Join 220,000+ Fitness Fans

Share your name and email and I'll send you a FREE copy of my eBook - The 10 Forgotten Rules of Weight Loss. Plus, you'll get exclusive articles not found on the blog.

Drinking Water is the Secret to Fat Loss

3 glasses of water

Why is water so important for fat loss? First, let’s look at what role it plays in our body. Water makes up close to 70% of our body, and our organs contain an even higher percentage of water. The liver, for example, is nearly 95% comprised of water.

Water shuttles nutrients throughout our body and helps rid it of toxins. It helps to assimilate the water-soluble vitamins, and it regulates our body temperature. Water lubricates joints, helps with digestion, and promotes healthy skin. There are too many benefits to drinking water to list. It plays a role in every chemical reaction within our cells.

Drinking Water Reduces Water Retention

When your body doesn’t get enough water, it holds onto what it has. Water retention is the result. This is a simple survival mechanism. Your body has a tendency to hold onto and store what it doesn’t think it will get in the future.

Once you start drinking more water, your body recognizes that it is getting a steady external supply, and it starts letting go of the water weight it’s been holding. That water retention in your waist, face, and ankles is released because there is no longer a reason for your body to store it.

Read more about how you can reduce water retention.

Water Makes You a More Efficient Fat Burner

Do you remember that fact earlier that your liver is nearly 95% water? I can’t emphasize how important your liver is to your body. The liver breaks down toxins and removes them from the body.

It stores fat soluble vitamins. And most importantly for the purpose of this article, it has a huge role in carbohydrate, protein, and fat metabolism. Your liver is responsible for breaking down fatty acids and transporting them to the blood to be metabolized.

What does water have to do with the liver? With the liver being so important for fat oxidation, it is imperative that we are keeping it running at 100% efficiency. When you don’t drink enough water, your kidneys, which are also responsible for removing toxins and waste material, cannot fully function. As a result, your liver has to pick up the slack. If your liver has to work twice as hard to remove toxins, fat metabolism is not going to be able to function 100% efficiently.

Studies have shown that just slight dehydration can hugely impact exercise performance. Sometimes being hydrated is the difference between getting those last two reps, putting an extra five pounds on the bar, or running that mile 30 seconds faster.

It may not seem like much of a difference, but that better workout you just had as a result of being fully hydrated, just built you some muscle. In return, that muscle is now burning more fat for you, even while you rest.

How much water should you drink to lose weight?

So make sure you are drinking enough water to support your fat loss goals. Aim for 1 gallon of water a day. If it makes it easier, fill up a 1 gallon jug of water, and make sure it’s gone by the end of the day. This might seem like a lot, but that is only 8 – 16 ounces glasses.

If you drink a glass at each of your five meals, you only have a few left to go, and you can probably knock out the rest during your workout. My family uses the water bottle to the left to sip on throughout the day. You may not be thirsty at first, but as your body starts to let the water go that it’s been holding onto, you’ll notice that you’re thirsty more often.

Add a lemon, lime, or orange slice to your water if you need some flavor. Just make sure you are drinking enough of the most important liquid in the world.

  • http://www.fitnesscontrarian.com Mike – Fitness Contrarian

    I try to drink half my body weight in ounces of water every day. I have more energy and feel better went I keep myself hydrated.

    Good Post.

    Best – Mike

  • Coach Calorie

    Hey Mike, I like your simple formula. Thanks for sharing it.

  • WendyLynne

    Filled my gallon jug… going to try and finish it each day. Thanks for the info and the share.. I’ll let ya know how it works for me..

  • Coach Calorie

    Good idea Wendy. Fill it at the beginning of the day and make sure it’s gone by the end. Simple yet effective.

  • Sally

    I teach 5th grade, and I always have a refillable bottle of water on my desk. I’ve had many talks with my class about the benefits of water and making good choices about what we drink. I allow them all to keep a bottle of water in the classroom, and encourage them to drink it during the day. Many of them refill it once or twice a day! I never drink coffee, tea, or soda (especially at school!), and I’ve noticed my students have started to follow my lead!

    • Coach Calorie

      Way to lead by example Sally. Schools could use more teachers like you.

      • frank

        Does orange courd count?

