Water can help you lose weight safely and effectively without side effects associated with diet pills or fad diets. Best of all, using water to aid weight loss is inexpensive and simple. Just turn on the tap or make an extra trip to the fountain to get started.
Sip Something Different
Water is calorie-free and contains no carbohydrates, sugar or fat. Switching from calorie-containing beverages to plain water automatically reduces the amount of calories you consume, helping you achieve weight loss even if your diet habits remain unchanged. If you are accustomed to drinking soda, sweetened iced teas or fruit juice throughout the day, begin by trading one beverage daily for a tall glass of water. This simple swap can save you 150 calories every day.
Once you've become adjusted, take the next step and swap another beverage for water too. Drinking two fewer 12 oz. cans of soda would save you 300 calories daily, enough to shed 31 pounds in a year.
You may not think of food as containing fluid, but some foods contain a high percentage of their weight as water. Fruits and vegetables are naturally rich in water, which makes them filling, but low in calories. As an additional benefit, fresh fruit and vegetables are high in valuable nutrients--including vitamins, minerals and fiber--all of which contribute to great health. For weight loss, choose fresh fruits and vegetables over dried varieties, which are more calorie-dense. Have a fresh apple or slice of watermelon for a snack, and enjoy a large salad with meals to help reap the benefits of this "hidden water."
Get Your Soup On
Soup is another food with a high proportion of water, making it helpful for weight loss. If you enjoy making homemade soups, try recipes that are broth- or stock-based. A handy trick to remember is that the lowest-calorie soups have liquid you can see through, such as chicken soup or minestrone. Steer clear of creamy or thick soups, which often are high in fat and calories. If you buy canned soup at the supermarket, adding some extra water can help dilute the sodium and provide more fullness with the same amount of calories. You may not even notice a difference in taste.
You can use plain water in place of other ingredients to help make recipes lower in calories. Instead of making hot cocoa with milk, try adding half milk and half water. You can also use the same trick with oatmeal or other cooked cereals. Adding water instead of whole milk will save you 150 calories per 8 oz. cup.
Try Some Variety
There's more than one type of water. Mineral water, sparkling water and seltzer water all have no calories, and the subtle taste differences may appeal to you. Read labels carefully when buying flavored or fortified water, as some varieties have added sugars and calories. Ideally, you should choose calorie-free water as much as possible for maximum weight loss.
Although rare, it is possible to consume too much water. Eight to twelve glasses of water a day is a healthy habit, but ask your doctor before consuming 1 gallon or more of water a day. Do not dilute infant formula with water unless specifically directed by a physician to do so.