The importance of water
Water intake and fluid balance are among the least understood and most neglected areas of overall health and weight management. Life and health depend on water. In fact approximately 70% of your body weight is water. It is needed to carry vital substances to cells and waste away from cells. In addition water is necessary to moisten the lungs and respiratory tract, lubricate the joint surfaces and internal organs, and ensure proper digestion.
Because water is so important to health the body attempts to maintain proper fluid or water balance at all times. If you consume too little water, a hormone called aldosterone is secreted to stimulate the body to conserve every molecule of water and sodium that it can. This water retention is especially pronounced if protein intake is too low or if there is a hormone imbalance.
If you have abnormal kidney and heart function, you actually need to drink more water to get rid of excessive fluid. Drinking more water reduces the production of aldosterone and stimulates the excretion of water and sodium. Increasing water intake actually decreases water retesting as well as the bloating and added weight gain that accompanies it.
How to increase your water intake
Start keeping a fluid intake diary and make sure you are drinking at least two glasses of water for the next two days. After two days at this amount, increase to three glasses of water per day. From this point increase by one more glass every other day until you reach your breakthrough point. You will know when you have reached this point by the sudden reduction in signs of fluid retention, a sudden loss of weight of several pounds and a normal thirst.
Although much individual variation exists, some doctors recommend you drink at least one half you body weight in ounces of water per day. For example a 140lb person would drink 70 oz of water per day.
Some helpful hints to increase you water intake:
- In the morning, fill a 64 ounce bottle with water and finish it by the end of the day.
- Leave a post-it note to yourself at the desk, on the refrigerator or other conspicuous spots to remind you to drink a glass of water.
- Keep a water bottle that measures fluid ounces at your desk or wherever you spend a lot of time and take one when driving in your car. This can help you keep track of how much water you drink each day.
- Create a buddy system with your co worker, friend, or family member to make sure you are drinking your water
- Add a lemon, orange, or lime slice to your water for flavor