Sitting in warm water, may be better that drinking it. (Tabacon Hot Springs, Costa Rica)
This is an interesting question from a Renegade Health Reader that requires some attention…
Imagine if just drinking a warm glass of spring water was enough for anyone to reach their weight loss goals – or better yet, burn off that excess, unsightly belly fat.
Personal trainers around the world would have to turn to other lines of work, like psychology, sketch comedy, or any job that requires standing around and watching people do things. (I can knock on trainers, because I was one!)
I know it already seems like I don’t think it’s possible a warm cup of herbal tea will turn your body bikini – or Speedo – worthy, but you may be surprised with my answer.
Let’s see if we can figure out if warm water will really help lose belly fat, using a little bit of knowledge, experience and common sense.
First, here’s the question(s)…
“I have been seeing an acupuncturist for about a month now. He says that my issues stem from circulation and recommends I only drink warm liquids, water preferable. Does this really help with circulation? Also, I changed my eating habits in September, 2010 and start with a daily exercise regimen in January. I have lost about 60 pounds and have almost met my goal. My problem area is my belly fat and my acupuncturist also said that the warm liquids would help with this issue as well. Is that true?”
First off, congratulations on your success!
Losing 60 pounds is not an easy task. You may not think it, but you are a fantastic role model and I hope you’re already telling people how you’ve made this lifesaving change in your health.
I hope they’re listening too…
Now let’s get to your questions.
Will drinking warm water help with circulation?
Drinking warm liquids will help your body stay warmer and bring more blood to your extremities – particularly if you live in a colder environment.
Just drink a cup of tea when you’re cold and you can feel your hands and feet starting to regain their full range of motion. They’ll also no longer be like ice pads to your significant other, if you decide to hold their hand or give them a back rub.
This above is purely anecdotal information, but I’m sure somewhere on the planet you’ll be able to find some science (if you dig that type of certainty) to back it up.
How much will it improve circulation?
I don’t know the exact answer to this (3.5%?, 9X?, Double?), but I can tell you that it won’t work as well as the exercise you’re doing.
In the natural health world, I’ve noticed that people tend to gloss over the BIG solutions and try the things that are easier to do – expecting amazing results.
At times I find myself wondering why someone would spend $1000′s of dollars on a water machine, when I know there’s a clean, tested spring 20 minutes from their house. Or even better, why someone would bother buying and using a detoxifying foot bath, when they still smoke cigarettes. I guess it’s easier to just spend the money on something instead of doing the work.
Back to circulation… If you want great circulation, you better be moving. Warm water won’t cut it completely, or maybe not even enough to make any difference.
Will warm water and liquids help eliminate belly fat?
In theory, this may just work a little.
But it may also not work at all.
There’s a camp that will tell you drinking cold water will help eliminate body fat because your body burns calories when it needs to warm the water to body temperature.
The other camp, like your acupuncturist, will tell you that warm liquids increase circulation which in turn will allow your body to function more efficiently.
They both are and they both aren’t. (There’s truth to everything, which may drive a few of you nuts.)
Because drinking warm water is the last thing I’d recommend to someone who is trying to lose their belly fat. (I would recommend drinking more water though.)
The three places I’d look before I’d even consider water warming as a fat loss secret are here:
1. Obviously, exercise.
Not only exercise, but the type of exercise.
Most people who are getting great fat loss results are doing interval type training.
This means, you do a few exercises in short bursts, then rest for a timed period. After your rest, you start again. (We have a Fitness Week coming up for you that will give you examples!)
The intention here is to shock your system a bit and create more testosterone (don’t worry women, you won’t turn Amazonian), boost the metabolism, and raise your heart rate.
These all will help burn fat.
But keep in mind – on the other side of the spectrum – you can also lose weight using cardio training.
What I’ve found though is that some of the leanest people I know, do interval training at least a few times a week.
Success leaves clues.
(Keep in mind, high intensity interval training might not be best for those with medium to severe adrenal issues.)
