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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Water and Weight Loss

8:33 PM

Have you ever considered using gimmicks that promise 'instant weight loss without any exercise or dietary modifications', 'fat free (but not calorie free) foods', 'fat burning pills', 'spot reduction gels' and creams?

In an attempt to lose weight, it is likely that you or someone you know has tried the 'low carb' diet.

Sadly, many of the above techniques facilitate water loss and not necessarily fat loss. The advertisers have no legal obligation to mention this, and it is not in their best interests to do so. A consumer therefore ends up buying into the hype, in the quest for rapid weight loss.

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It is important for us to understand the facts behind the hype.

When trying to lose weight, the goal should be to lose 'fat' weight and not 'water' weight (which is essential to the body). The weighing scale simply gives you a sum of both. In other words, when you lose weight on the scale, it may be water or fat - you never really know!

As nature has it, water weight is the easiest to gain or lose. Next in the list of relative ease is muscle, which is unfortunately lost through temporary fad dieting. Fat requires the most patience and discipline to lose. It takes years of cumulative bad habits to pile on the fat stores. It is therefore unrealistic to expect to lose it in a few weeks. Beware of any 'quick fix' schemes that promise otherwise.

Let's take a look at water. All of us have heard the old adage "Drink at least 6 - 8 glasses of water daily". Yes, but have you ever wondered why?

70-75% of our body is water. If we do not drink enough water, additional demands are created on 2 key organs, the kidney and the liver. Not only do the kidneys get overworked, but latest research has now shown that in a state of dehydration the liver works overtime to flush out the body toxins thereby compromising on its primary role; that of breakdown of fat stores. Hence fat gets retained. Think of it. You can actually get fatter if you do not drink water regularly!

Important lesson - try and finish 0.5 liters every 4 hours by sipping water regularly. Get into the pattern slowly - it normally takes 3 - 4 weeks to get into a healthy pattern of drinking water, after which you will start to feel the improvement in energy, and gradual weight loss.

Finally, remember that body weight can fluctuate by as much as much as 2 pounds daily due to variations of fluid levels throughout the day. Woman should make note that variations are more marked due to the fluid loss during menstrual cycles. So if the weighing scale shows that you have suddenly lost 2 pounds over a few days, its no reason to celebrate. If you have associated headaches, loss of concentration, lethargy and loss of appetite, you may be dehydrated.

A good way to prevent the weighing scale from tricking you is to weigh yourself first thing in the morning after every 8 - 10 days. This way you can rule out the intraday ups and downs due to fluctuations in water weight.

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