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Water: A Hidden Weight Loss Secret

In our clinic and online programs, one of our first recommendations is always to bump up the water intake, but do you know WHY! Turns out there is some good science behind this recommendation. Tune in to hear why, how and how much water you should be drinking to make sure YOUR weight loss doesn't stall out!

Some of this weeks episode highlights are:

6:47 Fat cells actually need water in order to release fat. Studies on rodents suggest that dehydrated fat cells become insulin resistant. If fat cells become insulin resistant, they're not going to release fat. And there's also an effect on energy metabolism in these dehydrated fat cells.

8:06 Those who drank water eat less. Sometimes we think we're hungry, but it's because our brain is misinterpreting the thirst signal as a hunger signal. So, if you think that you're hungry and you have your meals planned and everything, one of the things I would recommend doing is to just go drink a glass of water, because it might just be that you're actually thirsty.

13:22 Set an alarm to remind you to drink water every hour. Also, there are wearable fitness apps that are out there now that will have features like that built in. Or you could set an alarm on your cell phone just to remind you: drink your water, drink your water, drink your water.

--- Full Raw Transcription Below ---

Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:00):

You are listening to the, Keep The Weight Off podcast with Dr. Angela, episode number 40.

Introduction (00:04):

Welcome to The Keep The Weight Off podcast, where we bust all the dieting myths and discover not just how to lose weight, but more importantly, how to keep it off. We go way beyond the food and we use science and psychology to give you strategies that work. And now your host, Dr. Angela Zechmann.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:27):

Hey there. And welcome back to the podcast, everyone. Hey, Marchelle, how are you doing today?

Marchelle (00:34):

Doing great. Hey everyone. Just enjoying this beautiful weather we happened to be having right now.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:39):

I know it's awesome. So, well, this week we decided that we wanted to talk about water because that's actually one of those little secrets to weight loss that most people forget about. So, I wanted to kind of give you all some hints and tips about why water is so important and why it is that making sure that you're adequately hydrated is one of the first recommendations in any weight loss program. So, in our clinic and in our online programs, we recommend that you forget about that common advice. You know, they always say to drink eight, eight ounce glasses of water a day, and it's like 64 ounces a day, or sometimes you hear one ounce for every kilogram of weight. I've heard that one before, too.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (01:35):

Yeah. and you know, who knows unless you're, well, when you're in the states, it's really hard to know how many kilograms you weigh.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (01:41):

We just don't think like that in the states. Every other country does, but not us. But anyway, what we teach is instead of focusing on the actual amount of water that you're drinking, just focus on looking at your pee and making sure that your urine is clear. Okay. So, think about it because if you're a landscaper in Phoenix and you're working in 105 degree weather every day, you're going to need a little bit more water than somebody who is an executive assistant in an office in Toronto. Or let's say that you're a guy and you're six two. When you weigh 230 pounds; you're going to require a little bit more water than a woman who is five/four and weighs 150 or 160. So what we teach is, forget about counting ounces and check your pee and just make sure that your pee is clear.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (02:43):

Now, the interesting thing is, if you're taking your vitamin pills every day, sometimes your vitamins are going to turn your pee like this fluorescent bright nuclear, yellow color. And so you just have to notice that and just get it clear as soon as you can, and then keep it clear the rest of the day. So that's a huge teaching.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (03:05):

Many of our patients and clients find a lot of difficulty with this advice. So here are some of the comments we hear, and Marchelle, you chime in if I've forgotten something. So I hear people say things like this is, seems like it could be a lot more water than what's usually recommended. Is it possible I could drink too much water? We sometimes hear people going, like, I'm going to spend the entire day in the bathroom and I've got work to do. I have to be in meetings or I have to be on a commute. I cannot be stopping every hour to go to the bathroom.

Marchelle (03:43):

I hear that a lot at the clinic that I, you know, I'm in, I'm in an office or even zoom calls, like when everybody sort of started working from home. Cause it's something that I often ask patients are you getting enough water in? Are you getting enough water in? And a lot of them say, you know, probably not because I am at a desk all day in zoom meetings and I can't really get up. And if I drink too much water, then I'll have to get up and go to the bathroom. And so I know that's that's difficult for a lot of people working from home.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (04:15):

Yeah. And you would think they're home, you know, like the right by the bathroom, but for whatever reason

Marchelle (04:19):

In front of the computer. Yeah.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (04:25):

A lot of people will say water's boring. I can't stand to drink water. Or they'll say I get busy and I just forget. So I totally get that one because I get busy and I forget to, so

Marchelle (04:41):

I have a little, I'm sure that you've seen this before. I have a little note or it's like a little sign that I have stuck to my desk on the monitor. Not stuck to my desk. The monitor of the computers. It says, drink water. Yeah.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (04:54):

Yeah. That's one, that's one of the tips that I have is that you can put yourself up a little sign and you guys made me one. It was it's really cool. It's very pretty. Angela drink water. That's what it says. Well, I wanted you guys to all understand, all of you podcast listeners, to understand that there's actually science behind this recommendation because I love science. And so, here's some of the science behind why it is that drinking enough water is so important. And I'm hoping that the scientific facts will give you the motivation that you need to keep up your water intake.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (05:35):

