Dehydration and Weight Gain

It is estimated that about 45 million Americans diet each year, yet most Americans remain overweight or obese. Although there are many factors related to weight gain such as an unhealthy lifestyle, stress and even heredity, most people fail to realize how an overall inefficiency of water in the American diet can stand in the way of weight loss and healthy living. While most people focus on decreasing food and increasing exercise to lose weight, they fail to realize that proper consumption of water is just as important.

Chronic Dehydration

It is estimated that about 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. This means that most Americans are not getting the water they need to function properly. With the overwhelming variety of juice and soda in today's world, most Americans are grabbing for something besides water to quench their thirst. While other drinks besides water fulfill part of the body's daily water requirement, they do not provide the body with the amount of water it needs. Additionally, drinks containing caffeine act as a diuretic and actually cause the body to lose water.

Water is essential for the proper function of every cell in the body. It removes toxins from the body, is necessary for proper kidney function and also aids in metabolism.

Water is the key to maintain a healthy weight as it helps suppress our appetite, reduces our body's level of sodium and helps us maintain muscle tone. Dehydration causes a person to become hungrier, resulting in higher calorie consumption throughout the day.

Lack of water can even inhibit a person's workout routine. Being fully hydrated regulates the body's temperature and helps the muscles to work well, which in turn leads to a more productive workout.

If humans do not get enough water, the body becomes desperate and begins to retain whatever water it receives because it does not know when it will get more. Additionally when the kidneys do not receive enough water to flush out the toxins from our body the liver becomes overworked and is unable to metabolize fat.

How Much Water to Drink Each Day

While many people go by the "8 X 8 rule" — drink eight 8-ounce glasses (64 ounces) of water each day — more recently scientists and health experts have found that the amount of water needed each day is actually dependent on a person's weight.

In order to replace the body's water that is lost in a day and for the body to metabolize properly, a person needs to drink half of his body weight in ounces per day. For example, if a person weighs 130 pounds, he needs to drink about 65 ounces of water a day.

If you are increasing your daily consumption of water, consider including alkaline water as a choice, especially during exercise or in extreme heat when the body loses more water through perspiration. Alkaline water has multiple health benefits, offering key minerals the body needs to function properly such as potassium, calcium, sodium and magnesium.

Tips For Drinking More Water Each Day

Drinking 65 or more ounces of water in a day is easier said than done, so a good way of making sure you get enough water is to carry a bottle of water with you at all times to remind you to drink more.

Another tip is to start drinking water from the time you get up. You are more likely to hit your daily quota of water if you start early and spread your drinking of water throughout the day.

If you are hungry or experiencing a food craving, try drinking at least eight ounces of water right away and you will automatically feel fuller, will consume less calories and will be one glass closer to fulfilling your daily quota.

Try tracking how much water you drink every day so that you make it a habit to drink what your body needs. Put a sticky note in a prominent place and create a symbol, such as a smiley face, for each 8-ounce cup of water you need to drink and write it boldly at the top of the sticky note. Cross off each symbol as you drink your cup of water until you've marked everything off for the day. Not only will you reap the benefits of better health, but you will end each day with a satisfying sense of accomplishment.

Alexandra Ross is a freelance writer, food lover and healthy lifestyle writer.

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