Thursday, June 16, 2011

That clear liquidy wet stuff!

WATER!!!!  Everyone knows what water is and most if not all people who have attempted weight loss know they need to cut out the sodas and other drinks and drink more water.  I know that I have read over and over about drinking water but still have not consumed enough.  Most recently I feel like a hypocrite.  In the hot climate we are experiencing right now - mostly 90s to mid 100s with 100% or close to it humidity - a frequent 911 call comes down to dehydration in one form or another.  My main advice to these people - drink more water!  I will often ask them how much they weigh and then divide it in half and that's how many ounces of water you need to drink daily.  That is if the temperature is around 70 degrees.  I will tell them how much better they will feel and that it is important for every caffeinated beverage they drink twice that in water, since caffeine will dehydrate.  After explaining all this to my patients, I will go to the ambulance and drink sodas, some gatarade (diluted with water) and sometimes straight water.  Do I get the necessary ounces?  NO.  Do I feel sick for it?  When I've been out in the heat - yes, I feel physically sick.  Being a hypocrite - definitely makes me feel sick.  So, why is water so good for you and why do you have to drink so much to get the full benefits.  Does water really help with being healthy and losing weight?  The truth is "if you eat right and exercise at the intensity, frequency and duration proper for you, but still can't get rid of a little paunch here and there, you're probably just not drinking enough water."

Over half of the human body is made up of water - or should be - and that's a lot of water!  Your body needs water to survive and if you aren't giving it water or enough water, your body does what it needs to, to survive.  Survival mode = body is made up of over 50% water + body not getting enough water on a daily basis = water retention!  Yes, your body in order to survive will hold onto water like it is a very precious commodity.  How does this effect you?  Well, let's take a little side street right here and jump to a topic that may not seem, but actually is, related - metabolism.  What is a definition of metabolism - there are a few out there but the best one is actually pretty vague: "The process by which a substance is handled in the body" (webster).  So, with that definition there is a lot of metabolizing going on but the one most people - including me - is concerned about is metabolizing fat and the subsequent weight loss.  This type of metabolizing actually takes place in the liver - when the liver converts stored fat to energy.  The liver has other jobs like filtering out the bad stuff in the blood and is the back up system for the kidneys.  If the kidneys can't do their job then the liver does it.  Simple enough but how do I know if my kidney's are doing their job and if they aren't how can I tell them to?  And can't the liver do all of it - if that's how it was designed.  The best way to picture this, is a secretary.  A secretary's job - amongst other things - is to set up appointments and manage the paperwork for the boss.  Let's say the secretary is very efficient at the job and is never behind, everything is perfect.  Well, the company decides to give the secretary another boss - so now instead of doing the paperwork and appointments for one boss, the secretary's load is doubled as there are now two bosses.  Obviously, doubled workload, same amount of time = back log/overload.  The secretary who was very efficient is now behind and loaded down.  It's the same with your liver.  The Liver is very good at it's job but when it has to pick up the kidney's slack then it gets bogged down and behind.  One of the results - not as much fat is being converted into energy and is, therefore, being stored!  Yuck - stored fat!  Every dieters worst nightmare.  So, we come back to a previous question - how do I know if my kidneys are working to their full potential and if they are relying on my liver to back them up - what can I do about it?  Simply put - water.  The kidneys need plenty of water to function and if they don't get it they lean on the liver to back them up.

Drinking more water is a lot easier said than done.  I know I have tried and failed multiple times in my water intake habits.  Running to the bathroom frequently is not always easy (when you are busy at work) and at times embarrassing - "but you just went to the bathroom", "yes, and I have to go again."  It also seems like a waste of time - the more I drink the more I pee - so why bother.  The truth is that the water you drink, is not the water you pee out 15 - 30 mins later.  The water your body is getting rid of is actually old, stored water that has a lot of nasty impurities in it.  The first few days to a week are the worst for flushing.  Once your body gets used to having enough water for it's needs, it will assume that the supply will continue to meet the demand.  With this being the case, your body will get rid of all excess water - including the water that it stored in your butt, thighs, waist, ankles - even flabby arms.  When your body gets rid of all this excess water you will be surprised at how great you look and feel.  You'll also get the added benefits of a healthy, glowing complexion - that comes with drinking adequate water - flushing away the impurities and hydrating the cells.  Just think of your skin as a sponge.  If the sponge is dry, it is coarse looking, flabby and dull.  When you soak the sponge or "fill" it up with water, it has a fresh, glowing appeal.  It is a "perfect figure for a sponge"!

So, with all that being said - water is key to being healthy and losing weight.  How much water?  That depends on how much you weigh but you can not overdose on water!!!!  As a rule of thumb, divide your weight in pounds and drink that many ounces - for example...  If you weigh 200lbs then you need 100oz of water.  Then if it is hot outside add another 24oz and if you exercise add another 8oz for every 30 mins of exercise.  This should give you a good starting point.  You should be able to tell if you are having enough after the first week or two.  Now, I've heard a lot of people tell me that all they drink is water.  That's good - healthy even.  The amount can be surprising though.  I challenge you for one day to take a note of how much water you really are drinking - don't try and up it or do anything just document.  Then try and improve on that if you need to.  I went out and bought a US gallon cooler - 128oz.  Every morning I fill it up and by the time I have dinner, it is empty.  If it's not then I know I haven't drank enough water today.  I stop at dinner for the obvious reason - I need a good night's sleep!!!  This may not work for you but something will, whether it is just giving yourself a sticker every time you get another glass of water.  Just remember to keep a track of it - or you will be surprised how quickly your day will go and you haven't had your water intake.  The biggest mistake then is to drink it all in one go - your body can't utilize it all that fast.

A couple of extra points when it comes to water and weight loss.  Water gives you a feeling of fullness - so drink at least 8oz about 30 mins before a meal and you won't eat as much.  Also, don't drink anything with your meal!  Water and fluids in general actually slow down metabolism - so you will eat more and won't burn as much!

Have fun and enjoy your water!!

Some info obtained from


  1. That's really interesting. Thanks for putting it all together. I will definitely do this. Was thinking I'll do a day as normal and keep track but I don't want to waste a day on that, lol! You have me all fired up. So, tomorrow I will drink 68 oz of water! I need to shift half a stone at least. Thanks for the tips ;)

  2. Very interesting. Will see how much I actually drink and adjust as necessary.