Hydration 101: The Importance of Water for Weight Loss

Hydration 101: The Importance of Water for Weight Loss


Hydration 101: The Importance of Water for Weight Loss

Today, we’re talking all about water, hydration, and how it all ties in with weight loss. We have all heard that water is important for our health, but most of us don’t know much more beyond that. In this article, we will be explaining what hydration is exactly: everything from water to electrolytes, and even hydration from other liquids. We will also be diving into some of the simple science of how hydration helps with various functions of the body, which ultimately leads to weight loss. Hydration 101: The Importance of Water for Weight Loss

Without being properly hydrated, it is nearly impossible to lose extra weight, let alone feel optimized or stick with a plan for long. Studies show that staying hydrated can boost your metabolism, reduce cravings, and even improve your mood and cognitive function. But with so many conflicting opinions and theories out there, it can be tough to know exactly how much water you need and how to make sure you’re getting enough. Hydration 101: The Importance of Water for Weight Loss

It is important to understand the critical role that hydration plays in weight loss and overall health. In the following section, we are going to take a closer look at what hydration actually means. We’ll explore the science of hydration, discussing what it is, how it works, and why it’s so important for our bodies. By gaining a deeper understanding of hydration, we can better appreciate the many benefits of staying hydrated and make informed choices about how we manage our water intake.

What is hydration and hydrolysis?

Hydration refers to the process of providing the body with the fluids it needs to function properly. Simply put, we need water in our bodies for everything to function like it should. Without proper hydration, the body can experience a wide range of negative effects, including fatigue, poor mood regulation, headaches, lackluster skin, hair, and nails, dizziness, poor temperature regulation, difficulty falling asleep, trouble losing fat, bloating in ankles/hands/face (we will talk more about the difference between intracellular water and extracellular water later), and even more serious health problems. Hydration 101: The Importance of Water for Weight Los

Water is a vital component of our bodies, accounting for up to 60% of the average person’s total body weight. It plays a critical role in a wide range of physiological processes, including digestion, metabolism, and waste removal. For example, water helps dissolve and transport nutrients throughout the body, supports the digestive process by breaking down food particles, and helps flush toxins and waste products out of the body through urine and sweat.

There is one thing that water takes place in that is going to be the key in what we are focusing on today. That is a little thing called “hydrolysis.” This is an important concept to understand, but don’t worry, I am going to make it easy for you.

Hydrolysis (Figure 1) is the chemical breakdown of a compound due to its reaction with water molecules. This process is crucial for hydration because it helps break down complex molecules into simpler ones that can be easily absorbed by the body. Hydration 101: The Importance of Water for Weight Loss

Figure 1

This can be compared to breaking apart a Lego tower. Just like how a Lego tower is made up of smaller building blocks, molecules are made up of smaller units called atoms. Hydrolysis breaks apart these molecules by adding water, similar to how a Lego tower can be broken apart by adding force or separating the individual pieces. This process releases the smaller building blocks of the molecule, such as amino acids or simple sugars, which can be used by the body for energy or other functions. Hydration 101: The Importance of Water for Weight Loss

Figure 2

Without proper hydration, our body does not have the ability to perform hydrolysis. If our body cannot perform hydro hydrolysis, then it can’t break down any molecules for any of the body’s needs. Think about it, the reason why we are able to lose body fat is because our body breaks apart the stored energy inside our fat cells. Our body uses hydrolysis to do this. Without proper hydration, we can’t break apart the stored energy in our fat cells and use it. Hydration 101: The Importance of Water for Weight Loss

How hydration helps with weight loss

Staying hydrated is crucial for weight loss and overall health. Studies have shown that being properly hydrated can have a positive impact on your metabolism, reduce appetite, and even improve your body’s ability to burn fat. Hydration 101: The Importance of Water for Weight Loss


When we are dehydrated, our body’s metabolism can slow down, making it harder to lose weight. On the other hand, when we are properly hydrated, our metabolism is working at its best, allowing us to burn calories more efficiently.