        • Coach Calorie

          Count for what Frank? Your water intake? If so, than no. Just plain water is what you need. There are teas and such that you can drink too, but there’s no beating the hydration properties of water.

        • melinda fritz

          no

  • JoAnn F.

    I will suggest the water intake to my husband who is desperately trying to lose weight.

  • http://brokenwon.blogspot.com Wendy T

    I’m a newbie to your site, but am appreciating the cohesive and articulate way that things are presented. After reading, I’m not left wondering what that meant in terms of actions I should take.

    I’m determined to lose some of this weight, and will be getting a gallon jug and filling it up this week.

    I know when I spent a week in the desert at the first sign of a headache, I drank water and it went away.

    • Coach Calorie

      Thanks Wendy. There are so many benefits to water beyond weight loss. It’s good that you’re aware of your intake now.

  • http://www.dallassinglemom.com Heather Buen – Dallas Single Mom Examiner

    One of the best and easiest ways to get water in your system is two ways for me:

    Leave a cold glass of water next to your bed and make sure it’s the first thing you drink when you get up (room temperature) with a dash of seasalt in it. Then on my way to work I have a 32 ounce jug. On my way home I fill up. Since I’m stuck in traffic anyway, its easier to drink water and then feel a little full so I’m not tempted to order fast food on the way home.

    • Coach Calorie

      Great tips Heather. I recommend downing a glass of water first thing in the morning, as we are more than likely at least partially dehydrated after a long night’s sleep.

  • Jessica Ward

    I agree that drinking water helps dramatically with weight loss …however, I just can’t get myself to drink that much in a day! When I sit down to a meal, whatever it is, I rarely drink half of an 8 ounce glass anyways …drinking a lot more makes me feel bloated …I try to drink as much water as I am comfortable with – maybe if it was all I drank for months and months I could have some more …the lemon definitely helps me too when i crave a little flavor :)

    • Coach Calorie

      I find that after a week of upping my water intake that I get thirstier much easier. You may just have a mental “block” for the taste of water. I also find that intense exercise makes me want to drink a lot of water too. How does your exercise program look?

  • Hannah B

    I don’t want to be a wet blanket (no pun intended) but I’d like to throw in a word of caution here. Drinking lots of water is great but if you’re trying to lose weight, don’t forget to eat regularly or drink an occasional sports drink as well. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Take it from one who knows and learned the hard way!
    I was used to drinking a lot of water but I also hadn’t eaten, when I passed out and hit my head on a ceramic tile floor. Off I went to the hospital in my first ambulance ride and a hospital stay. When you take in TOO much water, your electrolytes get out of balance and you become hyponatremic, which means low sodium in your blood. Without those sodium ions getting to your brain you can lose consciousness and even die! It’s rare but it happens, so be aware of it. If you get light-headed or dizzy, it’s a warning sign. I think I’m the only person I know of who was told by my doctor to drink LESS water!

    • Coach Calorie

      I’m sorry to hear about your incident. You definitely need to be eating. I just assumed people were, but I guess you never know. This is also directed at individuals who don’t drink water in the first place. Replacing sugary drinks or artificially sweetened soda for water will make a huge difference in your success. Thanks for sharing Hannah.

  • Donna B.

    I regularly drink 64 oz of water daily and add a extra 16-24 oz if I’m working out hard so I think I’ve got this covered, but thanks for the article – I like being able to validate what’s been working for me.

  • Deb Dorrington

    I get my 8 to 10 glasses of water each day because if I don’t you can be sure I will get a headache. Thanks for this article.

  • Miha Dr

    About a year ago I started working out because I was told so by the doctor(I needed knee surgery recovery)but now I gave up exercising.I can feel the difference now.My body was so much better when I exercised.I think your site will help me get back into the”exercising mood”

    • Coach Calorie

      I hope it helps to motivate you Miha. I have no doubt that you can get back into shape.

  • anna pry

    i’m always drinking water, started when i was pregnant and trying to keep hydrated during summer, and i once lost 75 lbs by switching from soda to water so i know it’s important

  • http://b12vitamininjections.com sara

    You’re right, there are many benefits of taking in plenty of water. But I think it should be noted that as with all things, too much of a good thing can be bad. Athletes can sweat heavily and lose both water and electrolytes. If a person drinks too much water without the accompanying electrolytes it can lead to water intoxication. This became quite an issue in the running world several years back and can be dangerous and even deadly.

