By: Tayler Glenn
We track food, calories, and even steps! But, should we be tracking hydration for weight loss, too? If you’re looking to get healthier, lose weight, get clearer skin, or all of the above, we’ve got a few reasons to start logging your water!
Benefits of Tracking Hydration
We can’t stress the importance of water intake enough. Water is essential for survival, making up about 60% of our bodies. We lose this water slowly throughout the day through respiration, sweating, and bathroom breaks, which is why it’s so important to replenish those stores.
Research shows that being hydrated helps keep you feeling satisfied and can prevent those annoying midday cravings. Not impressed yet? Staying properly hydrated also helps to:
- Carry nutrients from food to cells
- Transport waste from your cells to your kidneys
- Lubricate joints
- Regulate body temperature
- Reduce fatigue
- Improve digestion
- Support cognitive function
- & Boost metabolism
Now that you know just how many roles water plays in your overall health and wellness, you probably have a better idea of why it’s important to track it. Creating the habit of tracking hydration is important for keeping you accountable so you know when you’re slacking on your water intake!
Dehydration and Weight Loss
So what happens when you don’t meet your daily water quota? You become dehydrated, and it can affect you in many ways – not many of which are enjoyable. While we know the typical effects (headaches, brain fog, cravings), most aren’t aware of the significant role hydration plays in your weight loss efforts.
Drinking water is one of the easiest ways to help boost fat-burning and, while we can’t claim that hydration alone sheds pounds, a hydrated body is much more efficient in the fat-burning process than a dehydrated one! It provides benefits that help you on your weight loss journey such as:
- Increased energy
- Elevated stamina
- Improved digestion
- Decreased bloating + water retention
Not to mention, staying hydrated may also help keep you from overeating by eliminating those thirst cues we often mistake for hunger.
How Much Water Should I Drink?
Now, how do you stay hydrated and how much water are you actually supposed to be drinking?
The Institute of Medicine recommends 91 ounces for women and 125 ounces for men, but it’s important to remember that those numbers include other non-dehydrating beverages and water naturally found in foods. It’s also important to remember that the right amount differs based on factors like size, weight, and activity level. When in doubt, the color of your urine is a great indicator! You’ll know you’re well-hydrated if your urine is clear or very light in color. If you’re seeing darker colors, it’s time to refill that water bottle.
Tracking Hydration for Weight Loss
On to the important things: how to track hydration for weight loss! Here’s a few ways to keep yourself accountable + ensure you’re hitting your daily goals:
Keep a Journal or Planner Section
Most of us use a planner or notebook of some sort. If you’re a pen-and-paper type, set aside a section in your daily planner or notebook to track cups or ounces to go until you reach your goal.
Make Your Water Bottle Work for You
If you’re old-school, it’s as easy as grabbing a sharpie and drawing lines for each cup until you’ve reached your goal amount! You can even include motivational phrases for every few cups to keep yourself going throughout the day.
If you want something a little more high-tech (or just another thing to add to your holiday list) then consider one of the many smart water bottles on the market! Many of these link to apps and give a daily or weekly summary to help identify times when you could be forgetting to drink your water.
There’s an App for That
Speaking of…there’s absolutely an app for tracking hydration for weight loss! Free apps such as MyFitnessPal or S Health are fuss-free and simply require you to add it in cup-by-cup for a daily log. For those that might need a little extra budge, try an app like Plant Nanny that allows you to keep a virtual friend alive with your water intake!
How do you track hydration for weight loss?