We’ve looked at a couple of reasons why your weight loss may have hit a plateau. Here’s reason number three: Maybe you aren’t drinking enough water.
Let’s take a look inside at what is happening to your body as you lose weight. Click here to learn about your autopilot.
The first few pounds you lose — the easy ones — are made of fat and water. Mostly water. Now your body is running low on lubricant and if you don’t replace it, your autopilot senses a crisis and takes action.
“We’re in trouble, guys,” he messages to the organs. “We are evidently traveling through a desert because we aren’t getting enough fluid. We have to make our stores go a long way, so slow down and hang on to the water.”
The body complies and you notice some puffiness around your ankles and around your middle.
“I’m working out faithfully,” the conscious pilot mutters. “Why is my waistline not shrinking?”
The autopilot tries to signal the conscious pilot that the water stores are low, but most of us have lost our good connection with the demands of our bodies. We don’t recognize the thirst signal, but we know we want something.
“I’m hungry,” the conscious pilot says. “And I’m not losing weight anyway. Might as well eat those cookies.”
Meanwhile, the autopilot is struggling to handle a second crisis. You emptied out some fat cells when you lost your first few pounds. When the fat stores came out, so did the toxins that were stored in the fat cells. They are now floating around your system. That’s why dieters often start feeling on the crummy side after the first pounds disappear. You need water to flush out those poisons.
If you aren’t getting the fluids you need, the autopilot has to send out emergency instructions again. “Poison alert! Kidneys, you buckle down and try to get rid of these toxins. Liver you help the kidneys and filter that stuff out before it damages the body.”
“But I’m busy!” the Liver replies. “I have my own job to do. We’re going through a famine and I’m having to process the fat that is coming out of storage.”
“Put it on hold and stuff the fat in your store room,” the autopilot barks out. “We’re in crisis mode. Work on those toxins.”
So the liver complies and quits metabolizing the fat. Instead it tries to deal with the toxin crisis without enough water to do it efficiently.
The colon is complaining. “I can’t get this stuff out of here without some water to work with.”
“Okay, take a break,” the autopilot signals back. “Slow down elimination until we are past the crisis.”
So the digestive tract quits working and you carry around the weight of extra waste in your colon. Your conscious pilot feels even worse.
“Diets always make me constipated and I always feel lousy when I’m dieting,” the conscious pilot grumbles. “And I’m not even losing weight.”
It’s true. Even though you are eating mostly from the green list and even though you are working faithfully on being more active, your weight loss screeches to a halt.
So — easy fix. Drink lots of water.
When the autopilot sees the fluid gauge return to normal he sighs in relief.
“Crisis is averted,” he signals to the rest of the crew. “We are past the desert. Release the extra stores. We have plenty of fresh to replace it.”
The organs and tissues happily comply. The puffiness around your ankles disappears and your midsection is noticeably less fluffy.
“I can take it from here,” the kidneys say to the liver. “All this water is making my filtering job easy. We’ll have the poisons out of here in no time. Here’s another load ready for disposal already.”
“Good deal,” the liver replies. “I can get back to all this fat that I have backlogged.”
“Back to work,” the autopilot signals the digestive tract. And with enough water to do its job, the colon gets rid of the backed up waste.
And your conscious pilot is happy to see a drop in the numbers on the scale. You feel better and more energetic.
The trouble is that most of us don’t normally drink enough of water and our bodies run in crisis mode much of the time. That may be one reason you have a problem with storing fat in the first place. Drinking more water might fix that slow metabolism that aggravates you so much.
How much do you need? About half your body weight in ounces. That means if you weigh 150 lbs., you need 75 ounces of water every day. In hot weather you may need more.
Here’s an idea. Buy a 32-ounce insulated drinking mug and fill it with ice water at the start of the day. Instead of drinking iced tea and pop (poor quality fluids — but that’s the subject of another post) carry your water with you and sip on it all day. Refill it throughout the day until you have downed the number of ounces you need. Tell yourself that you can have other liquids — AFTER your water is finished. (By then you probably won’t be thirsty so this will really help you kick the diet pop addiction.)
At first you might be slightly annoyed by having to run to the bathroom every few minutes, but that’s just because you are coming out of crisis mode. It will settle down soon. However, if you normally don’t drink enough water you probably will be taking more bathroom breaks when you step up the fluids. Get used to it! It’s good for you and it’s helping you lose those extra pounds.
Not convinced yet? Here are some other advantages water gives you:
- It plumps up your skin cells so your skin looks younger.
- It makes your brain work more efficiently. (Creativity dried up? Maybe you need to water your brain.)
- It fills you up so you don’t consume as many calories.
- It makes your muscles work better so you have a better workout and burn more calories.
All this good stuff water does for you — and it’s free!
Do you have suggestions for stepping up the water supply? I’d love to hear them. You can post them for us below.
Eating to live and living for Christ,
Susan Jordan Brown