  • http://resuscitatingthebestofme.tumblr.com Isabelle

    I drink 2L/8 cups every day! …… and I pee all the time. :(

  • Germilla

    Water therapy is the best medication I ever had. When I have my daily routine, bottle of water is very deserving. In my place where too hot, it is necessary to drink plenty of water to be hydrated.

    Thanks Coach Calorie!

  • bailey

    can teens loose there baby fat from this? is this only for adults? how much should teens drink? i bring a 21 ounce water bottle to school and fill it up about 2 or 3 times a day. then i drink two glasses before bed. how much should i really be drinking a day. with school and every thing i cant just carry a gallon jug of water with me. i dont extra eat and i gain weight instead of loosing weight. is that because i dont get enough water? how could i also loose weight fast when i am really busy and all.

    • bailey

      Thanks coach Calorie

    • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

      This goes for everyone. I like to get in around a gallon a day, but recommendations will depend on factors such as weather and activity levels.
      Just drink water exclusively, eat whole foods, and exercise intensely. Your body composition will begin to change for the better.

  • http://twitter.com/planetshark planetshark

    Great read! As a trainer, I’m constantly asking my clients about their water intake and this post spells out precisely why :) Since many people also confuse hunger with thirst and water helps keep you satiated, it’s a slam dunk for shedding fat:)

    • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

      Good point. Drinking water is also a great way to figure out if you’re hungry or just thirsty.

  • Annie

    I drink tons of fluid …but not all of it water. I start my day with 3 glasses of water, but then after that I have the bad habit of drinking diet soda. It is very difficult for me to get off the stuff…I get a caffeine withdrawal headache if I don’t have it. I have carbonated water and throw some mio in it but I’m still struggling with the soda addiction.

    • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

      You have to take it in steps Annie. Make a goal over the next 2 weeks to only have 1 soda a day. Then once you’ve accomplished that, try making it 3 sodas a week. Then once a week. Then one every once in a while.

  • Linz

    Is it ok to add Mio to your water for flavor?

  • Amy

    As a little girl, I remember my mother starting her day with a glass of water (approx. 16 oz.) As I have aged I incorporated this habit into my lifestyle. I didn’t realize how dehydrated I would get while sleeping!!! With the “new” information just out out sugary drinks, primarily sodas, it’s about time we realize we must go back to the basics. Simple, pure…water. You blog great articles!

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    Thanks Amy, and it’s true, you do get dehydrated overnight. I think waking up with a glass of water starts your day off right!

  • Mandy

    Is this a US or UK gallon that I need for my daily intake? :-)

    • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

      It’s a US gallon, and it’s a general guide. What I really want is just for people to be much more conscientious about their water intake :)

      • Mandy

        Thanks v much. I now drink approx 4 pints a day whereas before I hardly drank any, just cups if tea & coffee. Great site and loads of helpful tips :-)

  • Theresa

    Best thing to do is buy a water bottle (24 oz.) and take it with you everywhere; Drink water when you’re doing other things, ie. on the computer, watching tv. etc; it becomes a habit after a while and i don’t even think twice about it anymore

    • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

      Exactly. I always have a glass sitting at my desk with me. Sip sip sip and before you know it, it’s gone.

  • Patricia

    How many calories should a women in her early 50′s consume if she is 160 lbs?

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    Hi Patricia, take a look at my weight loss guide at the how many calories section – http://www.coachcalorie.com/how-to-lose-weight

  • mommywonderland.com

    This was so informative!! THANK YOU!

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    I would not. It has artificial sweeteners.

  • Heather

    I struggle to drink the full amount of water each day, but find I can easily manage cooled mint/green/white tea (or any combination thereof). Every time I boil the kettle I fill up a pot of tea and have a couple of carafes on the go into which I decant the tea. I work on the assumption that I’m getting the benefit of the green tea as well as the necessary hydration.

  • Heather

    I have only been drinking half of that every day! No wonder I am still bloated.

  • Glaiza Bernaldez

    This article is very helpful, thanks for sharing :)