Ep. 260: Drinking Enough Water

Ready to change your mind about weight loss? Grab The 5-0 Method to lose all the weight you want and keep it off forever.

Today I’ve got a thorough answer that covers everything you need to know (plus more!) about drinking water and losing weight.

So, you’ve downloaded The 5-0 Method because you want to lose weight, but the water requirement seems like a LOT more than you’re currently drinking. Can you count coffee, tea, or soda in that daily target?

My friend, this is the question I get asked more than any other, and on today’s episode of the Fitness Matters podcast I’ve got a thorough answer that covers everything you need to know (plus more!) about drinking water and losing weight.

What You’ll Learn

👉  The SCIENCE of hydration
👉  How DEHYDRATION shows up in your body (not just on the scale)
👉  What to DO if you can’t (or don’t wanna) drink your water target

Ready to raise a glass (of water!) and get your weight loss goal? Tune in now!


You're listening to the Fitness Matters Podcast with Pahla B, and this is episode number 260, "Drinking Enough Water."

Welcome to the Fitness Matters Podcast, where every week we talk about the fitness matters that matter to you. I'm Paula B., YouTuber, certified life and weight loss coach, soon to be author, and your best middle-aged fitness friend. Are you ready to talk about the fitness mindset that matters to you? Me too. Let's go.

Well, hello my friends. It's so good to be here with you again, and I am so excited about today's topic. Well, okay, you know what? I'm already rethinking that sentence right there. Excited, kind of a big word, but I am excited to clarify quite a few things about the topic of drinking enough water, because this is one of the questions that I get asked all the time. I get this question from emails and direct messages, and just so you know, really quickly, let me take a left turn, because that's what I do always at the beginning of the podcast. I so appreciate that you have questions for me. I don't actually respond individually to emails or direct messages. I do always respond in public to any of your questions. So, hopefully you are listening to this podcast if you have asked me this question via an email, a direct message or in the comments or in Facebook or Instagram or Pinterest or any of my social media. I get asked this question all the time about what counts as water in the 5-0 Method.

The 5-0 Method is my completely free weight loss program for women over 50. It's science-backed. It's simple. It's sustainable. It totally works, and the thing that I would love to share with you today that I know I've mentioned a couple of times, but today I really, really want to hammer this home in a nice way. So, hammer is kind of the wrong word in that sentence, but I want to hand this to you in a way that really truly makes sense to you and empowers you. The 5-0 Method is a framework, and it's a framework based on scientific principles, and working with at this point, thousands of women working with my own body, understanding as much of the science as any of us can understand, which is to say there's a lot about the human body that frankly scientists do not know, and really there's a lot about women of a certain age human bodies that scientists don't know.

There's tons more about the mechanism of weight loss and food science and how our bodies even take in and store and use energy. There are so many things that we don't know, we just don't know. So, when I offer you the 5-0 Method, which is to say that there are five things that we do every single day in order to lose weight. One of them is drinking the right amount of water, which I offer to you as half of your body weight in pounds, in fluid ounces of water. I offer that to you in those exact words for a couple of reasons. Number one, first and foremost, honestly, with all five of the things we do, which by the way just let me tell you really quickly, it's eating the right number of calories, drinking the right amount of water, getting the right amount of sleep, exercising moderately, and managing your mind, and those are not necessarily in the order in which they're most important because managing your mind, definitely number one.

It just happens to be the last thing that I talk about. Really, specifically, it happens to be the last thing that I talk about when we're working out with my full-length workouts, because it leads into all kinds of other things that I'm going to talk about during the workout. It's the only reason I list that last. It's actually number one. Anyway, how many left turns was that? Have we made a complete U-turn at this point? Let's get back to what I'm saying. The reason that I offer you those five things is that they are, I'm going to call it, I'm going to call it an ideal, and you can do with that word what you want to do with that word. I understand that that specific word might feel very loaded for you. I'll encourage you, this is why mindset work is the number one thing.

I'll encourage you to really look into how that word feels, whether or not that's what you, how you want to think about it. I don't want to really want to say standard, because truly there's not a standard that you have to meet. I offer you these five things the way I have them offered to you as though that is the pinnacle. That's like being the best that you could be and any way that you make any of those five things work for you at all is definitely the way that you should do it.

