As a calorie-free beverage, water is naturally conducive to weight loss, but it may make an even bigger difference than you think. Your body is mostly water, and MayoClinic.com notes that drinking eight glasses of it a day helps keep your tissues moist, delivers vital nutrients to cells, flushes out toxins and prevents dehydration and fatigue. According to Melina Jampolis, CNN.com’s physician-nutrition specialist, being even 1 percent dehydrated can make your metabolism drop significantly enough to complicate weight loss efforts, so drinking enough water is especially important when you’re trying to slim down.
Drink most of the water you have daily before meals. According to 2010 studies from Virginia Tech researcher and professor Brenda Davy, overweight and obese participants who drank two cups of water prior to eating main meals lost nearly 30 percent more weight than people who didn’t drink the water and simply followed a low-calorie diet. Davy believes that water may suppress appetite to some extent by filling up the stomach and producing a feeling of satiation.
Try drinking a glass or two of water when you feel hungry for a snack during the day. Jampolis states that the body often has difficulty distinguishing between sensations of hunger and thirst, so it’s not uncommon to eat something when a drink of water would satisfy just as well. If the water you drink doesn’t stave off hunger pangs, go ahead and have a snack, but limit it to 100 or 200 calories and choose natural, whole foods if possible.
Track your daily calorie intake along with your water consumption. An online calorie counter can help you find calorie values for certain foods and note daily totals for you. To lose weight, you need to reliably burn more calories than you eat, regardless of how much water you drink. Thus, it can be helpful to set a daily calorie goal as well as a daily water goal of eight glasses. If you cut daily calories by 500, you’ll lose about a pound per week.
Keep up your strategy of drinking eight cups of water per day and following a reduced-calorie diet for at least two months. Make sure to weigh yourself before you start so you’ll be able to judge accurately how well the plan is working. Progress may be slow, since it takes a savings of 3,500 calories to lose one pound, but it should be gradual and consistent. If you haven’t lost any weight after two months, speak with your doctor to discuss how you could effectively change your plan.