TAT CN Header

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Aqua Girl

Everyone knows you should drink water. But few of us truly understand why, or why it is especially important when trying to lose weight or keep weight off. The human body, like the planet Earth itself, is composed almost entirely of water, so in order to maintain balance within the body you have to rehydrate fluids that are lost during everyday activities. That makes sense, but how is supposed to make you feel better or thinner?

Well, that is actually a magical bit of science. Your kidneys need water in order to properly process waste material, and without enough water, the excess difficulty is shifted to your liver. Now we generally talk about our livers when we think back on all that excessive drinking, but one of the primary functions of the liver is to process stored fat, but if the liver has to make up for some of the kidney's work then it can't process fat as efficiently. Thus, you end up storing more fat in your body. And as a result, your body metabolizes less fat on a daily basis.

But water is good for weight loss on other levels as well. Many times, you feel hungry not because you actually are hungry, but because you are dehydrated. So water can actually be an appetite suppressant (or more appropriately said: it meets the needs your body is actually asking for). There are, of course, other benefits as well: water helps keep your muscles toned, your skin tight, it keeps you regular, rids your body of excess salt (once again eases the burden on your lazy kidneys), and helps rid your body of waste (think of that fat you're burning off). So, drinking lots of water is an absolute necessity if you're trying to lose weight and absolutely indisposable if you are working out regularly.

So, what's the problem? Drink 60 ounces of water a day (as recommended) and you're golden. Well, as my Brazilian rommate used to say, "I don't like water. It doesn't taste like anything." She was very astute at vocalizing the obvious. (In fact, that roommate was full of some very interesting commentary, and those comments represented the painful disparity between her book smarts and her common sense. I offer up for your enjoyment a few key moments: She was a biology major -- pre-dentistry -- and she told me mid-winter that she couldn't walk to class with me anymore because the cold weather had given her a cold sore. Also, when our college town introduced calendar parking for more efficient snow removal -- parking on one side of the road on odd days and the other on even days -- it prompted her to query: "So, is Sunday day one?" You'll be comforted to know that she eventually graduated from the University of Iowa's dentistry program and is now employed filling cavities and drilling root canals.)

But despite her banal statement, it rung of truth: Water does taste rather bland, and I for one would rather have a Diet Pepsi. So despite the illusion of ease, getting your day's worth of water can actually be a bit difficult, which is why water producers have come up with brilliant plans to "spice" up water with artificial flavor. However, you have to read labels carefully because some of those are chock full of sodium (the very thing you're drinking water to wash away) and sometimes calories as well (that devil desgised as a mistress: "Vitamin Water").

And then there are times when water tastes downright wonderful -- just the right refreshing kind of beverage, and the more you drink, the better it seems to taste, and the more you want or need to drink it. In fact, in a book I read as a kid, "The Search for Delicious," the plot revolved around two of a fictional king's scribes combing the country for the definition of "delicious," and after many adventures and much interviewing, they come to the conclusion that water is the definiton of delicious.

So there you go: Drink more water; it's delicious!

No comments: