Can You Lose Weight By Drinking Water?


Can you lose weight drinking water? Yes. When it comes to losing weight, the three macronutrients of protein, carbohydrates, and fat often steal the show. But the truth is that focusing on the fourth, what I like to call the “forgotten” macronutrient, water, can help you lose weight, too. This article will detail how and why you can lose weight drinking water, as well as share four action steps to take to meet your daily hydration goal to lose weight.

How Drinking More Water Helps You Lose Weight

You may have previously heard that our stomachs are volume counters, not calorie counters.

What does this mean?

It means that we don’t experience satiety simply by crossing a calorie-intake threshold, such as when we surpass 500 calories in one sitting.

For instance, you and I could both eat our weight in pretzels, yet, they’re not too filling given that they’re low in fiber (fiber slows digestion and promotes fullness) and also get ground into virtually nothing, therefore, taking up little space in our stomach.

When we consume something that takes up a lot of space in our stomach, such as fibrous and bulky vegetables, or by drinking a lot of liquid, we feel satiety almost immediately.

This phenomenon is related to the presence of stretch receptors.

Stretch receptors are tiny sensors that exist on the lining of our stomach walls and communicate directly with the appetite control center in our brain.

Why is this important?

When our stomachs fill with volume – either food or liquid – and begins to expand, the receptors lining our stomach wall send a signal to the brain that there’s plenty of food (energy or calories) present and that no more is needed.

Where does water come into play?

You can lose weight drinking water because doing so fills your stomach at the expense of zero calories; therefore, you’re able to essentially “trick” your brain into experiencing satiety by filling your stomach with a large amount of calorie-free fluid.

This is a game-changer when it comes to managing your appetite and keeping you on track with your individualized nutrition blueprint. 

How Much You Should Drink to Lose Weight

The first step I take with all of my one-on-one clients and members of our 5 Percent Community is asking them to log all of their fluid intake for five consecutive days. And when I say all of their fluid intake, this includes water, coffee, tea, sports drinks, diet soda, etc.

I have them complete this exercise to establish a daily average and baseline before I give them a recommendation. The last thing I want to do is give them a recommendation that they’re so far away from that the result of them making such a drastic change in them and their bladder hating me!

Once this average baseline is established, we set new goals in increments of 10 ounces/day more for a week. For instance, if your average daily fluid intake is 70 ounces per day, our first goal would be to average 80 ounces per day for the next seven days. Then, we’d increase this goal to 90 ounces per day.

The ultimate goal is to consistently drink between 0.6 and 0.7 of your body weight (in pounds) in ounces of fluid per day. For example, a 200-pound person would aim to drink between 120 – 140 ounces of fluid per day. 

If you need help determining how much weight to lose to feel your very best, this article will help you determine what is known as your happy weight

You Can Drink More Than Water to Lose Weight

Let me cut right to it: coffee isn’t dehydrating.

Well, it is if you drink your body weight in ounces of coffee, ha, but drinking a few cups per day has zero negative impact on your hydration. But you should be drinking more than just coffee each day.

Coffee, as well as tea, are both 99 percent water. Diet beverages and diet sports drinks are primarily water, too. They can hydrate you well. Plus, may incentivize you to drink more water, too, given water tastes like, well, water.

And can be quite bland.

When tracking your daily total fluid intake, you may include all of the beverages listed above. Each will fill your stomach at the expense of zero calories and help to promote satiety and weight loss. 

4 Strategies to Start Drinking More Water (and Lose More Weight)

  1. The first thing you do each morning upon waking should be to quickly chug – I mean hold your nose and just get it done kind of chug – at least 12 ounces of water. This is not only a great way to start the day to reach your goal daily fluid goal, but you’ll also notice a significantly positive return on investment in how you feel given we lose a significant amount of fluid while breathing during sleep, which leaves us waking in a dehydrated state.
  1. Start and end each meal with 16 ounces of water. This one-two hydration punch will keep your stomach very full, therefore, limiting hunger and the amount of food you eat.
  2. Set an alarm on your phone for every hour to serve as a reminder to drink water.
  3. Invest in a water bottle that is at least 24 ounces. This will limit the number of times you need to fill it and incentivize you to drink more throughout the day. 

Not only can you lose weight by drinking more water, but you can also cure sugar cravings! 

You can lose weight by drinking more water, but if you are feeling stuck in your weight-loss journey and feel like you can’t lose weight no matter what, here are five additional action steps you can take
And when you’re ready to follow a proven path to rebuild your relationship with food, improve your self-care habits, and rewire your brain for positive, powerful action, click here to apply to join The 5% Community and join women just like you who are working to feel, look, and be their best!

Share this post

Paul Salter

Paul Salter is a Registered Dietitian and Founder of The 5% Way. Since 2013, Paul has worked one-on-one with nearly 1,500 men and women, helping them to collectively lose tens of thousands of pounds of body fat and keep it off for good. He’s also published nearly 1,000 articles, two books, and 175 podcast episodes (and counting) on all things related to our five core elements of sustainable weight loss.

The Maintain My Weight Loss After A Diet Blueprint

Leave a Comment