Today, I am so happy to bring you some wisdom from an expert to answer the question, “How does water help with weight loss?” Former TODAY Show personality, Jenna Wolfe shares how you can kick-start your metabolism and even curb hunger with water. She is a mother of 2 and a fitness fanatic who is well versed in fashion, beauty and health. Jenna just published her first book, “THINNER in 30”, so now she can add that to her “Jill of all trades” resume! You can learn more about Jenna and follow her on twitter and instagram.
I was given permission to share an exclusive excerpt of her new book, “THINNER in 30: Small Changes That Add Up to Big Weight Loss in Just 30 Days” with you. The following information will share with you the benefits of water for your metabolism. It will also give you tips on how to drink more water. This is one small change she will help you effortlessly to begin your journey to reaching your weight loss goals. Here’s how to rev up your metabolism and curb hunger with water.
How Kick-Start Your Metabolism And Curb Hunger With Water:One Small Step Towards Weight Loss
Excerpted from the book THINNER IN 30 by Jenna Wolfe with Myatt Murphy. Copyright © 2015 by Jenna Wolfe. Reprinted by permission of Grand Central Life & Style. All rights reserved.
CHANGE #1: Drink 20 Sips of Water the Moment You Wake Up
SIMPLY PUT . . . Put a full glass of water by your bed before you go to sleep each night. When your alarm goes off in the morning, literally sit up and start drinking. Drink twenty normal-sized sips of water. Not after breakfast or with your coffee. Not over the course of the morning, or on the way to work, or sometime throughout the day. Nope. Not in the shower or the— Please don’t drink your shower water as your morning beverage. The alarm goes off, you sit up, reach for that glass, and drink.
Seems almost too easy, doesn’t it? But the few seconds you’ll spend sitting there on the edge of your bed sipping away will actually do your body hours of good afterward.
What you’re doing by taking those twenty sips is more than most people ever bother doing. You’re waking up your metabolism and literally telling your body,
“OK, here’s the deal: It’s time to get moving because we’ve got a lot of work to do today. I need you to start revving up so that anything I eat is digested properly and I’m burning as many calories as possible when I finally get out of this bed.”
I know that sounds like a lot to tell yourself, but you’ve been quiet all night: It’s time to unleash the Chatty Cathy in you.
You see, every time you wake up, your body is already starting the day at a disadvantage by being dehydrated. Don’t worry—it’s a natural thing from not having anything to drink for six to eight hours (made even worse if you’re the type that wakes up a lot at night to pee).
The problem is, most people do nothing about it, and losing as little as 1 percent of your bodyweight in water not only slows down your body’s metabolism, it also causes fatigue that prevents you from being as active as you could be. Being dehydrated may even be behind your bad early-morning eating habits, especially if you’re the type that eats everything in sight as soon as the sun’s up.
That’s because when you’re parched, your body oftentimes mistakes that thirst for hunger. Your body’s not as smart as you are. (No offense, body.)
Taking those twenty sips will kick-start your metabolism and even curb some of your hunger pangs, so you’re burning calories from the get-go. Right off the bat, those twenty sips give you a little bit of time to ease into the morning. Your body is a machine and you just fueled it, not with food but just by doing something so few people ever consider—you’re hydrating it.
My favorite reason behind those twenty sips is how they set the table for many of the other changes in this book. They force you to do something good for yourself before you even think about what you need to handle for your family, your boss, or whoever else wants a piece of you that day. They will remind you of what’s ahead and give you time to reflect and prepare for the other changes you’ll soon learn and incorporate into your lifestyle.
DON’T STOP THERE . . .
So why twenty sips of water?
If you need a study where researchers in Tajikistan discovered that drinking exactly twenty sips was the ideal number to consume, I really have nothing for you. The truth is, twenty is just the number of sips I’ve found most people can commit to, and it’s an easy way to get people to start drinking water right away.
Once you’re committed—and you begin to feel the positive effects of rehydrating yourself every morning—you won’t want to lose that feeling. You’ll begin to find yourself going “beyond the twenty sips” and hydrating consistently from morning until night (whether you’re thirsty or not). Which is a good thing, because staying hydrated will crush your crazy cravings, leave you feeling fuller longer, and reduce your appetite for excess calories during every meal. It will also help your body figure out whether it’s really hungry or just really bored.
