It's common to confuse thirst for hunger, and if you're trying to lose weight it's important to know the difference. Confusing these two powerful cravings may cause you to consume more calories than you need and prevent your weight loss goals. The same part of your brain is responsible for interpreting both hunger and thirst signals which can often result in mixed messages. You should aim to eat every three to four hours, and if you feel hungry between meals, you may simply be thirsty.
If your daily liquid intake begins with a few cups of coffee, by the time you feel thirsty you may already be dehydrated. Dehydration symptoms include dry eyes, headache, sluggishness, nausea, and dizziness. Your urine may also be a dark yellow and your mouth may feel dry. Drink water at regular intervals throughout the day, even if you don't feel thirsty, and you'll have less of a chance of becoming dehydrated.
To improve your weight management goals, try these 6 tips to drink more water:
- Set a goal. The recommended amount of water per day is half of your body weight in ounces. Once you know the magic number, make it a game to get at least that each day. Offer a challenge with co-workers and prizes! Everything is more fun as a competition.
- Set a timer for mental triggers. Create a few alarms on your phone, and each 'buzz' will remind you it's time for water!
- Spice up your drinking experience. If you don't like the taste of plain water, add some fruit slices (cantaloupe, pineapple, and watermelon) or cucumber slices to add a little flavor.
- Freeze lemon or lime slices in place of ice cubes and try adding a little ginger. Bubbly or sparkling water is festive and provides hydration without added sugar.
- Eat your water. Food contains water, too, and should not be discounted when it comes to hydration. High water-content foods such as cucumber, lettuce, celery, tomatoes, bell peppers, cauliflower, spinach, berries, broccoli, grapefruit, grapes, and zucchini make awesome work snacks paired with hummus or a light dip. Pick your favorites and always have these on hand as go-to snacks for when cravings start.
- Always drink water before AND after any fitness activity. By the time you actually get thirsty during a workout your body is already depleted. For fast and easy hydration, try using Nuun electrolyte tablets to make sure body is fueled and ready to go!