2. Hormone balance.
Belly fat, whether you like it or not, may be a result of a hormone imbalance in the body. While it would be nice to drink a glass of room temperature water while you’re reading or listening to your favorite Renegade Health Program and hope that everything works out, it’s just not the case.
Balancing your hormones is not an easy 1-2-3 solution.
People with more belly fat, tend to have lower testosterone and more estrogen (men and women). They also tend to produce more cortisol than others who are trim around the waistline. This means if you’re a ball of stress on a daily basis, you may be able to lose weight if you just go to the park and sit in peace for an hour a day.
The two most prominent body-fat-contributing, hormone producers are the adrenals and the thyroid. If your thyroid, closely tied to your metabolism, is sluggish, you will show it by having excess weight – generally all over your body.
If your adrenals are overworked, you also will experience the same phenomenon of “unwanted weight, unable to get it off.” Adrenals are more closely tied to belly fat though. (You can check Dr. Cass Ingram on this, as well as all those who link body types to different health issues.)
So what to do?
Get your hormones tested.
There are a lot of ways to do this, but doing one will get your started on the process.
Your options are: blood, urine and saliva. Again, do one, then see where that leads you.
3. What you put in your mouth is just as important as when you do it.
It’s funny, when I started out writing the answer to this question, I told myself 500 words would be fine. I think I’m now over 1000 with another 200 or so to go.
This just leads to the conclusion that nothing ever seems to be as straightforward as we’d all like it to be.
Anyway, this third place to look is very important.
Over the years, I’ve worked with some very overweight people. I’m not the type to lie about my track record, so I’ll tell you some have succeeded and some haven’t. I actually think that unspoken track records (not the people who brag about 99% success rates), are a constant over a lifetime. I think 10-20% of people will always succeed and the rest will continue to find excuses to keep them the way they are.
I don’t mean to sound harsh here, but this seems to be reality between all the people I’ve spoken to in all different types of coaching. Anyone who boasts a 70-80-90-100% success rate, absolutely stop tracking their people once they leave whatever program it is.
Anyway, back from that tangent, the good news is that you can increase your success rate of lowering belly fat by focusing on when you eat and what you eat.
Of course, you don’t want to eat cookies and white sugar and bacon cheeseburgers.
But what I’ve found is that some people respond really well – in terms of weight loss – with a low carbohydrate diet and others respond well with a higher carbohydrate diet.
What does that mean to you?
Try them both and see which one works best for you.
Also, the time that you eat is important as well.
You may or may not be surprised, but the largest people I’ve worked with habitually skip breakfast.
You would think they’d have to order the lumberjack special at the local diner every day to gain all that weight, but they usually don’t eat breakfast at all, not even a bagel. (Which I wouldn’t recommend, but may actually be an improvement from nothing.)
Eating regularly, can increase your chances of losing weight because it balances the release of insulin in the body. When you starve yourself during the day, then eat at night, chances are you are eating more food and more carbohydrates. This will cause a greater release of insulin that you’ll take with you to bed – meaning simply – your body will turn into a fat storing (and snoring) machine.
So what and when are super important.
How is important as well. Eat with friends (healthy ones.) Eat sitting down. Eat when you’re not doing anything else.
To wrap this all up, another note on warm water…
I thought I’d share this because it’s relevant to what we’re talking about today…
My Spanish teacher, Maria Theresa, here in Peru told me the other day that you have to drink warm water with raw foods. Apparently, it helps with digestion.
I don’t know if she’s right or not, but this is wisdom passed down from the ages here in Peru. Apparently, everyone knows this.
But remember, she’s a Spanish teacher.
She may be right, or it may be folk lore.
It’s up to you to decide if it works for you or not.
My advice, is that if you do have a little digestion issue and you’re eating a lot of raw foods, give it a shot and prove it to yourself.
In the worst case, you’re more hydrated than you were before.
I want to know your thoughts: What is your take on warm water? Have any science to support or refute it?