The main reason for this is hydrolysis, which is explained in the previous section. If you are dehydrated, hydrolysis can’t happen and your body won’t be able to do what it needs to do. Meaning your metabolism will be slower, leading to more fat gain over time. Not to mention all the other issues that come from your body functioning at a suboptimal level.

If you are a member of the MD Diet Clinic private Facebook group for members. You have probably heard me talk a lot about the importance of increasing metabolism for weight loss. Hydration is a key part of this! I encourage you to read more about metabolism and weight loss if this is something that you are unfamiliar with.

Appetite regulation

Another way that hydration affects weight loss is through its impact on our appetites. Dehydration can cause us to feel more hungry than we actually are, leading to overeating and excess calorie intake. When we are properly hydrated, our bodies are better able to regulate appetite, making it easier to stick to our diets and avoid overeating.

Figure 3

I think of our bodies trying to tell us it is thirsty, but it says hungry instead. This is similar to when little children say their tummy hurts, when in reality they are feeling an emotion they can’t identify. Adult bodies are similar to this. We often confuse certain signals and cues for another. Happy? Eat food. Sad? Eat food. Dehydrated? Eat food. Staying ahead of dehydration can spare us from this confusion to begin with. As for emotional eating, well that is for another blog.


Dehydration can have many negative effects on the body. When we are dehydrated, our bodies can experience a range of symptoms, including headaches, fatigue, and dizziness. In addition, dehydration can lead to a decrease in physical performance, making it harder to exercise and burn calories. I can’t speak for everyone, but in my 10+ years working in nutrition, I have been able to help most of my clients have more energy simply by drinking more water and cutting back on caffeine.

Similar to how hydrolysis is used to burn fat, our bodies also need water to produce energy, have a clear mind, and function in general. We already talked about how being dehydrated can cause a number of negative symptoms. Just imagine if you could improve some of your chronic health issues just by drinking more water instead of being stuck in a low energy brain fog with migraines all the time. Hydration 101: The Importance of Water for Weight Loss

Overall, staying hydrated is essential for weight loss and overall health. By drinking enough water, we can boost our metabolism, reduce appetite, and improve our body’s ability to burn fat. So, make sure to stay properly hydrated by drinking water throughout the day and listening to your body’s thirst signals. Hydration 101: The Importance of Water for Weight Loss

Ways to improve your water intake

Hopefully by now, you understand the importance of hydration and the negative effects of dehydration on weight loss and overall health. While most people know that they should be drinking more water, they still struggle to get enough each day. There are several reasons why people find it hard to drink enough water each day, including:

  • Temperature
  • Flavor
  • The urge to go to the restroom during the day
  • The need to get up at night for the restroom
  • Forgetfulness
  • Being too busy

Stomach size, especially in patients who have had bariatric surgery, can also be a barrier to drinking enough water. Hydration 101: The Importance of Water for Weight Loss

In this segment, we’ll provide some suggestions to help you improve your water intake, based on the most common barriers. Hydration 101: The Importance of Water for Weight Loss

Temperature and flavor

I am one of those people that the temperature and flavor of my water really matters. I am almost always cold working on my computer putting out all this great information for you. For me to get my water in, I need to drink hot herbal tea throughout the day so it is an enjoyable temperature and flavor. Hydration 101: The Importance of Water for Weight Loss

The temperature and flavor of water can be a challenge for some people. If you prefer your water warm, consider drinking hot herbal tea throughout the day. If you prefer your water cold, try keeping a big jug filled with ice and natural fruit infusions. You can add slices of cucumber, lemon, or lime to give it a refreshing taste, or try adding a sprig of mint for a burst of flavor. If you prefer a sweeter taste, add a few pieces of fresh fruit such as strawberries or watermelon. Hydration 101: The Importance of Water for Weight Loss 

Frequent urge to use the restroom

Avoiding water to prevent the urge to go to the restroom is a common misconception. Being dehydrated can actually make you need to go to the restroom more frequently. If you have any underlying medical issues, it’s important to talk to a medical provider to seek advice about your hydration. Hydration 101: The Importance of Water for Weight Loss

