Dehydration, Not Just A Summer Problem

For those of you that live in Wisconsin, you probably have realized that it is pretty cold out. We made it this far, but winter is now here! One thing we tend to forget about in the winter is our water intake. Just because it’s not hot out, we can still lose water just as fast as we do in the heat.

When the air is so dry in the winter, our sweat can instantly evaporate into the air without us ever noticing that we broke a sweat. When you breathe outside and can see your breath, that is also water escaping your body.  Also, if you are participating in outdoor sports, you may be even more susceptible to increased water losses.

Winter can also increase risk for dehydration through a survival mechanism that constricts blood vessels in cold weather, to conserve heat and maintain body temperature. When blood vessels constrict, this increases blood pressure.  To lower the pressure, your kidneys make more urine, meaning less blood to fill veins and arteries, and thus more frequent trips to the bathroom and greater risk of dehydration.

How does dehydration affect weight loss?

When we are properly hydrated, our bodies can better metabolize nutrients we eat –  this includes all fat, protein and carbohydrates. Proper hydration also assures that proper metabolism of stored fat can occur throughout the day – as our bodies are made up of nearly 2/3’s water.

In the winter, we often reach for more hot beverages, some of which can derail our fat loss efforts. While all beverages DO technically count towards our water intake, some can be much more harmful than others. One common myth is that caffeinated beverages will dehydrate you. While caffeine in its pure form is a mild diuretic, drinking even several cups of coffee or tea will not lead to dehydration. The obvious warm drinks to avoid if you are trying stay healthy are the sugar loaded dessert like drinks from coffee shops.

 

See: Grande Mocha Frappe Carmel Lattechino…Some of these drinks are on the same level of eating 4 king size candy bars…all that sugar and processed fats before your day even starts!

Keep your beverages simple this year, water should be your first, second and third choice!

Aim to drink at least half your body weight in ounces! (200 lb. person should aim for 100 oz or about 12 cups). How should you track this? I recommend a trick that I need to give credit to Jon Goodman, the author and mastermind behind the Personal Trainer Development Center, Ignite the Fire and the upcoming book Viralnomics.

He suggests you get a water bottle that is a certain measurement, say 32 oz. See how many time 32 goes into your goal (roughly 3 times for the above example of 100 oz.). Place 3 rubber bands around the water bottle at the beginning of the day, and when you finish one bottle, remove a band, refill the bottle, and keep drinking.

Your goal is to have all the bands off by the end of the day! Brilliant!

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Stay healthy my friends,

 

 

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