequences.
And speaking of consequences, in rare cases they can be irreversible and lethal. Extreme excess of water can cause the cells in the body to swell, which in turn can cause a swelling of the brain or lungs. Such cases may be incompatible with life. Of course, we are talking extreme here – it would take a lot of water in a short period of time. It is important to remember though that nothing is good in excess. Too much of a good thing can be bad, too.
But you do need water, no more and no less than what is required for your body weight, taking into the account the conditions you live in.
Pure water is preferable the main fluid source, but contrary to the popular belief, tea, coffee, juice and soups DO count towards your daily goal. If you had a few cups of tea and juice, it doesn’t mean you should drink your 1800 ml of water on top of that. Moreover, it should be noted that about 20% of your water intake comes from food – from fruit, vegetables and other foods that contain water. Up to 90% of some fruit and veg is water.
Time to sum it up:
- Water is needed for your body to function properly. If it can’t function properly, don’t dream about your ideal weight – your body has other things on its list.
- Sometimes you can confuse the thirst with hunger. Drink some water before reaching for the food. If that doesn’t help, have a snack or a meal.
- If you substitute water for soda, juices and other sweet drinks, weight will come off much easier.
- Make it a habit to drink a glass of water before meal – it might help you fill up sooner and cut the amount of food eaten (if overeating is your problem or you’re eating out).
- Don’t forget to calculate your individual water intake by using the recommended guideline of 30 ml of water per 1 kg body weight (40 ml in hot weather).
- Drink regularly when working out, but not too much. Use your thirst as an indicator.