Meaning that it's your standard, and that really is, at this point, what five to 10 minutes into the podcast, that really is the short answer that I'm going to offer you is that coffee, tea, soda, whatever it is that you're drinking, totally counts as water, and maybe it doesn't. The reason I offer you the very specific language of drinking half of your body weight in pounds in fluid ounces of water is because of the science of hydration.

Let me delve into that somewhat briefly, but probably not briefly because it's me. The thing about hydration is that your body can actually adapt to anything, like all kinds of conditions. Your body can adapt to so much it's absolutely astounding, and the one thing that your body can't adapt to is dehydration. Every single process in your body, all of them, cells dividing, cells doing what they're supposed to do, every single thing that your body does requires water in some form or another. The thing about that is that that means that you need enough water to operate all of the billions of processes in your body at their optimum level. Now, here's the thing. You and I, we can totally operate at sub- optimum level. Your body, well, it's a miracle. It's a walking, talking, blinking, thinking miracle that can do lots of things, but here's how it, and you might call this adapts, because it's not really an adaptation, but here's how it copes with dehydration.

It turns off some of your processes. It just kind of stops doing stuff or it stops doing certain things at optimal level in order to protect the most important stuff. To your body, the most important thing is always going to be your heart and lungs, just like that's number one. It's why you have ribs. It's why they operate on their own systems that aren't necessarily related to other parts of your body. Your heart and your lungs are the things that are keeping you alive.

Interestingly, two of the things that your body, I'm not going to say shuts down, but it starts to slow down the processes of, are your brain and digestion, and it makes me laugh every time because the way that I think about this is that if you are not fully hydrated, you are both mentally and physically constipated, and I really, I say that to you so that you understand that hydration really is important.

It's not just about weight loss, truly. For weight loss, well, for weight loss, I mean one of the reasons that hydration is so important for weight loss is just that it does help your body operate at its peak efficiency. I mean, when your body is operating the way it's supposed to, it will tap into your fat stores is really the thing here. When your body is making decisions about how to do things that are kind of like plan B or plan C, it's not necessarily going to go straight to fat storage in order to get energy. In fact, sometimes under certain conditions, your body will almost always go with blood sugar first for energy, and then it'll maybe tap into fat storage or it'll probably go to your glycogen stores, which is a certain, it's basically stored blood sugar in your muscles, and your liver, but then it doesn't always go into fat storage.

It could also just start canabalizing your muscles in order to get energy. Your body makes all kinds of decisions based on honestly, more factors than I could possibly enumerate. I'm just going to say millions, even though that's probably aiming kind of high, but your body has so many decisions to make at any given moment, and when you are, for example, not fueled properly, not recovered properly, and I'm talking about sleep here, not hydrated properly, your body has to go to other ways of doing things, Plan B and plan C and plan D instead of operating at peak efficiency on plan A. So, when you are fully hydrated, your body is more likely to make more decisions that helps you lose weight. That's why I talk about hydration, but here's the thing. What about your body? Does your personal body really need that much water?

My friend, I have absolutely no idea. Truly, none. Each and every one of us is in every sense of the word, an experiment of one. Your personal body, again, is making so many millions, possibly billions of decisions about how to operate each and everything that it is operating, and it's making those decisions based on not just today's inputs, though, more likely on today's inputs, but on the inputs of let's say the last couple of days, the last couple of weeks, the last couple of months and possibly the last couple of years. Really, specifically, I'm thinking about movement patterns. Your body gets really efficient at movement patterns that you have practiced over the course of months or years, as opposed to just something that you're doing today. So, when I am telling you that your body needs this much hydration, what I'm telling you is that that is probably an ideal, and again, please do your own work on that word if it just doesn't sit right with you.

Take a quick moment, and just ask yourself what that word sounds like to you, and if there's another word that might settle with you better, because I'm trying to say something nice. I'm trying to say this in a really loving way, and if you don't hear it that way, then substitute any other word that works for you. When you are fully hydrated, your body will operate in its most efficient, effective, and ideal way for both weight loss and just general health, fitness, mental health, mental fitness, all of the things, and this is where I want to go with this next. The thing about hydration is that it doesn't just show up on the scale. When I'm talking to you about drinking enough water, and how it affects your body, when you are paying attention to how hydration is working for you personally, one of the ways that you can see whether or not you are properly hydrated is whether or not you are losing weight.