Why does water help with weight loss? I promise you that after a couple of days or weeks, you’ll start to see that you’re not as hungry as you thought you were. Sometimes you’re simply eating out of sheer boredom, nervousness, or depression. Most of all, you’ll find yourself surprised to learn how much water your body truly needs over the course of the day, and how little you’re actually giving it.
Ideally, I’d like to have you drink a minimum of half of your bodyweight (in ounces) in water throughout the day. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, that would be 80 ounces a day (160/2 is 80). I believe the problem is that most people tend to get hung up on how many bottles, glasses, and ounces they need to drink each day. That’s way too much thinking. If I asked you to drink eight glasses of water a day, at eight ounces of water a glass, you’d have to tap into math, and nobody should have to do that and try to eat healthy at the same time, right?
So for now, just follow some of the simple tricks in this chapter. And I promise you, you’ll reach that “half your bodyweight” goal unconsciously and automatically without ever needing to break out a calculator, abacus, checklist, or app.
Tips and Tricks To Drink More Water
No counting glasses or breaking out measuring cups. All I want you to do is give a few of these habit-forming recommendations a try:
Find the biggest beaker you can bear.
Don’t settle for whatever-sized glasses are in your cabinets. Sure, I could drink 280 cups of water from my kid’s little sippy cup. It’s the size of a thimble!! Either buy one that’s much larger or make a habit of drinking from a liter-sized bottle of water. If you sit behind a desk, make sure you keep a large bottle right in front of you. If you’re driving most of the day, keep it in your car. Challenge yourself to refill it a certain number of times each day depending on its size. See how many days in a row you can keep up with that number. Each time you empty it, you’ll have thrown back more than you might have otherwise.
Never leave your glass empty.
Make a habit of stopping to refill whatever you’re drinking from the moment you finish it—no excuses—even if you’re not planning on drinking any more after that. Just having a full container with you will increase your odds of drinking more later.
Fill it and chill it.
Grab a pitcher, pour the amount of water I want you to eventually drink each day (half your bodyweight in ounces), and just leave it in the fridge. Just seeing it may inspire you to compete against yourself to see if you can finish it by day’s end.
Put time on your side.
Every time you check to see what time it is, sneak in a sip of water. In my mom’s case, every time she checks the weather, I have her drinking water. She’s now officially part fish. And she’s obsessed with the weather for some reason.
Put a bottle in several places.
If you find yourself in different spots during the day, even in your own house, don’t settle for drinking from one bottle or glass. Instead, put one in several areas. That way, if you forget to bring your water with you, you’ll always have some handy.
Sip during your guilty pleasures.
Choose an activity (or several) that you either tend to do frequently or love to do, like checking social media, reading your e-mails, or watching your favorite TV shows. I won’t judge how you’re passing your time, so long as you sip.
Tack a 5 or 10 onto that 20.
Adding a few extra sips onto your morning ritual will only reenergize your body even more, speed up digestion, and let you reach your daily quota of water even faster.
Have it on ice for extra results.
Your body has to heat up every sip to match your constant temperature of around 98.6 degrees. Experts say that the extra effort can burn between 1 and 8 calories per 8 ounces.
Use a straw.
As strange as it sounds, people tend to mindlessly drink more and take much larger gulps when sipping through one. Try one of those crazy curly oversized straws; they’re fun, except during big important unplanned meetings with your boss and your boss’s boss. I learned that lesson the hard way . . . but I got my sips in!
Try it fizzy.
Seltzer water still counts, so if having a bit of fizz makes you more likely to sneak in sips all day, bring it on.
Add some heat to what you eat.
Splashing a little hot sauce or adding some crushed red pepper to certain foods isn’t just a commonsense trick to get you drinking more: Hot peppers also give your metabolism a natural boost.
Finally, dress it up!
Water can be boring—I get that. So make it more interesting by adding some flavor to it. But don’t use those man-made flavoring products that you squirt into a glass. You can try freezing small chunks of peeled oranges, lemons, or limes and using them instead of an ice cube, or mix in a hint of vanilla extract to make drinking water more enticing.
Better yet, it takes almost zero effort to make your own “spa-inspired” water by infusing a pitcher of water with chunks of fruit, veggies, spices, and herbs.
