How Hydration Affects Your Digestion and Weight Loss 

Because our bodies are primarily water, hydration is an essential (and often overlooked) aspect of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Water helps regulate body temperature, keeps joints lubricated, delivers nutrients to cells, removes waste, and keeps organs functioning as they should. How much you drink on a given day can affect everything from the quality of your sleep that night to the likelihood of developing certain diseases long-term. 

So how do you know if you’re drinking enough water? 

Recommendations vary. The amount of water you need can change based on your age, sex, level of physical activity, and even the climate where you live. We recommend aiming for half your body weight in ounces of water daily – but it’s always good to have a conversation with your doctor to see if you’re getting what you need. 

Now, the most important part of staying hydrated is to listen to your body. Every body needs a different amount of water to function properly, but the symptoms of dehydration are similar for everyone. You should watch out for symptoms like:

  • Extreme thirst 
  • Dry mouth, lips, or eyes 
  • Dark yellow or strong-smelling urine 
  • Less frequent urination 
  • Headaches 
  • Dizziness 
  • Confusion 
  • Fatigue 
  • Constipation

If you experience any of these symptoms, it could be a sign that you need to increase your water intake. 

Hydration and weight loss 

Many studies suggest that drinking water can help you lose weight – although researchers are still unsure why a higher water intake can lead to weight loss. We’ve seen a positive correlation between drinking water and losing weight among our clients, and here are a few reasons that may explain why:

  • Water is an appetite suppressant. When the stomach senses it is full, it sends a signal to the brain to stop eating. Water can help take up space in the stomach, reducing feelings of hunger. More importantly, people often mistake thirst for hunger and drinking a glass of water can help to curb unnecessary snacking. 
  • Drinking can help burn calories. When you have a glass of cold water, it may increase your resting energy expenditure by requiring the body to expend energy to heat the water for digestion. 
  • Water removes waste from the body. Proper hydration is also essential to help regulate bowel movements, prevent constipation, and break down foods. When you are dehydrated, the kidneys cannot filter toxins and waste which build up in the body causing you to feel bloated, swollen, and tired. 
  • Water is necessary to burn fat. If you aren’t well-hydrated, your body cannot properly metabolize stored fat or carbohydrates.

Tips for staying hydrated 

By the time you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. It’s important to consistently replenish what is lost during normal daily activities. Here are a few tips to help you increase your water intake and stay hydrated: 

  • Make sure to drink a glass of water first thing when you wake up.
  • Keep a large water bottle with you throughout the day. 
  • Log how much you are drinking. 
  • Set reminders to drink water on your phone or email. 
  • Infuse your water with herbs, fruits or veggies if you crave flavor.
  • Or try naturally flavored sparkling water. 
  • Choose a bottle made of glass or stainless steel to keep bottles out of landfills and avoid chemicals that may be in plastic bottles. 

Hydration is just one element of your weight loss journey. Our meal planning service is designed to help you develop a wide range of healthy habits to help you lose weight and feel more energized. At MealMD, we not only provide nutritious, ready-made meals to help curb cravings, we’re here to teach you how to make healthier choices for life. Reach out to learn more about how to fuel your body.