If you don’t have any underlying issues, here’s a metaphor to explain why being dehydrated leads to frequent restroom breaks: imagine a potted houseplant that you’ve forgotten to water in a while. The soil will be very dry, and when you finally water it, the water runs right through the dehydrated soil, and you have to soak the soil quite a bit to rehydrate it. Figure 4

Figure 4

Alternatively, if you water a dehydrated houseplant. Sometimes the water will sit in a bubble on top of the soil instead of soaking in. Figure 5 This would be the equivalent of a dehydrated person drinking water, and it results in bloated ankles, face, and hands. That is because the water remains on the outside of the cells (extracellular water), just like with the houseplant and the water bubbling on top of the soil instead of soaking in. Hydration 101: The Importance of Water for Weight Loss

Figure 5

Quick Biology Lesson

Intracellular water refers to the water present inside our cells, while extracellular water refers to the water outside our cells, such as in the blood and in between cells. Intracellular water is crucial for many processes within the cells, such as energy production and waste removal. Extracellular water helps maintain blood volume and facilitates the transport of nutrients and waste products throughout the body. Both types of water are important for overall hydration and bodily function. However, too much extracellular water is associated with bloating and a number of health issues that we won’t discuss in this article. We encourage anyone who has water balance issues to talk to a medical professional. Hydration 101: The Importance of Water for Weight Loss 

Busy or forgetful

If you’re struggling to drink enough water throughout the day because you’re too busy or tend to forget, there are some tips you can try to help increase your intake. One simple trick is to keep a water bottle with you at all times. This way, you’ll always have water within reach and won’t have to go out of your way to find a source of hydration.

Some people do really well with the big gallon jugs that have reminders and encouragement on them, while others prefer a smaller bottle that they mentally know they need to drink three of a day to hit their goal. If your job is very active and you need to keep your hands free, you could even wear a CamelBak so you never even have to pick it up. If you sit at a desk, I recommend getting a cup with a big straw so you can sip your water without even needing to stop whatever you might be reading. Hydration 101: The Importance of Water for Weight Loss

Hydration 101: The Importance of Water for Weight Loss

You can even set reminders on your phone or computer to take a few sips every hour. Turn it into a game! Maybe you make it a goal to take a sip of water every time the phone rings. Talk to others in your life and workspace, help each other, and make it a culture to drink more water throughout the day.  Hydration 101: The Importance of Water for Weight Loss

My personal hydration routine is this:

  • Morning: 8 oz of coffee (yes, coffee counts towards your daily total water, even though it is a diuretic. It still counts towards your total intake).
  • 32 oz of water mixed with a flavored electrolyte tablet for my morning exercise.
  • 8 oz of lightly caffeinated tea like green tea as I clock in and start my day.
  • I keep another 8 oz cup of plain water at my desk, and I alternate between sips of tea and water throughout the rest of the morning.
  • I will typically have 8 oz of kombucha (fermented tea) with my lunch. At this point, I will have had 32 oz of water.
  • I usually sip on one more 8 oz glass through the rest of the evening.
  • Then I have a final 8 oz mug of Sleepytime tea to finish my day with a total of 80 oz daily.
  • If I am very active or hot during the day, I will usually have more water to make up for the water I have lost.

A note on stomach size

This one is tricky, and you should most definitely talk to a medical professional about it. Some people have small stomachs due to bariatric surgery, which leaves them with very little room in their stomach for food and water. Many of them have to choose between eating enough food to maintain their metabolism or drinking water since adding water to their day will fill up their stomach too much. Hydration 101: The Importance of Water for Weight Loss

My best recommendation for people like this, besides talking to your healthcare provider, is to seek out IV hydration therapy. Clinics providing this service are popping up all over the United States. Some people use it to help with a hangover, jetlag, illness, or athletic performance. You can even get your water infused with vitamins, and it is delivered directly to your bloodstream via an IV drip. Hydration 101: The Importance of Water for Weight Loss

Electrolyte balance and hydration

Electrolytes are essential minerals for maintaining proper fluid balance in the body. The most common electrolytes include sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and chloride. These minerals play a critical role in regulating the body’s water levels, which is essential for many bodily functions. Hydration 101: The Importance of Water for Weight Loss

The link between electrolyte balance and hydration is that dehydration can cause an imbalance in electrolyte levels, which can lead to symptoms such as muscle cramps, fatigue, and even more serious complications like seizures or heart arrhythmias. Therefore, it’s important to maintain proper electrolyte balance when hydrating, especially during intense exercise or hot weather.