That's not necessarily the first thing you're going to notice though, because there are other factors that go into you losing weight, not the least of which is managing your mind by finding your thoughts and deciding if they're helpful, making sure that you're really consistent, eating the right number of calories, making sure that you're not either over exercising. Honestly, there's no way to under exercise for weight loss, but I know lots if you think there is, and that's a conversation for another day, and making sure that you are properly rested and recovered, which goes into the exercise thing. Really, seriously, conversation for another day. I could definitely distract myself on that one, but here's the thing. All of those factors go into weight loss. All of those factors are going to show up on the scale in their own really specific way, so the scale is not necessarily the best indicator of whether or not you are properly hydrated.

Some of the best indicators of whether or not you are properly hydrated are going to show up in your skin. Really, specifically, if you have chapped lips, you are not properly hydrated. If you have dry skin over your body in lots of different places, and I'm not talking about medical conditions, but I mean just dry skin in general, that's a sign of hydration. Did you know that when you stand up quickly and you get dizzy and feel like you're going to pass out, that's a sign of hydration. What? Hydration also shows up in your hair, whether or not your hair feels dry or soft. It shows up in your mood, my friends, really quickly. This is a podcast within a podcast. It's a very, very, very quick explanation of a much larger conversation, but a mood is a collection of thoughts that your brain has the opportunity to pull from.

I have always thought of this as being almost like a Venn diagram, where your brain actually has an infinite number of thoughts to choose from. Literally, any string of words that could even remotely be considered a sentence, your brain could think that. It could. However, under certain conditions, for example, dehydration, PMS is the other one that comes to me as a very obvious under these conditions like hormonal conditions, your brain would pull from this particular pool of thoughts. In the Venn diagram of here's every single thought you could ever think ever, there are certain circles or ovals or however you want to think about drawing a Venn diagram, but there are certain pods or pools of thoughts that are more easily accessible to you under certain conditions. The other one that I often think of is seasonal effective disorder, where because there is less light or less sunshine, your brain is more likely to pull from a pool of thoughts that are sad or bleak or depressed.

That one, okay, just so you know, I'm not trying to diagnose or give you any help really, specifically,, on seasonal effective disorder. Please talk to your doctor. Please always talk to your doctor or your mental health specialist for any of the things that I talk about that you feel like you'd specific help for. My advice is always very general and what I'm offering you here is that really specifically, when you are dehydrated, you have a more likely chance to pull from a specific pool of automatic thoughts that are not amazing, that are bleak or unhappy or in my case, angry. You guys, this is something I have known about myself for years. When I get just that little low-grade, grr, frustrated, all day long, a mood of frustration, it is one of the surest signs that I have not had enough water to drink.

Isn't that hilarious or interesting or odd? Yes, this is me being an experiment of one. You might notice something like that in your own life. Under certain kinds of conditions, you are more likely to pull from a certain type of thought. Dehydration is one of those conditions. It can affect your mood, meaning a repetitive pattern of thinking over a long course of time, like a day or even a couple of days, a couple of weeks, whatever, as opposed to, I'm going to use the word normal again. Don't take this as anything other than me grabbing a word that came to me readily. There's probably a better one for it, but ordinarily, how about that? How commonly. That's a much better word. Commonly, we will think thoughts, feel feelings, and then move on to the next thing. Thoughts that get more repetitive than normal thoughts or common thoughts or regular thoughts or whatever word we're going with, because truly all thoughts are repetitive, but some of them we notice as more repetitive than others.

Okay, can we get back to hydration? I feel like I've gotten a little bit over my head on something that I actually didn't even intend to talk about, and we'll let that discussion lie and come back to it another time. Dehydration can show up in your mood. Also, it can show up in, as I kind of already mentioned, your regularity. Your digestive system is incredibly dependent on hydration. It'll also show up interestingly, in your ability to regulate your body temperature. This one is not necessarily going to be your best indicator, because some of the hormonal fluctuation that goes on during perimenopause and the menopause transition, it really is hormonally-related, and there's a couple of different theories about the exact mechanism of why hot flashes occur. But, one of the things that can help you with your regular body temperature regulation is being adequately hydrated, and also interestingly is, your hydration can show up in your joint mobility.

