Most people don’t really take their daily water intake seriously enough, and for the first 34 years of my life, I didn’t either. Surprisingly enough though, part of my fitness journey included discovering why drinking enough water desperately needed to become a vital part of my daily fitness routine, and why it should become a major part of yours as well. Join Sarah for the fifth post in her free fitness series (after battling an eating disorder and losing over 100 lbs), as she explains the importance of getting enough water in your daily diet.
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Why is drinking water so important to lose weight?
Fitness guru’s (and pretty much every fit person I have ever met) everywhere are constantly, sometimes annoyingly, telling people to “drink more water”…and I used to find it super annoying…that is, until I started making drinking enough water every day a top priority in my life.
If you think about it, every single function of the human body requires water… every single thing! So naturally if we aren’t getting enough of such a vital resource that our body needs, of course our bodily functions are not going to be operating as well as they could be… I use car analogies quite a bit in my fitness series, I know,… but think about how well your car would run if you weren’t giving it enough oil or gas…I shouldn’t have to describe what would happen because I think we all kinda understand that the results wouldn’t be the greatest…the same is true with our bodies need for getting enough water to function properly.
When I set out to finally overcome my eating disorder and figure out fitness, I decided that I had to think of all the easiest “healthy fitness habits” out there that I felt like I could realistically stick to, and trying to make sure that I was drinking enough water seemed like it could be the simplest ones to achieve, so my water consumption is actually also the first thing that I started keeping track of that led to my fitness journaling (a post earlier on in my series as well).
How much water do you need to drink to lose weight?
I swear that everyone out there has a different opinion about how much water is the appropriate amount of water to drink each day… but I’m a total simplifier, so I wasn’t going to both track and type my weight into a calculator that would tell me how many ounces that I need, and then do it again every time I dropped more weight…it makes more sense to me to just go by the amount that I have heard of the most, and that amount is a gallon a day (for adults).
A gallon of water per day has been the perfect amount for me to not feel water-logged, and I never ever feel dehydrated (I have only ever needed more when I did a really long workout or spent a ton of time in a hot tub or outside on a hot day sweating like crazy).
If you’re on the smaller side…or on the obese side, your needs could definitely be either less or more than a gallon of water per day, so that is almost the only time I would personally recommend using a water intake calculator.
How did I get into the habit of drinking a gallon of water per day?
The way that I got into the habit of drinking a gallon of water per day was by asking a friend, (thank you Roxanna), to join me in a month long challenge to drink enough water…and we would report to, and encourage, each other (having a bit of accountability involved was key) every few days.
Feeling like I wasn’t doing it alone was really helpful for me…and I kept to it pretty dang faithfully because I wanted to be able to tell my friend that I was doing what I promised that I would try to do.
So, how big of a difference did drinking a gallon water for one month make(what were the results)?
At the end of our month-long challenge, I decided that it was time to weigh myself and see if there had been any change whatsoever in my weight…and as luck would have it, I was beyond astonished to find that I had dropped a few pounds with such little effort as drinking water.
Those good results actually inspired me so much that I was able to to continue to find easy little habits that I could develop in order to get fit, and I never would have dreamed that “drinking enough water” for a month would lead to me finally figuring out fitness to a point that I am fit for the first time in my life!
Tips on how to get your daily water in without having to pee all of the time:
The only negative part I have found when it comes to drinking so much water everyday is that you have to pee very often, all day, or night, long if you’re not strategic about when you are getting your water in…yes, if it goes in, it’s going to need to come out..lol.
I think that it’s a common misconception that you need to drag out your water drinking all day, and I have come to learn that that is just not the case…at least from what I have learned through lots of personal experience.
When is the best time of day to drink water?
I have found that the way to get in the habit, and stick to it, without needing to pee every half hour like clockwork is to drink my water by the quart, and I time it strategically throughout my day.
I drink my first quart of water with my breakfast (which is typically 9am every morning after the hustle and bustle of getting kids to school, when I actually have a little bit of time to focus on my own needs).
I drink my second quart of water with my lunch (which is typically around 1pm and it is my heaviest meal of the day).
