Over the last 3 weeks I decided to increase my intake of water. The Institute for Medicine suggests that the intake of water daily is 104 fl oz for a man and 72 fl oz per day for a women. I was drinking consistently 64 plus fluid oz per day since I really made the conscious effort to lose weight.
As I was a little below the recommended amount and I live in a warmer climate, I decided to increase to over 100 fl oz per day of just water. This is in addition to anything else I drink (mostly tea and kombucha). The point was to help increase weight loss, as I have been struggling with a plateau and while my weight loss has resumed, it is slower than I would like. Of course, my body and I don’t always see eye to eye!
There were two things I noticed when I drank more water. First, was a lot more trips to the bathroom. Second, I started to feel hungry, a lot! This, to me, was not good. Water is supposed to fill you up and curb your appetite….why was this happening?
Many days I had reached my daily allotted calories and still felt hungry. I searched the internet for an answer, but did not find a satisfactory reason. What I did find was a study by Penn State School of Nutrition that concluded that water does not curb appetite, we’ve been lied to! So perhaps my increased appetite was due to something else. I had already increased my calorie intake recently in an effort to stimulate weight loss, so I am still a bit puzzled as to why I was feeling so hungry, when I had not before, with lower calorie intake and as much exercise.
Suffering a bit from being an “emotional eater,” I questioned whether I was hungry for emotional reasons. Sometimes when the weather is dark and overcast, I just want to curl up with a large bowl of popcorn and watch a movie. Chocolate has always been comforting when I am stressed out. But alas, I felt that I was really more conscious of these things now and could recognize the feelings. I felt I had learned the difference between emotional hunger, which comes on suddenly, and physical hunger, which comes on gradually and is often accompanied by physical cues like a growling stomach or low energy.
The second thing I thought was, am I really thirsty? Sometimes hunger is really thirst. But how could I be, I was spending all day drinking something. I decided to drink more water anyway, but the hunger did not subside for long. Conclusion, I must be hungry! So what do you do when you’ve reached your allotted calories and hunger pangs are driving you mad?
The answer, give the body what it wants, in the form of water dense foods. These actually keep the hunger away while not adding major calories to your diet. Cucumbers have the highest water content of any other food and ½ a cup of slices has only 8 calories. Celery is packed with water and just 6 calories a stalk. Okay, so those aren’t so much fun. What about watermelon? The name says it all! Even better strawberries are about 91% water. So next time you or I are hungry, reach for some water packed fruits or vegetables. Aim to eat about 50-100 calories worth. This will hydrate us and satisfy the bodies need for food and we can relax knowing we did not go way over budget that day. Win, win for all.
Remember, the week is cumulative, if you go over in calories one day, don’t worry. Burn more calories or eat less the next day. Life’s a marathon, not a sprint.