Water is the very essence of life.
You can live for a long time without food (protest hunger strikers have survived for over 10 weeks without anything to eat), but no-one can survive more than a few days without water.
Water serves many purposes for us. Your body uses water for moving the necessary nutrients to the places in your body that need them, and removes waste material from your body as well. It also helps the various organs in your body communicate with one another by providing a medium through which they can send electrical impulses to one another.
Here’s a very important fact. A 5% reduction in bodily hydration will equate to a 20% fall in usable energy levels, which if you are exercising is a very serious consideration!
Water has zero calories, and as long as the water that you are drinking is alkaline water, it helps to offset the natural acidity of your body too.
The final factor about water is that when you drink it, it fills you up. This might sound simplistic, but you should pay a great deal of attention to this because when your stomach feels full, you don’t want to eat.
Consequently, drinking plenty of water will naturally reduce the amount of food that you think you have to eat to overcome the feelings of hunger that you believe you are suffering.
You often see it quoted that you should drink eight glasses of water a day, but while this is a very reasonable starting point, the amount that you should drink as an individual depends upon your own metabolism.
Nevertheless, eight glasses of water a day would equate to somewhere around 3 to 4 liters, which is certainly a reasonable level of water to drink as a starting point, but if you want to drink more than this, then go for it – unless you drink the equivalent of a tanker truck of water, no harm will come of it, and it will add no calories.
Also, you have to be aware that your body often confuses hunger and thirst, because in both cases, your metabolism is calling out for something to fill an empty space in your stomach.
Hence, when you are on a diet, try drinking water every time you believe that you are hungry. Give it 15 minutes to see if the feeling of hunger persists, because the majority of the time, it won’t, so water helps you to avoid taking in more calories than you need.
Before you sit down for a meal – indeed, if you’re cooking at home, before you even start preparing or cooking the meal – drink at least one large glass of water, possibly two, depending on how long the preparation and cooking process takes. Once again, this will reduce the empty space in your stomach, make you feel less hungry and get rid of the temptation to nibble as you’re going along or to try the food on numerous occasions during the cooking process.
For the same reason, drink at least two glasses of water when you first get out of bed in the morning. For most people, the time between dinner in the evening and breakfast is their longest period without food, so it is natural that you might feel especially hungry in the morning.
A couple of glasses of water will suppress your desire to eat and reduce the amount of food you are going to consume for breakfast.
Water is the most important fluid you can take in, and you should therefore try to replace as many as possible of the other drinks that you might take, with water. However, it is inevitable that there are times when you want to drink something other than water, in which case all you need to do is to seek some kind of sensible balance.
For example, if you drink ordinary tea or coffee, both contain caffeine which is a known diuretic. Consequently, for every cup of tea or coffee you drink, you should drink at least two glasses of water to replace lost fluids.
Similarly, some medicines and herbs also have diuretic qualities, so you need to drink sufficient water to replace those lost fluids.
Water helps to clean out your body and fill your stomach at the same time. Add this to the fact that it has absolutely no calories whatsoever, and you can understand why water should form an essential part of any sensibly planned natural weight loss program.