When people ask me what they can do to improve their health (or lose some weight) I do a mini evaluation in my head.
- This person wants information on how to improve their health and fitness and won’t mind if I give a long winded answer
- This person wants a quick fix to lose weight
If I think it’s option 1 then I start to explain that it is mostly about diet and a little bit about the right kind of exercise (i.e. weight lifting). If I’m losing them here then I tell them to go read Tosca Reno’s “The Eat Clean Diet” as it’s a pretty amazing foundation for overall nutrition and has a decent exercise program.
If I still have their attention I start talking about having a combination of proteins, carbs and fats at meals, as well as the fact that different people require different amounts of food.
Then I tell them about this here blog for more info.
Occasionally people want more explanations and then I feel what some might call elation. This is what I love. I start getting into the how’s and why’s of things, talking about insulin, nutrient timing, supplements, intensity of workout, workout splits and what their goals are. This always makes me happy because I feel like I have helped.
BUT… what about option 2?
This happens a lot, and the eyes glaze over at the mention of macronutrient ratios (I don’t blame them). So I have made a promise to myself. My answer to this is now “Drink more water”.
It’s one of the few things that doesn’t need explanation and will make an appreciable difference in your health AND weight almost immediately. It’s also one of the things I can recommend free from worrying that someone might misinterpret my meaning.
Minor digression: I frequently worry that when I say to someone “eat more protein” they won’t think of that as “eat more whole food protein sources or high quality supplements by replacing processed carbs” and instead will think chicken McNuggets can help them meet this goal. I worry about people misinterpreting my advice ALL the time.
Anyways… WATER. I drink on average 3-5 litres of water per day. 3 litres is probably accurate on days I don’t work out and it’s closer to 5 on days I am in the gym (yup, I go through about 2 L of water every gym session including the water in my protein shake).
But why is drinking more water going to help someone lose weight?
- Water actually requires energy to process, so you burn calories just by drinking more water (not many calories, but anything is better than nothing)
- Water helps flush toxins and salt from your system which will decrease bloating and make you look smaller (please note that salt is not bad for you, but requires balance, like all things. Go here for more)
- Drinking more water means you retain LESS water and you will probably lose a few pounds of water weight just by doing this.
- Thirst is commonly mistaken for hunger, so if you are well hydrated, you will not be as hungry and hopefully you’ll eat a little less
- Water helps regulate you internal balance… a body in balance is one that is healthy, and a healthy body is a lot more likely to shed fat than one that is unhealthy.
Basically water is amazing!
- Weight-loss By Water (fit4liferbm.com)