Cristina Goynes wrote a great piece in Shape magazine on the benefits of water when it comes to holiday weight gain. I’m thrilled to have been quoted. My contribution is about dehydration and the direct effect this has on neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, leading to increased carb cravings for a good mood and for an energy boost!
The article is called the “No.1 Thing to Do to Minimize Holiday Weight Gain”
Going into the scale-tipping season known as Thanksgiving to New Year’s, the typical mindset is to amp up workouts, cut calories, and stick to crudités at parties to dodge those extra holiday pounds. But who actually does that?
This year, dare to be different: Rather than take on unrealistic demands during an already stressful time, focus on only one thing that will help you look better, feel less tempted by party food, have more energy, and brighten your mood. The answer is as simple as sipping more water.
This is one of the water/mood papers we used for the story: a 2012 animal study found that “dehydration is able to reduce serotoninergic neurotransmission, which might be involved in generating anxiety behavior.”
This animal study showed that dehyrdation also affects “dopaminergic neurotransmission” leading to hyperactivity. Changes in dopamine can also affect concentration and focus and lead to increased cravings for energy.
A 2011 study that looked at 24 females in their 20s found that dehydration “degraded mood, increased perception of task difficulty,” lowered concentration, and caused headaches.
A similar study looking at men, also in their 20s found that mild dehydration caused “adverse changes in vigilance and working memory,” and increased tension, anxiety and fatigue.
This Amino Acids Mood Questionnaire from The Antianxiety Food Solution will give you a clue about your serotonin and dopamine/catecholamine levels and this blog post on Winter blues, SAD, holiday stress and sugar will give you some insights into the winter blues.
When you get a serotonin and dopamine boost it balances brain chemistry so you don’t have to use willpower and you don’t feel deprived! And you won’t be drawn to sugary foods and won’t gain weight over the holidays.
Do read the rest of the SHAPE article here as it has practical information on how
- Holiday stress also contributes to dehydration
- Water makes us feel full by adding extra volume to our stomach
- it can also help you feel satisfied
- it is the easiest, cheapest way to score firmer, younger-looking skin
So drink up that water to reduce anxiety, depression and cravings, feel satisfied, not gain weight, have more energy and be more focused, have beautiful skin and feel stress-free!