While water does not provide direct energy and calories it is essential in the proper functioning of your body.

The human body is made up of 60% water. Every cell in the body contains water and it is required for processes such as digestion, circulation, and temperature regulation. It also helps keep your skin, hair and nails healthy, strong and radiant.

Not getting enough water can cause low energy, headaches, irritability and a decreased immune system. Proper hydration is not only important for your body’s function it is also crucial for weight and fat loss.


Water Retention and Fat Loss

When you do not drink enough water, your body retains water making you bloated and increases your weight. Let’s think about a scenario to illustrate.

Imagine being deserted on a secluded island with only 1 bottle of water.

Having no other access to fresh water you would want to hold on to this bottle of water as long as you could, taking small sips when thirsty. Your body does the same. When not getting adequate water our bodies are designed to hold on to any water it does have and stores extra as a reserve.

Now let’s imagine the deserted island had a fresh spring with unlimited drinking water.

You could drink as much as you like because you have endless amounts in the spring. You wouldn’t have to hold back. Your body is the same way. When it is getting enough water it does not have to retain water and gets rid of the excess. Drinking enough water will help you do this.

In fact increasing your water intake is one of the fastest ways to lose weight and inches. Since water is important in all metabolic processes in our body it is also crucial for fat loss. I challenge you to increase your water by an extra liter this week to see the effects it has on your goals.


The Dangers of Dehydration

The earliest signs of dehydration is low energy and headaches. While these are not pleasant side effects they are not directly detrimental to your health. Long term dehydration can lead to serious side effects however including digestive issues, kidney malfunction and circulation problems.

Many people are not concerned about these effects however because they do not feel thirsty and they only drink fluids when thirst arises. What many people do not realize however is by the time a person feels thirsty they are already dehydrated. Relying on thirst alone can be dangerous in the long run.


Are you getting enough water?

We all need different amounts so one way to tell is to take the urine test. If your urine is dark or yellow and has a strong smelling odor then you are not drinking enough. If it is a light yellow color or clear with no odor then you are on the right track of getting adequate water.


Water and Digestion

When a client mentions they are having digestive issues such as bloating, constipation or stomach pains shortly after eating the first thing I always ask is how much water they are drinking. Water is needed not only to assist in the absorption of nutrients it also helps lubricate your digestive tract helping everything move through smoothly.

Without adequate water the motility in your intestines is slowed down and digested food can even get stuck creating bloating and constipation. When following a healthy eating plan fiber is usually increased by consuming a variety of vegetables, fruit and whole grains. When you increase fiber your water intake should be increased simultaneously to help it easily pass through your digestive system.

Without adequate water the fiber creates a paste in your intestines which has no where to go. If you have ever experienced the sudden increase in fiber without increasing your water you know this is not a very pleasant feeling. Increasing your water intake by 1 – 2 L more than your usual intake will help your digestive system run smoothly and decrease digestive issues.

An increase in protein also requires an increase in water to help decrease extra stress on the kidneys. Higher protein diets can be taxing on the kidneys as the amount of nitrogen that must be filtered by the kidneys increases with protein intake. Water is essential in this process to help with proper kidney filtration. Not getting adequate water on a higher protein diet, especially long-term, can result in serious side effects such as kidney stones, bladder conditions and kidney failure.


Water Requirements

How much water is enough? Sedentary individuals need the average 8 – 10 glasses of water per day (2 L). Those who are active require between 3 – 4 L of water a day. If you are consuming more fiber and protein in your diet than usual you may need to increase your water to 4 – 5 L per day. We all require different amounts of water so it is important to experiment with what works best for you.

Try drinking more water for a few days to see how you feel. It will take your body a few days to adjust so frequent bathroom trips are normal at first. Once your body gets used to it’s new water intake you will notice how it misses it when you do not get enough.


Here are a few tips to help you increase your water intake:

  • Drink 500 ml as soon as you wake up. This not only ensures you drink 1/2 L of water first thing in the morning it helps to speed up your metabolism and gets your digestive system working.If your goal is to aim for 4 L of water per day try to drink at least 2 L of water before noon. The more water you drink during the day, the more time you have to fit it in. If you wait until the evening to catch up you will be making trips to the bathroom all night.
  • Drink 1 – 2 L during workouts. Your body will be more receptive to larger amounts of water while you are working out so take advantage of this time.
  • Drink 500 ml with or 30 min before each meal. This will help with digestion and is an easy way to measure your intake.
  • Keep a BPA-free water bottle with you that you can easily measure your intake. Place elastic bands around the top of the bottle and move one of them to the bottom for each time you fill it up.
  • Flavor your water with fresh lemon or cucumber slices. Both aid in digestion and the fresh flavor helps you guzzle it down. Caffeine free herbal teas count towards your water intake and can be consumed hot or cold. Water added to shakes or smoothies also counts so make sure you factor these in your intake.

Drink up! Increase your water today to feel more energetic and healthy and watch the effects proper hydration has on your body!


**Originally published on wbffshows.com February 28, 2014