If you have been dehydrated, it is important to consume electrolytes with your water while you rehydrate. Otherwise, the water you lose through sweat and urine may strip away many of the minerals you want to keep in your cells. Remember the house plant metaphor? Adding electrolytes to your water will help rehydrate you faster than drinking water alone because water attaches to these minerals, which like to live inside your cells, making them useful to your body. Hydration 101: The Importance of Water for Weight Loss

To maintain proper electrolyte balance, it’s important to drink enough water and consume foods or drinks that contain electrolytes. Foods that are high in electrolytes include kiwi, oranges, avocados, spinach, and red meat. Sports drinks and coconut water are also good sources of electrolytes. It’s also important to avoid excessive amounts of caffeine and alcohol, as they can cause dehydration and further imbalance electrolyte levels. Hydration 101: The Importance of Water for Weight Loss


Drinking water offers numerous benefits compared to other beverages such as soda, juice, or energy drinks. Unlike these sugary and calorie-laden drinks, water is free of added sugars, preservatives, and artificial colors, making it the healthiest beverage option. Moreover, water is essential for maintaining good health and bodily functions, such as regulating body temperature, removing waste, and keeping the skin hydrated. Hydration 101: The Importance of Water for Weight Loss

It is generally recommended that adults aim to drink at least 8 cups (64 ounces) of water per day. However, some experts suggest drinking half of your body weight in ounces of water per day. For example, a person who weighs 150 pounds should drink at least 75 ounces of water daily. Hydration 101: The Importance of Water for Weight Loss

Climate and activity level also have a significant impact on the amount of water we need to drink. During hot weather or intense physical activity, we lose more water through sweat and respiration, and our bodies require more water to stay hydrated. Therefore, we should adjust our water intake accordingly and drink more water in these situations.

Hydration is crucial for weight loss and overall health. Staying hydrated can boost your metabolism, reduce cravings, and improve mood and cognitive function. Prioritizing hydration can aid in our weight loss journey and help us maintain good health. Hydration 101: The Importance of Water for Weight Loss

In conclusion, drinking water offers numerous benefits and is essential for our overall health and wellbeing. We should prioritize hydration by drinking water regularly and making it a habit, leading to improved health, increased energy levels, and a better quality of life. Hydration 101: The Importance of Water for Weight Loss

To sum it up

  1. Staying hydrated is ESSENTIAL for your overall health and ability to lose body fat.
  2. Your body uses something called hydrolysis to break apart molecules and use them for a number of functions. If you are poorly hydrated, your body won’t be able to perform hydrolysis. If your body can’t perform hydrolysis, then your body can’t perform these functions. Including burning through the energy in your fat cells that is essential for weight loss.
  3. Staying hydrated also helps you lose weight by increasing your metabolism.
  4. It is also important to stay hydrated for appetite regulation. Seeing as people tend to overeat when they are dehydrated.
  5. You can improve your hydrating by making sure the temperature and flavor of water is one you enjoy.
  6. Being dehydrated will also lead to an increased urge to use the restroom and cause sleep disruptions. It takes about 2 weeks of consistency before your body is fully rehydrated. At which point the frequent urges to urinate will normalize.
  7. If you are busy or forget to drink water, it can be helpful to set reminders and to carry water with you.
  8. Electrolytes balance is also a crucial component for hydration balance. You need an equal amount of both to be optimally healthy.
  9. There are several recommendations for how much water you should drink based on your age, height, weight, gender, activity, environment etc. As a general rule of thumb, you should drink at least 64 oz of water per day.

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