Has your weight loss program slowed down or even come to a screeching halt? After weeks and months of diet and exercise success, many people are dismayed to find their weight loss efforts suddenly stalled. Well, the answer may be as simple as increasing daily water intake and adding more healthy fats to your diet. Let's examine both of these ideas.
Proper hydration is essential for any exercise and fitness program. Your entire metabolic system, and the process of burning calories, requires water in order to operate efficiently. When you do not drink enough water you become dehydrated and this slows down the entire fat burning process. Dehydration results in a reduction in blood volume to the muscles. This reduction in blood volume causes a reduction in the supply of oxygen to your muscles and you may become very tired and sluggish. A recent study by researchers at Virginia Tech prove that increasing water intake also increases fat loss in adults. The researchers started by putting more than 40 overweight and obese adults on a diet. Half of the dieters were randomly assigned to drink a 16-ounce bottle of water before all three meals. The others received water but were not given any instructions about when or how to drink it. Twelve weeks later, the water drinkers had lost an average of 15.5 pounds, compared to an average 11-pound loss in the other group. That's a 44 percent boost in weight loss, just from drinking water! Water also helps maintain muscle tone by assisting muscles in their ability to contract. It also lubricates joints and helps to reduce muscle and joint soreness when exercising. You may have heard popular advice to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day, but to lose weight and make progress in your fitness goals, you should be drinking a minimum of twelve 8-ounce glasses. Bodybuilders, weightlifters, and elite athletes often drink a gallon of water or more per day.
Up to this point, you have been drinking six 8-ounce glasses of water per day. To reach our goal of eight glasses, this week try adding in just two more glasses, one before lunch and one after dinner. In order to spread out hydration optimally throughout the day, your water intake schedule should look something like this:
- 8 ozs upon awakening
- 8 ozs after breakfast
- 8 ozs mid-morning
- 8 ozs before lunch
- 8 ozs after lunch
- 8 ozs mid-afternoon
- 8 ozs before dinner
- 8 ozs after dinner
Humans require a relatively high-fat diet (15-20%) as opposed to most other animals (5% or less for most carnivores). The average adult needs approximately 40-65 total grams of fat per day. The mistake most dieters make is they restrict fat intake too low thinking it will speed weight loss. If your dieting efforts are not working, try adding in up to 2 Tablespoons of a healthy liquid fat such as olive oil, flaxseed oil or Omega 3s in gel capsule form. By increasing daily water and fat intake, it should put your meal plan back on track and you should begin to make progress in your fat loss.
Whether or not you are dieting to lose weight, or just following 52 Weeks to A Healthier You in order to improve your overall health, everyone can benefit from the addition of water and healthy fats to their diet. Your task this week is to make sure you are getting in all eight glasses of water per day, as well as adding enough healthy fat to your daily intake to equal 2 Tablespoons. Do not be afraid of this dietary fat -- as stated above, fat is necessary for optimum metabolic performance and weight loss.
"The know-how to successfully achieving good health is available to everyone."
1. "Fat and its Effect on Weight Loss, http://www.omega-oils-health.com/fatsandweightloss.html