Now, this one really, specifically, there are also all kinds of other reasons why you might have stiffness in your joints, not the least of which is menopause, which affects so many things, so many things. It affects your muscles and joints. The lack of estrogen changes how your body has worked basically since puberty, and one of the things that a lack of estrogen can change is your joint mobility. You might experience more stiffness in your joints. Some of that is also the aging process. For me personally, the fastest way to notice de dehydration is in dry chapped lips, a grumpy, I use that word mood, and also the standing up and feeling dizzy thing. Those are the things that I notice immediately. It also, over time, I mean if I have a couple of days where I'm not drinking enough water, that's when it starts to show up for me personally as a gain on this scale.

Generally speaking though, I'll tell you, and this is the thing about the scale and scale fluctuations, is that for, it never fails that when I am dehydrated, there's usually something else about my routine that is also different, which could be the combination of things that's showing up on the scale. Almost always, if I'm dehydrated, it's because I'm either exercising more or sleeping less or eating differently, because I am away from my home. I'm away from my routine, and things are just different away from home than they are at home. So, for me, it's very difficult to see whether or not hydration shows up on the scale immediately. I've never conducted an experiment where I did everything else just like I normally do, and didn't drink enough water. If I'm in my normal routine, my normal routine includes drinking enough water, but here's what I want to tell you about this.

You, your personal body might react very differently to hydration than mine, and this is where we are finally going to really talk about mindset, and what this means for you. When I hand you the 5-0 Method as a framework, there's a couple of different things that go on with taking it as a framework versus taking it as law. When I hand it to you and say, "Hey, here's what you can do.
Here's the ideal." Again, do the work. "Here's the ideal of how to operate your body in order to get optimum results," you have thoughts about that, and one of those thoughts comes out in the question, Can I count my coffee, my tea, or my soda or other liquid things?" The reason I think you ask me that question is because you have thoughts about drinking water, and I want to be very clear that the thoughts that you have about drinking water, first of all, are thoughts which makes them optional and second of all don't sound like thoughts.

They sound like facts. They sound like problems maybe, because here's what I hear pretty frequently. "If I drink that much, I'm going to have to pee all the time, and I work a job where I can't. It's just not convenient for me to go to the bathroom unless I'm on a specific lunch break or something else." Or the other one that I hear very frequently is, "I really don't like the taste of water. Can I put something in it? Can I count something else?" Here's what I want to say to you about both of those thoughts. I'm not offering to you that they are thoughts, and therefore optional, as though you are making excuses, and I think that, I mean, this is part of a big broad conversation when I tell you, "Hey, did you know that you can examine your thoughts about this particular thing?""Did you know that if it's a thought, that means that it's optional?" I'm never judging your thoughts. I'm never telling you, "Oh, that's just an excuse." You don't have to think that, if you're reading the transcript, I'm making sort of a sarcastic comment or not even sarcastic, like my tone sounds very judgemental, much more than sarcastic. Sarcastic was the wrong word. I'm never judging your thoughts, my friends, ever. We all have them. They all sound like facts. They always do. This is how your brain is supposed to work. It's completely okay. It's completely okay that you have thoughts that create for you a situation in which you would like to seek the pleasure of drinking coffee or tea or soda, and avoid the pain of drinking water if you don't like the taste or the inconvenience of having to go to the bathroom when you don't have the ability to go to the bathroom. Totally normal.

Totally okay. This is how your brain operates. You are always seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. You are always thinking thoughts and hearing them as factual truths. That's exactly how your brain works, and this is why you listen to this podcast, because I remind you that you have the power of metacognition, which is to say that you can think about your thoughts, and you can examine them, and you can decide whether or not your thoughts are helpful for you. In that same vein, you can take a look at, you can examine your results, and decide if they are helpful to where you want to go. Everything about the process, the 5-0 Method process is yours to examine. I offer it to you again as this ideal, optimum, efficient way of doing things, and every single solitary part of it can be modified and moderated and thrown out the window, and reexamined and tweaked and jiggered to fit you.

