Water, seems simple enough on the surface and when you take the time to view the world, it is literally everywhere you look. About 70% of the earth is made up of water and the remaining 30% has water bottled up, flavored and sitting on a shelf at every store you come across. Our friends, families, doctors, co-workers and even that person sitting near you on the bus are all talking about drinking more water. When we ask the obvious question of why, the answer is pretty much the same..."because it's good for you". Which then will lead you to ask the next set of questions, which sound something like "why is it good for me" or "which water should I drink" and my favorite "how much do I drink"
All good questions and depending on who you ask and when, the answers will all be different. As it is with the theory that not every diet works for every person, water is the same way. So lets take a look at some water facts and how it helps improve the way we live, how we lose weight and what it does for us.
Tap water or bottled water is a good place to start for all of us who need to drink more. Most people live with the idea that tap water is not as clean or healthy as bottled water. What may come as a surprise is that for years tap water has lived with strict guidelines set forth by the FDA. Whereas, bottled water does not have to do anything close to the same level of regulating or reporting. No matter where you live it is easy to access your towns water quality reports. Tap water does go through a strict filtering process and does have levels of minerals in the water. Bottled water also has the same filtering processes and also contains minerals. If you are against tap water, because of the taste or the idea of something being added into it you can purchase several in-home filters which will make you feel better when drinking. There are even home delivery options available from companies which supply office style water filtration systems. Here in my home we have a Brita Filter attached to the sink in the kitchen and perhaps it is all in my head, but I think that the water tastes fresher when I use it. If you are going to buy bottled water take the time to do some research. Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit research and advocacy group based in Washington DC published a report last year on the condition of bottled water from over 150 different labels and the results were not as clean as you would have suspected. One group though has stood out for years on several reports for the quality of their water, Nestle Pure Life Purified Water has been receiving top grades from multiple sources for many years now. You can grab the full report by clicking here
So what does water actually do for you when you drink it? Water plays a huge role in how our bodies function, it helps lubricate the joints, improves our skin, aides the bodies organs, transports vital nutrients and helps remove waste. The recommendation on consuming water is 8 cups per day or 64 ounces. For most people drinking that much water can be difficult, try adding in lemon to a glass of water to add flavor if it helps. Another way to look at how much to drink is substituting water in place of another beverage. The national average for coffee consumers in the United States equals about 3 cups per day and the standard size coffee is 14 ounces. By reducing or substituting water in place of coffee you can not only eliminate harmful chemicals and sugars from your diet, such as caffeine, you also can easily consume almost half of your needed water intake!!
So if you drink water does it mean you lose weight overnight? NO! Drinking water is a great step in the right direction in losing weight though. When we drink water the body gets more than the benefits I spoke about before. We tend to feel full when we drink water and that eliminates the desire by our bodies to keep on eating. We eliminate certain cravings simply because the body has a calorie free way of feeling full. Drinking water during the day and especially during meals helps maintain that feeling of being full. If you combine the drinking of water with regular exercise, the body will begin to reduce the levels of fat through the exercise while the water levels help cleanse our systems. In order to lose weight effectively you will need to combine the water with exercise and diet.
So here is my bottom line water advice. Yes, water will help you in many ways but it is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to losing weight. Start with drinking what feels comfortable for you and don't just stand at the sink and drink 64 ounces of water in one big gulp. Smaller glasses/bottles throughout the day will work best and again only drink what you can and increase your intake gradually.
I have said in many of my posts that following my own advice isn't always easy. I began this journey almost a year ago as a Chef and now as the calendar changes to 2013, I am taking this journey as a Health Coach and a Chef. To this day, I am still not getting enough exercise and I am not always consistent on how much water I drink. What stands out the most to me is the fact that I was 267 pounds at one point and my clothes kept getting bigger and bigger. I began to get a small amount of exercise and began substituting water in place of high sugar soda. When I noticed that the clothes were getting loose and that I felt better, I dismissed it as my own imagination. Now I am down to 235 pounds and I plan on losing even more as time moves forward. This isn't a sprint but more of a marathon and life style change. Support is always needed and as you begin your own journey, don't hesitate to reach out to family, friends, or me!!
Coming up next week is an interesting look at SUPER FOODS!! (along with recipes) See everyone then!
-Sean Pike, Health Coach and Chef for Kitchen Time