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Step three in weight loss: it’s very Fluid

If you missed our last articles, Step one in weight loss: Ditch the sugar and Step two: Take a break, read them [here].

The next step could just as well be the first step as it is equally important and weight loss success is impossible without it.

A large part of the world's population is chronically dehydrated. This is not due to a lack of water but in many developed countries simply due to underhydration (Not consuming enough fluids). Not surprisingly most overweight and almost all obese people are chronically dehydrated. This begs the question, what came first, dehydration or overweight or did one help cause the other?

It's just plain old science and evolution.

Science: Burning fat in the body is a process called Lipolysis. The first step in this fat-burning process is called Hydrolysis. As we can suspect the “Hydro” in Hydrolysis indicates that water is involved. Lots and lots of water.

In times of a short supply of water (dehydration) the body simply stops or slows the process of Lipolysis. So we simply burn less fat to conserve water when we are dehydrated.

Evolution: When we do not drink enough throughout the day, we become dehydrated which triggers the evolutionary fight or flight response in our bodies. This causes the body to bunker nutrients and water as it thinks that drought, famine or danger is imminent. The body then also downregulates Lipolysis, essentially stopping fat burning. The bunkering of water is very visible in many extremely obese individuals in the form of water retention in their extremities or organs. The first step to flush out such water retention is by making sure you stay adequately hydrated throughout the day upon which the body relaxes and goes back to a normal level of water retention.

Burning body fat / losing weight is not possible without adequate consumption of fluids.

In fact, most chemical processes in the body require water or its components in adequate amounts to function properly. Long term effects of underhydration are chronic illnesses and weight gain causing a spiral of ill health and weight gain.

As a rule of thumb, a healthy individual should consume around 1 Liter of Fluid per 20kg of body weight (in warm climates without substantial exercise). This includes all Fluids consumed in foods and all drinks such as coffee.

While we are talking about coffee, let’s debunk that popular old nutrition myth:

Coffee is dehydrating”

Nope, coffee is a diuretic, makes you pee more, which is not the same. Studies show that the extra urination caused by coffee is not more than the fluid volume of the coffee consumed so the coffee is just part of the normal fluid cycle in the body but adds the health benefits of the phytonutrients in the coffee. Tea is the same as in both Tea and Coffee the main bioactive component is caffeine. Tea, particularly Green Tea just packs some extra punch in health benefits due to the high concentration of phytonutrients.

There is a danger in consuming too many fluids, particularly in hot climates or when doing a lot of physical activity. As you drink more water, you urinate more, your stool becomes easier to pass as it contains more fluids and if you do physical activity or it is hot outside you sweat more. All this equates to a larger and faster water turnover in your body. In your body, fluids is also where your electrolytes are stored. If you shed more water in a faster cycle, you are washing out more electrolytes which urgently need to be replenished. Not doing so can lead to electrolyte imbalances or deficiencies which open up a whole new can of worms with regards to health outcomes.

At our Shambhala beachfront weight loss retreat on the island of Koh Chang in Thailand, we encourage our weight loss and detox guests to drink at least 3 liters of water additionally to all other daily fluid consumption such as food, coffee and the optional evening white wine spritzers. This water has added electrolytes (Calcium, Sodium, Magnesium and Potassium). Thereby we ensure that the substantial body fat burn, weight loss and waist shrinkage can start as soon as they arrive and continue unhindered throughout their stay and thereafter.

Continue your weight loss journey with us by consulting our other blogs: 1. ditching the sugar, 2. taking a break, 3. hydrating and more easy steps in our next articles.


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