Hunger pangs can strike you at any time of the day and often the first reaction is to grab some food instead of drinking water. Are you confusing hunger with thirst?
Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated
We are made up of approximately 2/3 water. Drinking water every day is essential to almost every organ in the body. It flushes out toxins, carries nutrients to cells and regulates body functions. Since the hunger mechanism is stronger than thirst, keeping hydrated will eliminate a false feeling of hunger.
There's nothing nicer than a warm cup of water with squeezed lemon and/or lime in it first thing and before you have your usual cuppa. This will instantly hydrate the body which has received nothing while you've been asleep.
Why drink it at room temperature?
Think of your stomach. If you drink it cold you'll feel it in your stomach. Your stomach will ONLY release water to your body when it is at room temperature. Forget those comments that say you burn 2 calories when you drink cold water...!!! What difference is 2 calories going to make. The body responds beautifully to water at room temperature or warm.
Distinguishing Hunger from Thirst
To tell the difference between hunger and thirst, simply drink a glass of room temperature water. You may find that you are no longer hungry, or as hungry. Wait up to 20 minutes or so, and if you feel satisfied you know it's not hunger. Drink it around 30 minutes before snacks and meals if possible to keep hydration levels optimal and to ward off deceiving hunger pangs that are really signs of thirst.
Water helps ward off 'brain fog' (dehydration) and staying hydrated usually prevents the discomfort that can be mistaken for the snacking. It aids in your digestion and problems of constipation, lowers fluid retention (as the body no longer needs to hold onto water if you are dehydrated) and helps eliminate excess sodium from the body.
It especially helps when you are studying or taking exams as it helps you to remain more focussed and less likely to feel tired.
These are all healthy results that can contribute to weight control.
Your brain and muscles will thank you for water
I was once told during my training to think of my brain as either a beautiful, juicy plump grape or a dried up raisin... I was informed that the grape was a well-hydrated brain. I also like to say often that 'your muscles work better when they are wetter'!
Research water and hydration for the body, and take ownership and empower yourself that water is a vital and necessary component for our body.
Is it because there isn't a calorie attached to it that individuals do not take much notice of it?
So, how much should you drink each day?
There is no exact science and most people just drink water when they feel thirsty, hot and dehydrated, especially after exercise. The NHS advises around 6-8 glasses however the amount will alter depending on the weather, and if you have exercised. Men, Women and children all require differing amounts however if you feel thirsty that is a good sign that you are already dehydrated and it's your body telling you to drink water.
It is worth making an effort to hit daily targets in order to boost your energy levels, improve your skin, aid digestion and prevent headaches.
For most people it is best to try drinking little and often instead of consuming too much all at once as it leads to an excess of water in the body, which can cause nausea, vomiting, confusion and cramps.
Water is also contained in fruits, vegetables and foods cooked with water such as rice and soups.
Water retention / constipation
Drinking water will help you to lose some of the few lbs you are trying to shift. Often the body will hold onto water as it thinks you are in a drought as you are not drinking and your body must do all it can to store all its got. Puffy skin, dry skin, skin with lines, puffy ankles, aching joints, constipation, diarrhoea, headaches can be signs of dehydration. It helps to regulate body temperature and improves blood circulation.
Don't like water?
You can try adding herbs such as mint with cucumber to you water and this flavour has proven a popular choice with some of my clients, as well as adding your favourite fruit to a jug of water, or cutting up some lemons/limes.
Lulu West is a Health and Vitality Coach offering bespoke natural and healthy solutions to women in their 40's upwards.