Counter-intuitive as it seems, one of the best fitness strategies out there – not to mention one of the cheapest – is drinking water to lose weight. Lots of it. Water is one of the heaviest non-metallic substances on the planet, and though we’ve all heard that we need to gulp down at least eight tall glasses of the stuff every day, nobody does this right before a weigh-in. But the truth is, if we’re trying to lose a few pounds, we need that much water, and more.
It’s easy to understand why need to drink water for general health. Our bodies are about nine-tenths water (our brains are 95% water, so the next time someone accuses you of having mush for brains, consider that they’re not all that wrong), and we need to deplete what we lose through sweat when we exercise (which we should be doing). Our joints require water to move without creaking, and our skin needs water to avoid looking like Willie Nelson. But drinking water to lose weight? What’s up with that?
Well, when you consider that the biological process of burning fat is nothing other than an electro-chemical reaction, it starts to make sense. Our bodies require electrolytes to do this job, and if we aren’t consuming enough water that process starts to shut down. And because we are using stored fat rather than ingested calories for energy when we diet and exercise, we are asking that fat-burning system to work overtime; hence, the need for more water to grease the electrolytic process.
But here’s the real secret. Our digestive systems are just like our muscles in one aspect: they consume calories when in motion. Which means, when we drink water we are using our digestive system to process it. It summons the organs to gather their wastes for disposal, which in itself is a calorie-consuming process. The more we drink, the more that process is set in motion. And if the water we drink on an empty stomach is ice-cold, we expend a quick burst of calories to warm it to body temperature and replace the body heat depleted through contact. In fact, if you drink just two glasses of ice cold water first thing in the morning before breakfast, you’ll would burn an extra 200 calories, which amounts to about a half pound of equivalent fat burn.
Of course, any good news in the weight loss world comes with fine print, and here it is: drinking water to lose weight without diet and exercise will only quench your thirst and not your desire to drop a few pounds.