Why hydration is a critical component in your health journey.
You’ve probably heard millions of times throughout your life that staying hydrated is important. Do you really know why, though? Let’s break it down.
Hydration is important for myriad reasons, but specifically: sleep quality, cognition, overall metabolism, digestion, muscle and joint function, lipolysis (metabolizing stored fat), regulates body temperature, can help prevent infections, mood regulation, keeps organs functioning properly… the list goes on and on.
Conversely, being dehydrated has many negative effects. You’re losing water and electrolytes throughout the day via many methods: your breath, sweat, internal bodily functions, urine and bowel movements, etc. Being dehydrated means more water is moving out of your cells than into them. And as this happens, small amounts of electrolytes critical to cell function, such as sodium and potassium, are lost along with the water, so even mild dehydration can exhaust you and impact many of your daily bodily functions.
At FIT by Katy, during challenges, we recommend you drink 128 oz. of water every single day. Why? In addition to all of the reasons above, many studies support that staying fully hydrated is really helpful for fat loss. While researchers are not exactly sure, yet, on why water helps with fat loss, we do know that there is a positive correlation. Here are a couple of reasons why that is the case.
WATER NATURALLY SUPPRESSES YOUR APPETITE
Did you know that oftentimes when you think you’re hungry, you’re actually just thirsty? Drink 12-16 oz. of water before your meal to see if you’re really hungry, or not! There are multiple studies that support this claim and have shown that regular water consumption + drinking water before a meal helps reduce overall body weight, body fat, and BMI. Water helps take up space in the stomach, and when you’re full, you’re less likely to overindulge (especially on snacks!)
WATER HELPS INCREASE CALORIE BURN
Let’s be clear: we’re talking about a 2-5% increase in your body’s resting energy expenditure. So drinking more water alone is not going to impact much, but hey, every little bit counts, right? In multiple studies it was suggested that if you drink cold or room water temperature, your body starts expending slightly more energy than if you did not.
WATER REMOVES WASTE FROM YOUR BODY
Our kidneys and liver are constantly working hard to get rid of all toxins in our bodies, and they depend on water to function well. If you’re dehydrated your body is literally incapable of removing waste, toxins, urine and feces appropriately. If waste builds up in your system you can often feel bloated, swollen and lethargic..often adding inches (especially around your midsection). Staying hydrated ensures that you’re expelling all waste, definitely impacting around 3-5 pounds of body weight.
WATER DECREASES YOUR CHANCES OF CONSUMING LIQUID CALORIES
We all know that liquid calories are the worst. Not only are they normally high-sugar content, but you don’t even feel full after consuming those calories! Lame. It can be really easy to consume too many calories through liquid sources like juice, soda, sweet coffees, sports drinks, etc. and replacing those with water can have a real impact on your health journey. Not just losing weight, but ensuring your system isn’t having high insulin spikes throughout the day.
WATER IS KEY TO BURNING FAT CELLS
Water is a critical component in something called lipolysis, which is the process of metabolizing stored fat. The first part of this overall process is hydrolysis, which is the chemical breakdown of a compound due to reaction with water. This is achieved by breaking a covalent bond in the fat cells by inserting a water molecule across that bond. Basically, in the simplest terms, water molecules slowly infiltrate fat cells in order to break the fat cells down. If that doesn’t make you want to drink more water, what will?
WATER (AND ELECTROLYTES) IMPACT YOUR WORKOUTS
As we all know, exercise and movement are critical to any healthy lifestyle. Water helps your connective tissue, muscle tissue, joints and tendons to move correctly and without pain. This reduces your risk of injury and fatigue, meaning your workouts will be better. It of course also helps your lungs, heart and other organs function properly, all of which is crucial to success!
HONESTLY, THE LIST COULD GO ON
This post would be miles long if we really did a deep dive into each reason why water is so important to your body. We’re going to stop here and hope that we’ve convinced you on just how important staying hydrated is. Now, let’s make sure you know how to stay hydrated.
THE 411 ON HOW TO STAY HYDRATED
Of all U.S. individuals aged 20-50, only 60% consume the recommended daily amount of water. Don’t fall into the other 40%.
- Your activity level, age, location, etc. can all impact the exact recommendation of water needs, but at FIT by Katy we recommend 128 oz. (1 fluid gallon of water in the U.S.)
- Drink plain water, first. If you don’t love just water, there are other ways to consume it: add fresh fruit, add a sugar-free flavor enhancer like Mio, sneak it into your protein shakes, etc.
- Carry around a gallon or half-gallon water bottle. These keep you on track to know how much you have already had as the day passes by. Believe me, you don’t want to drink half a gallon of water in the evening - you’ll be up all night in the bathroom!
- You should drink water before, during and after exercise. Yes, even during the workout.
- Eat more water-filled fruits and veggies like melons, cucumbers, lettuce, celery, berries, grapes, tomatoes.
Just drink the water. We know it’s not the most fun thing in the world, but there’s very little else that can give you as much benefit as staying well-hydrated, especially during a FIT by Katy challenge.