You do it all – eat a balanced diet, kill it every day in the gym, and are mindful about all of your wellness choices. But the scale won’t budge and your belly is as bloated as ever. You’re missing one thing: hydration.
It’s something that can have a huge impact on weight management but is often overlooked in the grand scheme of wellness.
The most important thing about hydration is what you are hydrating with. Water should be the only thing you guzzle on a daily basis! Sports drinks, sweetened teas, and soda do nothing for your body aside from adding empty, unnecessary calories from sugar. While sports drink companies often tout themselves as “the best” means for replacing electrolytes and fluid lost while exercising, the fact of the matter is that the average person doesn’t require that level of replenishment. Rather, the carbs within these drinks ultimately end up being stored in the body and contribute to even further weight gain.
Not only is it important to ensure that you’re drinking water, it’s also important to drink enough to meet your body’s needs for proper function. While the research about daily water needs varies from study to study, a general rule of thumb is to consume between 6 and 8 cups of water each day, adding one cup extra for every hour of intense physical activity. Dehydration can sometimes be confused for hunger, causing us to eat more than we normally would. Drinking enough water also helps aid the body in maintaining blood pressure, digestion, and sodium levels. The level of sodium in the body can have a tremendous effect on weight; consuming sodium without balancing it with water can lead the body to retain water in defense. It sounds counter intuitive, but drinking more water actually helps the body release water weight, which is often the cause of bloat.
If drinking 6-8 cups of water a day sounds daunting and unattainable, try one of these tips to help increase your water intake:
- Pick up a cute water bottle on your next grocery haul and keep it with you at all times! You’re much more likely to drink water when it’s within arm’s reach all day.
- Drinking nothing but water all the time can get boring, so flavor your water with low calorie fruits like lemons, lime, cucumbers, and berries.
- Set alarms! It sounds tedious, but sometimes we forget to drink water during busy, hectic days. Set a timer on your phone for 30 mins – when it goes off, drink half a glass of water and then reset the timer again.
If you are interested in learning how to properly hydrate your body and increase weight loss consider jumping into one of my 7 week online nutrition programs!