It has been suggested that the obesity epidemic may in part be a dehydration crisis: we’re thirsty, but we think we’re hungry, so instead of drinking water, we eat more food. There certainly could be something to this theory, because most Americans not only don’t drink enough water but dehydrate themselves with caffeine and alcohol and by flying in planes, baking in saunas, and playing weekend warrior without replenishing lost fluids.
Drinking ample water can be a great friend to long-term weight loss because it assuages false hunger; it fulfills the brain’s need for water, which can mistake for a desire for sugar; and it makes us look and feel better, so taking care of ourselves proceeds more naturally.
The suggestion to drink plenty of water, though, isn’t just an idle “should” made up by some ogre who doesn’t want you to enjoy life. Every chemical reaction that takes nutrients and makes them into energy requires a water molecule. Some people are able to lose weight simply by drinking more water, because that alone ramps up those chemical reactions so the entire system works more efficiently.
Some real-life ways to drink more water include:
Keep pitchers of water with slices lemon in your fridge and on your desk. You’ll see it, so you’ll drink it, and the lemon makes it taste like something.
Ease yourself off colors and sweetened sodas with flavored sparkling water. Sometimes just having that little bit of fizz makes the transition easier for a confirmed soda drinker.
Carry a half-liter bottle of water with you wherever you go. If you have a bottle of water with you, you’re less likely to pick up a can of soda. Buy them by the six pack if that’s what it takes; otherwise, refill the bottle from your own pure water source at home.
Start choosing water instead of other beverages until it becomes a habit. Fancy restaurants will bring you a chilled bottle of San Pellegrino as if it were fine champage, and street vendors, quickie marts, and most movie theaters now sell water, too. (If you’re offended by the idea of paying for water, remember that you’d be paying for the Pepsi or iced latté anyway, and water is something you really need.)
When someone asks if you’d like a drink, request water. And when someone asks if you’d like water, say yes.
In winter, sip warm water, with lemon or on its own. Herbal teas like licorice, hibiscus, and chamomile can count as water, too. Look for lovely blends at your supermarket or natural foods store, and order them at restaurants when the server asks if you want coffee after dinner.
As one who formerly avoided plain, ordinary water (maybe I thought it would give me — heaven forbid — a plain, ordinary life), I can tell you that once you start drinking it, you’ll start liking it. It’s like recovering the ability to enjoy strawberries when you thought they needed shortcake, or apples when they’re not in pie. Pure and simple has its own appeal.
Excerpted from Fit from Within* by Victoria Moran. Victoria Moran is a life coach and the author of several bestselling books, including The Love-Powered Diet,Creating a Charmed Life,* and others. Visit her at VictoriaMoran.com.
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