We all know we need to drink more water. But do we really know the health benefits of it? How much do we really need? Conflicting opinions make this a common question. Today, I’m going to discuss just this — what the benefits of water really are and how much you need to stay hydrated!
A Plan Z Study
We did a small study as part of the development of the Plan Z diet. One group in our study was allowed to drink as much water as they wanted during the day and by most standards, that meant they didn’t drink very much. (I try to cajole people into drinking at least 70 ounces a day. You would not believe the number of excuses I get for not hitting the mark. It’s as bad as “my dog ate my homework.”)
Then there was another group who embraced the idea of drinking water and that group consistently drank more than 100 ounces of water per day. YAY for them!
The even bigger reason to celebrate? The group who drank the larger quantities of water lost a whopping 30 percent more weight than those who drank 70 ounces or less!
So there’s your first reason to drink more water – you’ll lose more weight!
And don’t worry, your body will get used to the increase. For the first few days when you increase your water intake, I’ll admit you’ll spend more time in the bathroom. The interesting thing though is that your body gets used to it. Your body then begins to crave water and might even begin to prefer water over other drinks.
What counts as water?
Some folks ask me, “Can I count my coffee as part of my water intake?” My answer is, technically yes, but it’s actually a bit counter-productive. Most folks realize that caffeine dehydrates you so it’s not good to count it as part of your 100 ounces. I do 100 ounces of water no matter what else I drink, and the other stuff just becomes a bonus. Make sense?
How much water should I drink?
The old adage is drink eight glasses of water per day. That’s old news now. There is a simple rule of thumb you can use to determine the minimum amount of water you should drink in a day. It’s the newest science. Drink a half ounce of water per day for each pound you weigh. Clock in at that amount and your body will stay hydrated. So if you are a 230 pound person, that’s 115 ounces of water. Just take your weight and divide by two. Easy math.
Now, why do you want your body that hydrated? Weight loss and pain management.
Water for Pain Management
If you are one of the millions of Americans who walks around in pain, listen up. Water can help with that!
So let’s say you drive long distances and your back hurts. Keeping your body hydrated will help decrease the pain. Caffeinated soda (yes, even diet soda) will not help. Water will though. This is because the discs in your back are filled with fluid. That fluid comes most easily from the water you drink. You drink anything else and your liver has to work hard to filter it first. Not very efficient.
If you want your discs to have less degeneration and just plain last longer, drink more water.
Discs also have a tendency to deplete during the day. They shrink. That’s why when you drive a long distance your back begins to hurt more as the day progresses. Then, your body replenishes the fluids in the discs while you are sleeping. So get good sleep too! The same applies for people who stand a lot, walk a lot, or just plain work a lot.
On another note: Let’s say you have a sports injury or arthritis in some of your joints. Whenever you have a muscle or joint area that you are babying because of the pain, you notice it gets stiff. That’s ’cause you’re not using it. But it’s also because you have inflammation in that area and toxins begin to settle in that spot (or spots). Those toxins begin to crystallize and clog up the circulation in that area. We know we need circulation to heal. Water will flush the toxins and allow your body more freedom of movement, less pain and faster healing.
So there are three more reasons to drink your water!
I’ve been at work for two hours. I’ve already consumed about 40 ounces of water. So those excuses about typing a lot or being busy are not excuses at all. That pitcher of ice water sits right next to my left hand. Every time I stop typing (even just to gather my thoughts), I drink more water. It only takes one hand. So even if you are driving, you can have a bottle of water at the ready. No excuses.
Bonus: Not into plain water?
Try cinnamon flavored water! It has a flavor reminiscent of snickerdoodles or oatmeal cinnamon cookies and makes a nice treat. Just cut an inch long piece of cinnamon stick and throw it in a pitcher of water! As the cinnamon steeps, it will pick up the flavor of the cinnamon and give you cinnamon water.
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