One of the most important things you can do at work is make sure you drink enough water during the business day. The consumption of water could be the most important catalyst in weight loss and maintenance next to exercise. If you are not a regular water drinker (coffee, tea, ice tea and lemonade don’t count), good old plain water is important to add to your diet. As in any dietary change, add the water gradually. Do not jump in and try to drink large amounts immediately. You will feel bloated and require frequent rest stops all day long! The average individual should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day or about two quarts. If you are considered overweight, you will probably need to increase your intake by one additional glass for every 25 pounds of excess weight. Additional water will also be required if you exercise intensely or if it is a very hot, dry day. There are a number of reasons why water is classified as one of the six essential nutrients our body needs to survive: ? Water not only is a natural appetite suppressant, it also enables the body to metabolize stored fat more efficiently. ? Drinking water is the best treatment for fluid retention. The more water you drink, the better the body’s fluid balance. This is especially true in regard to salt or sodium consumption. ? Water helps in the maintenance of good muscle tone by allowing the muscle to contract naturally. This decreases the chance for dehydration within the muscle tissue. ? Water acts as a natural flushing agent in waste removal and helps to relieve constipation. ? Water is especially important for the balance of the body temperature which is a major health concern in our area during hot, humid weather. ? Water helps to keep skin moist. During the winter months when the humidity outside is low and we are inside more with dry heat in our homes, the skin becomes very dry. Facial lines may appear more prominent during the winter and hands and lips become chapped due to fluid depletion. Increasing your water intake will also save you money. When you eat out, do not order a soft drink, tea or coffee with your meal. Order water instead and you will save any where from $1-$3 per meal. Fluids other than water have an incredible mark-up in restaurants. This small change will enable you to put the money saved to better use and be a much healthier nutrient choice for your body. If you have trouble getting enough water when you are on the run or at the office, bring a container with you and keep it close at hand. Take a plastic jar/bottle and fill it with water. Place it in the freezer overnight (leave room in the top for expansion) and you will have nice cold water to drink for most of the following day. See if you can increase your water consumption by 24-32 ounces per day. It will make a big difference in your overall metabolic efficiency and the warmer weather should act as an incentive to make this life style behavior change. Drink that water! Paul Williams is supplements editor for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Additional information provided by Dr. Marie Barnes, a Pomona-based Physician.