Because water is so important to both weight loss and overall health, we often get questions about healthy water consumption from patients at our weight loss clinic. We especially get questions about water and weight loss. People want to know how water can affect success in weight loss programs. So, in this article we’ll take a look at some reasonable guidelines a person can use to make sure they are getting enough water, but not too much water.
Things That Affect Your Water Needs
First, let’s dispel that old myth that everyone should be drinking “eight, eight ounce glasses of water each day”. We all have different needs for water intake and those needs can change day to day. It makes sense that a 250 lb. person needs much more water than a 150 lb. person for their body to function at its best (all other things being equal, of course). However, two people of the same weight will likely need very different water intake if certain individual circumstances are different. For instance, if any of the following circumstances come into play you will likely need more fluids:
- You live in a much warmer climate
- You live at high altitudes
- You are very physically active
- You consume alcohol
- You have an illness or health condition that results in fluid loss (vomiting, diarrhea, fever, etc.)
- You are breastfeeding
And if you have a combination of the factors above you will likely need significantly more fluids. An example of this would be if you: work out; live in a hot climate; and drink alcohol.
How Much Water Should You Drink?
So, given all of this, how much water should you drink? Well, we can’t answer that question specifically because we don’t know your exact circumstances, but we can give you guidelines on how to help make sure you are getting a healthy level of water:
- In general, drinking one half of your body weight in ounces of fluid per day is a good baseline for water intake. So someone that weighs 200 lbs. should drink 100 ounces per day.
- Remember that food usually has water content – sometimes a lot of water (watermelon is 90% water and soup is also very high in water content). On average, people get about 20% of their basic water needs from the foods they eat.
- Consider the water you get from other beverages like coffee, tea, juice, milk, etc. – these count. But water is the best source of hydration because it has no calories, is low cost, and typically available most anywhere. (Unfortunately, many of the beverages people drink have negative health impacts, but that is a topic for another article)
- If your urine is dark yellow, you very likely need more water.
- If you go many hours without urinating, you could be dehydrated and need more fluids.
- Drink a large glass of water first thing in the morning to rehydrate yourself since you’ve had little or no fluids overnight.
- Drink water or other fluids in reasonable amounts periodically throughout the day rather than large amounts just once or twice. This helps you to be consistently hydrated.
- If you exercise intensely or otherwise sweat a lot, you will not only need more water but probably also sodium and potassium to help keep your electrolytes in balance. You can use a sports drink to help keep that balance.
- So, how much water is too much? Although it is rare, you can get too much water – particularly if your electrolytes are too low. In extreme cases this can actually be a very dangerous situation, causing what is called hyponatremia.
- Use your thirst as a guide – your body is telling you it needs more fluids.
- Be cautious of drinking too much water in the evening and before bedtime unless you are truly thirsty or dehydrated. You want to avoid waking up frequently to use the bathroom, because getting enough sleep also has great health benefits.
What Are The Health Benefits of Water?
Water makes up the biggest chemical component in your body – about 60%, in fact. That is why it is so very important on a cellular level that you are consistently well hydrated. Every system and process in your body uses water in some way to function properly. So, not getting enough water (dehydration) can have really bad effects on your health. Dehydration can cause anything from loss of energy to vital organs actually shutting down.
These are some of the health benefits of getting sufficient water:
- Water flushes toxins from your body.
- Water helps the tissues in your eyes, nose and throat to stay moist and comfortable.
- Water helps your facial aesthetics and helps to keep your skin looking and feeling its best.
- Water regulates your body temperature.
- Water lubricates your joints.
- Water helps the kidneys and liver to flush waste products from your body.
- Water is essential to digestion and helps to keep you from being constipated.
- Water protects your vital organs, including promoting heart health.
- Water helps to prevent muscle fatigue so you can work out longer and better.
- Water is shown to be effective in aiding weight loss programs – try drinking a glass of water with lemon about fifteen minutes to a half hour before your meals.
So, we hope this article helped to answer your questions of how much water should I drink and how much water is too much? But, regardless of how you decide to make sure you are getting the water that your body needs to function at its best, the health benefits are definitely worth the effort.
InShape Medical is a wellness, anti-aging, aesthetics, and weight loss clinic located in the Apex-Cary area of the Triangle, serving the greater Raleigh, NC area. The health professionals at InShape Medical take a mind-body, positive health approach to helping their patients gain better health and well-being using the most effective protocols and practices. Health and wellness coaching is central to their approach and the reason that their clients have such a positive experience and high success rates. They can be reached at 919-468-3900 or visit them at www.inshapemed.com.