Infuse-friendly ingredients that work include
- Fruit: Apples, berries (any kind, either fresh or frozen), cherries, citrus and/ or tropical fruits (grapefruit, kiwis, lemons, limes, oranges, and pineapples, for example), melon (any kind), and pears
- Herbs and edible flowers: Basil leaves, cilantro leaves, lavender, lemongrass, mint leaves, parsley, rose petals, rosemary sprigs, sage, and thyme. Avoid using all at one time (I learned that lesson the hard way).
- Spices: Cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, cloves, fennel bulb (sliced), ginger (sliced), and vanilla bean (seedless)
- Vegetables: Carrots, celery, cucumber, and yes, even jalapeño peppers
If that list sounds daunting, relax. It’s practically dummy proof to drink like a diva. Just grab a pitcher (jars and large glass bottles with lids are great too) and toss in thinly sliced pieces or small cubes of whatever combination of things you want to try. Just be sure it’s fresh and not ripe or bruised. Fill the container close to the top with ice and cold water (filtered is always best), throw it in the fridge, let it sit a few hours (the longer, the better—although twenty-four hours really starts to push it), and that’s honestly it.
Need a few combination suggestions? No matter what your tastes, you’re sure to find something here that will keep you unconsciously reaching more often for more aqua:
- Cider: Mix several cored, thinly sliced apples with several whole cinnamon sticks.
- Cucumber-Lime: Mix 1 small cucumber (thinly sliced), ½ a sliced lime, and toss in a few mint leaves.
- Orange-Blueberry: Mix 2 oranges (cut in 8 wedges) and a handful of blueberries.
- Pear Surprise: Mix several cored, thinly sliced pears and either 8 to 12 pieces of thinly sliced fresh ginger or a thinly sliced fennel bulb.
- Strawberry-Lemon: Mix 4 to 5 strawberries (take the tops off, then quarter them), ½ a lemon (thinly sliced), and a few leaves of basil (bruising them first will bring out their flavor).
The “So You Know” Science Of Drinking More Water For Weight Loss
Staying hydrated from Minute One of your morning does a lot more than just jump-start your metabolism and keep cravings at bay.
Waiting until you’re thirsty before you drink means your body has probably already lost 4 to 5 percent of its total water. That’s why you can’t rely on being thirsty as a gauge. By the time you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated to some extent. And that’s no place to find yourself, since every function within your body requires water to some extent. Staying topped off keeps everything running at full speed, so that every single function taking place throughout your body—from digestion and circulation to regulating your blood pressure and body temperature—runs smoothly.
Water is also your best workout partner, especially if your goal is to lose weight.
Beyond keeping you from overheating during intense exercise, having your tank filled helps your body process protein (making it easier to build and maintain lean muscle), transport nutrients and oxygen to your cells, and flush away toxins and waste left behind when your body breaks down fat for energy.
But skip the sips and all that support gets downgraded. Even worse, one classic study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that a loss in water of as little as 2 percent of your bodyweight can significantly affect both your strength and endurance. That’s not a good thing, especially since you’ll need both for the workouts in this book later on. Making a habit of being well hydrated now will mean you’ll have more energy to put into the exercise programs to come—and you can expect to see better results for all your hard work.
Today Show Tested
As one of my Today Show assignments, I was given the task of converting my colleague, national investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen, from a diet soda aficionado to a water-drinking machine. To say I had my work cut out for me was an understatement, as Rossen lived on diet soda. So I started him off with twenty sips of water every morning, and as you might imagine, I was met with the following text every eight minutes: “Going to the bathroom . . . AGAIN!!”
After a week, the texts subsided (thankfully) and the water intake grew from twenty morning sips to a few bottles a day to water all day long. Rossen saw firsthand that filling up on water before a meal, before a big night out, before a tempting plate of food, cut his appetite and thus cut calories. (He could also tell you the exact location of every bathroom at the Today Show studios with his eyes closed.) This simple Change, in combination with a few others we’ll get to in the next few chapters, helped him lose almost fifteen pounds in a month.
I hope you learned a lot from Jenna Wolfe’s on how water helps with weight loss and her great tips to start you on your journey to weight loss and a healthier you. What did you think of these tips to kick-start your metabolism and curb hunger with water? Which new habits will you adopt to help you drink more water?