By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
Could something as simple as water help you lose more weight?
Area experts say yes.
While it is obvious that replacing a caloric beverage with calorie-free water would help with weight loss, water offers other advantages to people working at weight loss.
Doug Keller, nationally accredited through the National Academy of Sports Medicine and owner of Keller Fitness and Personal Training in Rochester, said that people often mistakenly think they are hungry but they are actually thirsty.
“Some people who overeat do so when they’re supposed to be drinking water,” Keller said. “The next time you feel hungry, drink a full glass of water and see if that satisfies you. Sometimes, it’s thirst. If you’re replacing those hunger sensations with water, you’ll take in a lot less calories. If you do that every single day, you’ll eat a lot less calories than before and that will relate directly to a loss of weight.”
Drinking during a meal can also help people feel full sooner instead of continuing to eat after their satiated. Keller said that can also aid in taking in fewer calories.
It may seem sensible to drink beverages using artificial sweeteners or natural stevia; however, physician Kerry Graff, board-certified in family and lifestyle medicine at RRH Family and Lifestyle Medicine-Canandaigua, said that strategy can backfire.
“It makes you want to crave more sugar-sweetened foods,” Graff said.
To make drinking water more interesting, add a tiny amount of juice to give it a splash of flavor. Add slices of cucumber, citrus fruits or berries. It will not add calories but does offer a light flavor. Unsweetened hot or iced tea can also make it easier to get enough fluids daily but go for caffeine-free options. Because caffeinated beverages tend to cause dehydration, Graff cautioned dieters to minimize these and consume them by noon to avoid sleep issues.
Graff likes non-caffeinated fruit teas, as they offer a little flavor without calories. She drinks tea after dinner as “it helps with ‘snack mode.’ What you really want is TLC and you end up noshing on 1,000 calories of chips. It’s about recognizing you have a need for TLC. That ‘hug in a mug’ helps with decaffeinated tea or coffee.”
Consuming sufficient water supports good health, which in turn, supports healthy weight loss.
Susan Freemesser, natural hormone balancing specialist at Be Balanced Hormone Weight Loss Centers in Rochester, recommends drinking half the body weight in ounces of “distilled, reverse osmosis spring water.”
She said that by drinking more water, along with eating more whole foods and eliminating processed foods and by exercising, she lost 35 pounds and maintained it for a year and a half.
She said that water can flush out toxins that cause the body to grab onto and store excess calories. She also recommends water because it is calorie-free.
“I tell people if they’re not drinking close to the full amount, drink a little more at a time until they get there,” Freemesser said. “Don’t force yourself. Women who don’t get their water in retain more weight. It’s harder for the weight to go.”