Recently, a friend of mine became frustrated with her weight loss progress. She was working out and making better food choices, but she just wasn’t dropping any weight. “How’s your water intake?” I asked.
“Well, I have some. And I drink lots of tea.”
Yeah, there you go. Folks, water is not tea. It’s also not coffee or juice or soda. There is only one water and, to successfully lose weight, you must drink it.
Tea isn’t water.
Imagine, if you will, that you go out to eat at a restaurant. The waiter asks what you’ll have to drink.
“Water, please,” you answer.
Soon, the waiter returns with a tall glass of swirling brown liquid and sets it in front of you. “Ah, thank you,” you say, ready to quench your thirst.
But wait! That doesn’t seem right. Water isn’t supposed to be brown. That’s because tea isn’t water!
No matter how you look at it, tea and water are not the same thing, just as coffee and water are not the same thing. When I was learning about nutrition, I was told that caffeine was dehydrating.
“Well, my tea and coffee are decaf,” you may say. That’s fine. However, a beverage that is decaffeinated means that the caffeine has been removed. Just like how skim milk used to be whole milk, your tea and coffee used to be fully leaded.
Now, the notion that caffeine is dehydrating has since been dispelled. Personally, though, I think it’s going to be one of those scientific phases like eggs and coconut oil. One day, eggs or coconut oil are the key to optimal health; the next day, they’re horrible and you should remove them from your diet entirely.
“Fluids” are the new water.
It’s also common presently that, instead of water, some diets are recommending you intake a certain amount of “fluids.” This means that you no longer have to worry if your tea can count as water. All you have to worry about when you’re tracking fluids is that it’s a liquid. If you can drink it, it counts.
When choosing your fluids, though, think about these questions before you select your drink.
- Does this liquid contain calories? If it does and you’re wanting to lose weight, choose a different liquid.
- Does this liquid provide any nutritional benefit? If it does, great! If not, pass.
- Does my body correctly process this liquid? Lactose intolerant folks, I’m talking to you. Stay away from the milk! And diabetics, get out of the orange juice! If your body doesn’t process it correctly, quit ingesting it.
As with all diets and health plans everywhere, you do not get to count alcoholic drinks as fluids. No amount of alcohol will help you achieve your health or weight loss goals.
I really don’t care that scientists don’t think that caffeine is dehydrating. Personally, I think it is. Maybe I’m wrong. Perhaps the issue isn’t with caffeine, but instead with the sugars that often accompany caffeinated drinks.
However, my strong opinion is based on my own personal experience. Many years ago, back when water was the only fluid you should be drinking while you were on a diet, I was sent to class to learn a weight loss program and install it in my community. Naturally, back then, we were very strict about water consumption.
The program participants who were also strict about water consumption lost weight, and the ones who weren’t, didn’t lose weight. I, personally, have also had success losing weight by monitoring my water consumption and making healthy food choices. So, I am a firm believer that you should have at least 64 ounces of water (just water) a day, and I advised my friend to make a small change and prioritize her water consumption.
She texted me today to let me know that she increased her water intake and has finally started dropping pounds.
I add fresh lemon juice to my water to add flavor and variety. What do you do to make water fun? Let us know in the comments below.
Also, if you’d like to read more about water, here’s 4 Surprising Ways Water Affects Your Health by Summer Hughes.