I drink my third quart of water with my afternoon sweet snack (I only eat junk carbs during the middle of the day when I am going to be burning them off).
I drink my fourth quart with dinner and then I am done for the day…unless I was out in the heat or sweat a lot that day…then I might need more than a gallon to replenish myself.
I space my water consumption out like this because then I only need to relieve myself about a half hour to forty-five minutes after drinking each quart…I refuse to be tied to the bathroom every hour of every day (yes, I know that people with weak bladders may not have the luxury of it working to plan out essentially when you’re going to need to pee… but remember what I mentioned in my strength training post about how when you have taken the time to build a strong core, it strengthens your entire pelvic floor and for me it improved bladder control even after having had four babies. Give that Strength Training post a read if you need a refresher on how to easily achieve those results.).
When I was first starting out with drinking water I was really bad about not finishing my water until nearly the end of the day, and the problem with that is that it means that I was often waking up to go to the bathroom…and I’m sorry, and not to sound like a “princess”…but my sleep it too precious to me to be woken up by my bladder to go to the bathroom.
Think about it, we tell our kids that they can’t drink water after a certain time so that they’re not up constantly to go potty…we can have the same rule for ourselves too.
Another thing that you could try to get in the habit could be something that I learned when I was in High School. I spent one semester as an office aide, and while doing so, I learned from watching the “office ladies” that they had this funny little rule for themselves that they could not drink any soda until they had gotten in their daily water requirements... at the time it seemed funny/odd to me, but if you consider that they were all fairly fit, and I was a chubby teenager…obviously there was a reason they were doing it but it went right over my head.
You could easily set a similar boundary for yourself, whether it be soda or coffee, or whatever drink that motivates you to quickly get your water intake done for the day so that you can enjoy your other beverages… it’s really not a bad idea…at least I think so.
Teaching yourself to drink enough water may sound silly, or too simple to actually work or make that big of a difference, but the thing about fitness is that…fitness is just a series of healthy habits that you kinda cobble together throughout your day and repeat it every day throughout your life.
What are the long-term health benefits that I have noticed from drinking water on a regular basis?
- Drinking water has helped me reduce my sugar cravings, which I feel was instrumental in helping me stay on track to lose over 100 pounds and to maintain that weight loss.
- It has helped me reduce the inflammation in my body. I have suffered from a chronic back injury for many many years that would often cause inflammation to flare up to the point that sometimes I couldn’t walk, I have also had a skin condition that would flare any time my body had too much inflammation and both maladies were incredibly painful and no fun…however, I haven’t had issues with either of them since I got in the habit of drinking enough water.
- It keeps my hair hydrated, and if you have seen me in person, you know that I am known for my long mane of healthy long hair, so I was happily surprised to find that it helps keep my hair healthy.
- I read somewhere years ago that often times when we feel “hunger pangs” we are actually really just thirsty…so in keeping that in mind, and never letting myself get dehydrated, it has also helped me learn to read the signs/signals of true hunger that my body has been trying to tell me.
- I honestly believe that hydrating myself will help me heal faster as well as just plain live a longer and healthier life than if I hadn’t gotten in the habit…it has made my quality of life considerably better already.
So, if you’re still on the fence about whether or not you should start being a water “Nazi” and forcing yourself to drink a certain amount of water per day… it may be time to shift your thinking a little bit and realize that you are a living thing that just plain needs water for survival. You need to hydrate yourself because you love yourself, your family, and your friends, and you want to be happy and healthy and unless you live in a third world country where clean water is scarce…there is really no excuse not to!
I am so thankful that I gave myself enough love and attention to get in the habit of drinking a gallon of water per day…it has changed my life for the better to a pretty big extreme if you consider the domino affect it had on my fitness because losing over one hundred pounds, and keeping it off, is no small feat.
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*This post was originally posted to this website on December 20th 2021, & has been/will continue to be updated on a regular basis to ensure the best user experience/ add any additional relevant data, and increase social share-ability. Also, please keep in mind that I am no Dr. , nor am I a fitness expert in any way other than learning things the hard way, so take the advice or leave it, but use your best judgement.