A water diet is now one of the most Googled words by people who wish to lose weight fast and get ready for swimsuit season. What is a water diet exactly and, most importantly, how much water do we have to drink, when and how should we drink water in order to lose weight? Let’s find it out together in this article.
If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.
( Loren Eiseley)
What is a water diet?
Many people may think that, in order to follow a water diet, they have to quit eating and rely on drinking water only. Actually, a water diet is a little bit different. It is a diet plan, involving drinking large amounts of water to tap into its capacity to stimulate weight loss, in association with a low-calorie diet.
We all know water is essential for our general wellbeing and overall health, but now we also know water may help us lose extra weight, providing that we follow a well-balanced diet and take a little physical exercise.
I know firsthand that proper hydration is essential for both our physical shape and health. Between 2009 and 2010 I lost 11 kilos, by simply limiting the number of calories, taking physical exercise for 30 minutes a day and, above all, by starting to drink more water.
As far as I am concerned, I didn’t have the habit of drinking much water, and I think I used to confuse the feeling of being thirsty with being hungry. In a way, I had to “train my sense of thirst” and develop the habit of drinking enough water during the day.
This new habit helped me return in good shape and enhanced my overall wellbeing and health. Thanks to increasing the amount of water I drank, I managed to battle water retention and digestion issues.
Let’s see now why water is so important for a successful weight loss journey.
5 ways water helps lose weight
#1 – Water helps boost metabolism
Proper hydration of the body is essential for its good functioning and an increased metabolism. It has been shown that drinking water on an empty stomach boosts metabolism by 20-30 %, which means the body burns out calories and transforms them in energy faster.
#2 – Water helps keep appetite at bay
Water fills the stomach and helps battle the hunger pains. Drinking more often during the day helps avoid reaching out for snacks. The secret is to drink the water in small sips, to fully tap into its filling capacity.
#3 – Water helps prevent and battle water retention
There are many people suffering from water retention and imperfections related to this disorder, such as cellulitis. The main risk factors are:
- being overweight,
- sedentary lifestyle,
- drinking too much coffee and alcohol,
- wrong eating habits,
- wearing heels and tight-fitting clothes,
- poor sleep, etc.
Water becomes our best ally, helping us enhance blood circulation and eliminate excess fluids. Usually, it is recommended to drink at least 1,5 liters of water a day to battle water retention, and during the summertime or during workout it is recommended to drink more, since you sweat more. A sign water intake is to be increased is when urine starts to smell bad and becomes dark in color.
#4 – Water helps flush out toxins
As mentioned above, water helps flush out excess fluids and toxins of the body, which build up not only in the lymphatic system and in the fat tissue thus causing cellulitis, but also in the liver, lungs, kidneys and bowel. It is important to cleanse the body in order to keep metabolism, digestion and immune system healthy.
What is more, water helps battle costiveness, and bowel regularity is fundamental to weight loss and to maintaining of the ideal weight.
#5 – Water helps limit calories
We all know that the number one rule of losing weight says you must assume less calories. Since water makes us full, it prevents us from getting too many snacks and eating too much at meals.
Tips to get used to drinking more water
#1 – Remember to drink at regular intervals
It helps feeling less hungry. The goal here is to limit the calorie intake, by having fewer snacks and eating less during the day.
If you fail to remember to drink, try setting the alarm clock in order to drink a glass of water every hour. Over time, drinking water becomes a habit, and you don’t have to set the alarm clock to remember to drink.
#2 – Drink a glass of water when you are hungry
As stated above, it may happen to misunderstand the signals the body sends to us, and confuse thirst with hunger. It happens when we are not accustomed to drinking often during the day. Though, as drinking water becomes a habit, you will learn how to recognize thirst better.
Moreover, drinking water when you would like to eat something instead, makes you full and distracts your mind from your cravings and push away the thought of eating something.
#3 – Drink a glass of water before the meals
Especially if you drink water slowly, sip after sip, it induces the feeling of satiety and helps you eat less.
#4 – Replace soft drinks with water
Soft drinks and fruit juices as well are packed with lots of calories, not to mention the additives, which are harmful to our health. It is advisable to limit their consumption and replace them with water.
In order to make water delicious on the palate, you may add lemon juice, or a few drops of essential oils, such as bitter orange, mint, lemon etc. They have to be essential oils for internal use.
Other healthy alternatives are fruit decoctions, teas and herbal teas, that you can drink hot as well as cold in the summertime.
#5 – Choose water with little sodium
Sodium promotes water retention, so if your issue is water retention, you should opt for water containing little sodium.
Some more advice I want to give you is to pay attention to all those foods packed up with glutamate, and to try using as little salt as possible. You may also try replacing salt with gomasio (a dry condiment made from unhulled sesame seeds and salt), or replacing salt with spices and herbs.
#6 – For each alcohol drink, drink twice as much water
Alcohol causes dehydration in our body and as a consequence, water retention. In order to counteract the negative effects of alcohol, you have to drink twice as much water per every alcohol drink.
#7 – Try drinking lukewarm water
Or at least, room temperature water, if it is summertime. Lukewarm water helps enhance metabolism, burn excess fat, flush out toxins and lose weight.
Fasting – one day a week only water
If you don’t have specific health issues and you want to lose weight faster, you may try complete or partial fasting once a week. If it is complete (full) fast, you should only drink water. If you choose partial fast instead, you may replace one or two meals with water. You may also try to fast at intermittent intervals (intermittent fasting).
The Japanese water diet
For the Japanese as well, water is essential not only to maintaining a good physical shape, but also to preventing disorders and pathologies. In fact, the Japanese Medical Association approved a protocol that utilizes water in dieting.
It involves drinking 4 glasses of water in small sips as soon as you get up in the morning. Afterwards, it is advisable to wait 45 minutes before having breakfast.
At first it may prove difficult to drink so much water when you get up in the morning. It is possible to start with 2 glasses, gradually increasing the water amount in the next days.
The protocol also prescribes to avoid drinking water for at least 2 hours after the meals, this in order not to interfere with the digestion.
Not only does the Japanese water diet help you keep hunger at bay (you drink between the meals), but it also proves beneficial in case of high blood pressure, arthritis, costiveness, stomach bloating, etc. Clearly, this protocol has to be associated with low calorie eating habits and one healthy lifestyle.
Side effects and warnings of a water diet
#1 – drinking too much water may lead to mineral and electrolyte deficiency. This is the reason why, if you are going to drink more than 2 liters of water a day, you are recommended to ask for medical advice. They may suggest you also drink beverages that contain electrolytes.
#2 – if you are going to follow a water diet, logistics is essential – you always need to have a toilet in close proximity.
#3 – a water diet may be contraindicated in case of kidney pathologies. It is recommended to seek medical supervision.
On the Internet you can find lots of diets promising you can lose up to 4 kilos a week, by simply increasing the amount of water to drink a day. Some of these diets suggest to drink hot water, some others suggest to drink sparkling water, in order to increase the feeling of satiety (though it is not recommended if you suffer from stomach bloating).
It is undeniable that water has a key role when it comes to losing weight, and water deficiency may undermine our efforts and prevent us from losing weight. If you want to get tangible results, always keep a bottle of water with you.
Yet, if you are going to follow any water diet, it is recommended to ask for medical advice to dispel any doubt.
Have you ever followed a water diet? What results did you get? Leave me a comment below. Big thank you!