Did you know that you can hold up to 2 stone in weight in your body in excess water? Weight loss initially may just be as a result of you losing this water, but you will regain that weight very quickly when you stop your new diet programme.
Our brain cannot distinguish between the sensations of thirst and hunger; both are derived from the same place so are often confused. We instinctively assume that regardless of the driver, both of these sensations indicate ‘the need to eat’. In other words we eat food even when the body needs water.
By staying hydrated we can distinguish between these two messages and often eat a lot less – i.e. the right amount.
Top Hydration Tips:
1. Carry a bottle. Number one tip – because it makes sure you always have your water on you to sip. I personally like to have a bottle with me at all times and it’s amazing how much water you can drink without consciously making the effort.
2. Set a reminder. This isn’t something you will have to do forever, but I recommend you set an hour reminder on your phone or watch to beep and remind you to have a big gulp or a glass of water every hour. It is amazing how often you suddenly realise it is lunchtime and you’ve not really had anything to drink yet!
3. Find a substitute. For every other drink you go to have, be it a tea, coffee or juice – substitute with water, a juice or green smoothie. You will be surprised at a) how good it makes you feel and b) how much of a pat on the back you can give yourself afterwards. This simple tip can lead to some really good, positive reinforcement that yes, you can say no and it makes you even more healthy!
4. Always have water at your desk. Simply having a bottle at your desk at all times means that when you do remember you can tuck straight into it, rather than thinking “oh yes, water, now let me just finish this email first”
5. Hydrate efficiently. Drinking at particular times of the day can be so much more effective than downing a huge amount at once. Follow these guidelines:
On rising, drink a large glass of water with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to kick start the day.
At meal times, where possible, make sure to drink your water at least 30 minutes before eating as this will allow time for the water to be utilised more effectively, hydrating you in preparation for adequate digestion.
Drink frequently throughout the day, you generally need 1.5 to 2L for adequate hydration. More if exercising.
6. Avoid as much as possible, as the following are hugely dehydrating, as well as being detrimental to health.
coffee (high caffeine)
black tea (especially with milk and sugar!)
green tea (high caffeine)
fruit juice (very high concentration of sugar)
soft drinks (think sugar!)
carbonated (fizzy) water (these leach calcium from your bones)
alcohol (you know why!)
That is not to say you can never have any of the above, just in moderation. However I would seriously cut out the soft drinks NOW. ‘Soft drinks’ includes colas, sports drinks, flavoured milks, flavoured waters, energy drinks and iced tea drinks.