So first scientific fact. Think about the cells of your body. They have to have a blood supply in order to get the nutrients and the nourishment that they need. And water is absolutely essential to life. Water is what's transporting these nutrients to the cells of you body. So, if your blood is made of water, and then when you get dehydrated, the cells aren't going to get the nutrients and the energy that they need.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (06:06):

So, what happens to you? You become mentally foggy. You get tired. You get physically weak. Chronic dehydration can cause a lot of complications like low blood pressure, constipation, muscle cramping, kidney stones, and lots of other issues too. And how often do we hear people having these complaints? It's like, it happens all the time. A lot of constipation, a lot of muscle cramping. Some of our patients do end up with kidney stones. So, just really, really important to stay very well hydrated.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (06:44):

Reason number two. This is interesting. Fat cells actually need water in order to release fat. So, studies on rodents. So, rodents, mice, rats, those kinds of things suggest that dehydrated fat cells become insulin resistant. Now, those of you who've been listening might understand insulin resistance means that the body's insulin levels have to run higher and it, and it's very difficult for your fat cells to release fat when there's a lot of insulin around. So, if that cells become insulin resistant, they're not going to release fat. And there's also an effect on energy metabolism in these fat, dehydrated fat cells. So researchers, researchers think that rodents who are more hydrated were less likely to gain weight because they're burning fat more effectively. So I don't know about you, but I think that quicker fat loss is a great motivator to keep the urine clear. What do you say?

Marchelle (07:57):

I see I'm want to go drink a glass of water, right?

Dr. Angela Zechmann (08:00):

Yeah. Here is research number three. Those who drank water eat less. So, sometimes we think we're hungry, but it's because our brain is misinterpreting the thirst signal as a hunger signal. So, if you think that you're hungry and you know, you're, you have your meals planned and everything, we talked last time about if you get an urge to eat, one of the things I would recommend doing is to just go drink a glass of water, because it might just be that you're actually thirsty.

Marchelle (08:37):

Oh, that's interesting.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (08:38):

Yeah. Number four. Dehydration is associated with weight gain in humans. So, a 2016 study was published that included a sample of nearly 10,000 U.S. adults and they found a relationship between dehydration and weight gain. Now, how did they measure dehydration? They didn't look at water intake. They looked at urine concentration. So, 10,000 people and they got urine samples from them. So, this is a much better indication of hydration status. And they also knew how much those people weighed. And so, what they found is that Americans with more concentrated urine were much more likely to have obesity and to struggle with their weight. Is that not interesting?

Marchelle (09:36):

That's really interesting.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (09:37):

I thought so too. So, now what I want to say is there's a difference between correlation and causation. So, just because dehydration is associated with higher weight, that does not mean that it causes higher weight. Okay? So you can't conclude that dehydration causes weight gain or that dehydration prevents weight loss. But doesn't it make sense that if you know that they're correlated, wouldn't you want to keep your urine a little bit less concentrated and a little bit more clear? Okay. So just a little hint there on how to interpret correlation.

Marchelle (10:18):

Yeah. Your kidneys will. Thank you.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (10:20):

Yeah, exactly. Also, water is going to keep your cardiovascular system more healthy. So, your kidneys are remarkable organs. They're in your abdomen. They're always like filtering your blood and they're making decisions about how much pee should be put out and how much water should be kept in. They are working at managing your electrolytes in a very careful balance.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (10:50):

Well, when you become dehydrated, the kidney releases hormones to conserve water and this causes stress on the cardiovascular system. So, you just want to be aware that these kinds of hormones that get produced when you're dehydrated can really stress your heart out. So, this is a problem because cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among Americans. at least until COVID hit us. So, so hopefully, is that convincing to you drink more water Marchelle?

Marchelle (11:29):

Yeah. That's I did not know that and I. I mean, I used to work in urology and I see a lot of people with kidney stones and a lot of them did not drink, that's one thing they said, you know, I just, I just don't drink enough water and felt very bad for them because it's, it's a painful situation.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (11:48):

Stones are horribly painful.

Marchelle (11:50):

So, just like hearing this information, I mean, it's not, it's kind of scaring me straight. Like definitely drink more water because I'm one of those people that could go all day and go, wait a minute, I barely drank any water today. Although every good intention.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (12:07):

Yeah. Well, here's some tips to help make sure that it happens. We already gave you one of those tips, which is to put a little like something glittery and fancy on your computer, if you are a desk worker. So, that says drink water. Now, it's interesting because for me, after a while, it kind of just fades into the background and I don't really see it anymore. But every now and then I look at it and I'm like, Hmm, I need to go get some water. So, that's one tip. Here's another tip. Drink water with every meal and snack. So, make sure that you're drinking your water when you're eating.