You are 100% capable of losing weight, and you are 100% capable of taking the five things that I offer you, and making them fit into your lifestyle, so that you can get results. What that means for you on a really practical level is that number one, you will want to examine your thoughts about drinking water. You will just want to hear what your brain is offering you. When it sounds hard to drink water, what's that thought? It's hard to drink water, probably. I mean, it really can be something as simple as that, and here's the thing. When you think that thought, it's hard to drink water, how do you feel? It's hard to drink water feels very resigned to me like, Ugh. I guess there's just nothing to be done here. That resigned feeling is your sign that thought isn't helpful. My friends, this is the two-step tool.

This is where I'm going to refer you to episode number 89, Mind Management, where we do the two-step tool. You find your thought, which we just found. it's hard to drink water, and then you decide if it's helpful by listening, tuning in to what kind of a feeling it creates in your body. If the feeling is good, excited, happy, motivated, whatever, then that is a helpful thought for you. If the feeling is, I'm going to put air quotes around it, but God, doesn't feel good. You feel resigned or defeated or frustrated or angry or sad or any number of other bad feelings, uncomfortable feelings, then that thought isn't getting you where you want to go. Now, here's the thing. I know it sounds true. It's hard to drink water. Totally sounds true. Totally sounds factual, but it doesn't matter if it's true. Truth has very little to do with getting you to your goal.

The thing that's going to get you to your goal is helpful thoughts. That's why we're examining our thoughts. We're not trying to find some deep, dark truth here. We're simply trying to find thoughts that are helping us get where we want to go. So, here's the thing. You might have a thought such as, "I'm going to count coffee, tea, and soda, and see what happens." When I think that thought, "I'm going to count coffee, tea, and soda and see what happens," I feel very relieved, actually. It feels like A, I'm in control. B, I don't have to have the answer figured out yet. I can. I'm just collecting data right now and I'll see in four to six weeks how this is working out for me, and three or whatever, and I'm on, that this is all something I can do. I already drink coffee, tea, and soda. I can totally handle what I'm already doing, and just see what happens. Everything about that sentence feels amazing to me, which means it's helpful.

Ta da. You guys, here's the thing about drinking enough water. You can, you are capable of either drinking half your body weight in pounds, in fluid ounces of water or figuring out exactly what works for you. Your body needs hydration. We've covered the science of it. It needs hydration. That doesn't mean that it needs the exact optimal amount that I offer you in the 5-0 Method. The 5-0 Method is, again, I'm going to use the word an ideal that you can aim for in any way that works for you. When you pay attention to your thoughts while you're doing stuff, to the data, while you're doing stuff and to the results after you've been doing stuff for somewhere in the neighborhood of like four to six weeks, then you are making it yours. You are the one guaranteeing your weight loss.

I am just the one who has offered you a standard, which isn't really a standard, but an ideal, and some science and a method, a framework. You, guaranteeing your own weight loss, which of course means that I'm going to refer you to the episode guaranteed weight loss, where it's all you, my friend. You've totally got this. You can count anything, and you can make changes as necessarily, and you can drink the ideal amount of water if it works for you. You guys, I really hope this was helpful for you today. Thank you so much for listening. I'll talk to you again soon.
If you are getting a lot out of the Fitness Matters Podcast, and you're ready to take it to the next level, you are going to love to Get Your Goal Coaching and Accountability Group. We take all the theory and knowledge here on the podcast, and actually apply it in real life, on your real weight loss and fitness goals. It's hands on. It's fun, and it works. Find out more at pahlabfitness.com/get-your-goal, and let's get your goal.

Listen to the full episode here, and be sure to leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts.

Originally aired November 6, 2022
Today I’ve got a thorough answer that covers everything you need to know (plus more!) about drinking water and losing weight.
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Meet Your Host

Mindset expert and certified life coach Pahla B knows a thing or two about changing your mind to change your weight and your life. She’s the creator of The 5-0 Method, Amazon-best selling author of the book “Mind Over Menopause,” and former yo-yo dieter who has cracked the code on lifelong weight maintenance. Join Pahla B each week for the personal insights, transformative mindset shifts, and science-backed body advice that can help you lose all the weight you want and keep it off forever.