I’m going to address two liquids and their effect on your weight loss and fitness goals.
Water has long been believed to be a key ingredient in aiding weight loss. It’s been credited with:
- Floating away dietary fat before it can stick to you as body fat.
- Satisfying the need to eat because you were never really hungry in the first place.
- A natural burner of calories and the colder the water the more calories it burns.
Water floats away fat?
I tried to discover the origin of this false fact. I couldn’t find anything that suggested it was even worthy of studying the effect water had on fat removal or blocking fat absorption. I’ve come to my own conclusion that this myth started in Weight Watchers meetings. Members assumed that if the program dictated they drink water, and leaders harped on it all the time, then it must follows that water must aid in the weight loss process. It doesn’t; drinking water promotes good health, but it’s not an effective weight loss strategy.
Confusing thirst with hunger?
There’s no reliable scientific evidence to support this belief.The topic was evaluated in a well-controlled study. The conclusion showed that drinking water did not reduce appetite. Thirst and hunger are different sensations. Perhaps sometimes “hunger” isn’t triggered by a homeopathic need for food (low blood sugar indicating the body’s need for fuel) but rather has its roots in an emotion, boredom, or thoughts and/or proximity of highly palatable foods. Water may assuage the need to eat for reasons other than hunger.
If water can’t do any of those things why did Weight Watchers include a daily consumption of six 8 ounce glasses of water daily in its program?
I can’t tell you how many times a member stood on the scale elated and exclaiming over the pound or two that was lost since the previous week.
MEMBER: Yes! It must have been the water! I drank my water this week!
I don’t like to shoot down a happy member but I need everybody to know that if all it took to lose weight is was drink 48 ounces of water without changes to eating and exercising habits, everybody would be thin!
ME: You only drank water this week? You didn’t eat anything?
MEMBER: Oh, of course I ate stuff, but I drank all my water and that’s why I lost weight!”
ME: Congrats! Drinking water is a healthy habit, but that’s not why you lost weight this week.
So water has no weight loss magic, but fluids are part of a healthy diet because drinking enough fluids to prevent dehydration is critical.
Water is lost each day in urine, sweat, breathing, and other bodily functions and must be replaced. The losses are greater in warmer climates, during strenuous exercise, in high altitudes, and in older adults. Drinking about 48 ounces of fluid per day is usually enough to recover the lost water.
Weight Watchers has changed the guideline from water to fluids. The only fluids that don’t count towards the daily amount are those that are alcoholic. That brings me to the second liquid I want to discuss.
Alcohol isn’t associated with weight gain, but it can create challenges when trying to lose weight.
As far as beverages go, alcohol (without the addition of mixers or other ingredients) are lower calorie beverages compared to what is considered “healthier” things to drink.
Some weight loss plans do not allow any alcohol consumption.
That’s in part because alcohol has calories and consuming it replaces calories from other sources that are needed to provide essential nutrients in a calorie-reduced diet. It’s also in part because alcohol is thought to be an appetite stimulant.
Alcohol and Appetite
The idea that drinking alcohol stimulates appetite and food intake is a common belief. While there is a limited amount of research in this area, what is available supports this belief. Small studies done mostly in healthy weight men have found that a moderate amount of alcohol (approximately two drinks) before or during a meal leads to higher ratings of hunger and food intake compared to times when a non-alcoholic beverage is consumed. These studies, however, do not include women nor do they investigate how regular alcohol consumption affects food intake and weight over the long term.
If not exactly a stimulant, it does help some people shed their inhibitions and behave in ways they later regret.
The lowered inhibitions and regrettable choices can apply to over indulging on food and deciding to “forget about my stupid diet, give me some more of those greasy ribs!”
Alcohol can fit nicely into a weight loss program if some simple guidelines are applied to your sipping.
Separate your drinks into 3 categories: A, B, and C.
A drinks are the easiest to drink without a lot of preplanning.
- The classic martini
- Quality liquors + mixers such as diet soda, diet tonic, or sparkling water or plain water
- light beer
- wine – red or white
B drinks require some thought – what or how much have I already eaten today/ what more did I want to eat today?
- The margarita
- The mojito
- The Bloody Mary
C drinks need planning or if you didn’t plan, then treat them like a rich dessert loaded with fat and calories! – not much and very infrequently!
- The Long Island iced tea
- The mudslide
- The chocotini (aka the chocolate martini)
Alcohol isn’t forbidden on a healthy weight loss program.
Here is a light and refreshing cocktail that’s a perfect sipper for the summer from Weight Watchers!
The Bubbly Plum
PointsPlus value: 4
Japanese-inspired with green tea and sake, then topped with bubbly, this cocktail will give you a zen-like pick-me-up.
1 oz Sake
1/2 plum (and more for garnish)
1 oz green tea
1 packet Nectresse zero-calorie sweetener
2 oz Voga Moscato
My opinion about drinking on the weight loss job is go ahead!
If you do enjoy alcohol in moderation it’s a mistake not to drink any while losing weight.
Knowing how to manage your alcohol (and its side effects such as poor decision making or loss of inhibitions) without setting back or ruining your progress is a skill that will help you later on when you want to maintain your weight goal.
I can’t stress enough that the habits you establish to lose weight, are the habits you’ll need to continue to do to maintain your goal!
Drink up! Drink wisely!