Marchelle (12:46):

Oh, that's a good idea.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (12:48):

Yeah. You want to keep a. water bottle with you all the time. So, at home, at work, in the car, while you're exercising, make sure that you're not getting water from plastic bottles because that can contain toxins. And plastic bottles of course, pollute our environment. So, I like to use one of those insulated water bottles that will keep my water cold for me. So, I like to put ice in there and keep it cold. So something that you can just fill up.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (13:22):

Here's another tip. Set an alarm to remind you to drink water every hour. So, there's a lot of those, you know like, wearable fitness apps that are out there now that will have features like that built in. Or you could set an alarm on your cell phone just to remind you, drink your water, your water, drink your water.

Marchelle (13:44):

That's also a good idea.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (13:47):

Yeah.You want to give yourself a break every hour? So, the research actually shows that we only have about 50 minutes of ability to concentrate anyway. That's 5-0, 50 minutes of concentration ability. So, you want to do your work for 50 minutes and then get up and go walk around and take a little break for 10 minutes. So, go get some steps in, get your blood moving again, drink your water, go ahead for a little bathroom break and then return to your work for the next 50 minutes refreshed. Okay? Tip number. I'm not sure where we are now, another tip, diet drinks. Okay? So,

Marchelle (14:33):

Yeah. They're horrible.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (14:34):

Artificial sweeteners are associated with weight gain. So, you want to not be drinking diet sodas all the time and stuff like that. I mean, once in a while, I'll have one, but not as regular way of staying hydrated. So you can keep things interesting by putting some lemon or some lime, or even like cucumbers and mint infusions in your water. I also like to make decaffeinated teas. Those are wonderful, especially you know as the weather's now starting to get colder. To me, there's nothing more soothing than a hot cup of deliciously flavored tea, like pumpkin spice during the fall, or, as we get closer to Christmas, there are all kinds of Christmas teas available. I like to go to places like World Markets and look for decaffeinated flavored teas. So, so that's an idea.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (15:32):

What you can do is to, you know, have hot water available and make hot teas, or you could go ahead and brew them up ahead of time and then make yourself ice tea to drink. And as long as it's decaffeinated, it's fine. And then you get, cause this will, so many people are saying like water is so boring, you know, so this will give you some flavor.

Marchelle (15:54):

My favorite hot is market spice. I don't know if anybody's heard of that. You can actually buy it at a couple of the tea places downtown, or you can order it online. But it comes from Pike's Place Market and it is super good. Which cinnamon is an anti-inflammatory. So throwing that out there in case anybody wants to try it.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (16:15):

So, that's a little Seattle, Pike Place Market place.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (16:18):

Yeah. So good. Yeah.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (16:24):

The last tip I have is to make sure that you're eating fluid, packed foods for example; lettuces and cucumber and celery, because they've got water in them. And these are also going to have the fiber that's so good for you too. So, really work at increasing that, those kinds of vegetable intake. I'm just thinking of tomato soup, pretty, pretty good fluid too. And also. Lots of good ideas. So, I am actually like surprised at how many times people's weight loss will stall out. And the only thing they change is that they start drinking more water and their weight loss picks up again. I should be more accurate.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (17:13):

Yeah. I should be more accurate to say not their weight loss, their fat loss picks up again. Right. So yeah, we see this quite frequently. So, if you feel like things have stalled for you start drinking some more water. Be willing to take a break and go to the bathroom every hour and get the water in. Cause you know, you got to remember fluid losses occur continuously. You're always breathing. And so you're always releasing fluid into the environment. Even if you're not necessarily hot, our bodies are always sweating, trying to control our temperature. So, just don't forget how important it is to replenish your fluid intake regularly. And then you're going to reap the benefits of improved weight control, better health, better focus and more energy. Cool. Huh?

Marchelle (18:06):

Yeah. That's very cool.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (18:08):

Do you have any any comments that you want to add at all? Marchelle?

Marchelle (18:12):

No. I'm glad that we did this podcast because you know, it's always been a struggle for me, is getting in water and you know, and I always, it's hard to practice what you preach. Because I'd say it's very easy for me to talk to patients and say, are you getting enough water in? And then you know, I'll go like whole day. I had a couple sips of water. So I mean, it's just a really good reminder of why it is important to drink water so glad we talked about it,

Dr. Angela Zechmann (18:39):

The science behind it. Remember fat cells don't release fat if they're dehydrated. So, you got to keep them hydrated, right? Yeah. All right. So, don't forget to get your water in. Everybody, enjoy taking some time out for more bathroom breaks. Cause that can just give you a little minute to pause for a minute and we will see you all next week. Take care everyone. Bye.

Closing (19:05):

Hey, if you really want to lose weight and keep it off for good, your next step is to sign up for Dr. Angela's free weight loss course, where you're going to learn everything you need to get started on your weight loss journey, the right way, just head over to journey beyond weight course to sign up also. It would be awesome if you could take a few moments and write a review on iTunes. Thanks. And we'll see you in journey beyond weight loss.

Dr. Angela



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