This is a series of articles I will be publishing this year, documenting my weight loss journey! I have made 12 changes in my lifestyle and diet, in my quest to 12 kilos in 12 months,. What this means is, I didn’t just follow one change per month, but all 12 changes… but for blogging purposes, the format of this series will highlight on each change every month. Now, for the most important part of any diet…. read on:
Lifestyle change #1: Three litres of water a day
I have never been an ardent water drinker. I never really feel thirsty so I much never drank water unless somebody prompted me to, or as part of meals. In fact, to be totally honest, I hated the taste of water! Is that crazy? If it is, the only reason must be that I was young and stupid enough not to care about the repercussions.
Needless to say, I had kidney stones, low stamina and myriad other health issues… In the past two years, I was diagnosed with jaundice, hypothyroidism and three other semi-serious body conditions. Nobody said to me that it was all connected to water intake, but I listened to my body for the first time in my life… and I could see what it needed. More water.
So, I took up water therapy. Not the one that advocated drinking 1.5 L of water on waking up, but the one that asks you take little sips throughout the day. But before starting, I did my homework. My short story and chapter book challenges had made me realise that your goals are only as good as your preparation for them. I have failed a lot trying to start a new habit and then giving up three days in, so I made sure I had the tools ready beforehand.
- I borrowed a small cup from the kitchen. It’s about 175 ml or 6 gulps of water. It now lives in my room.
- I programmed my mobile, PC and laptop to announce the time every half hour.
- Every night, I filled 3 medium-sized bottles (750 ml each) and kept it in my room, near my bed and workstation.
That’s it. As soon as I woke up, I filled the cup and drank it slowly. Your body is dehydrated every morning, since it didn’t have any water while you were asleep. But drinking too much water on waking up is not recommended, so sip gently. Then every time the mobile/PC/laptop announced the time, I filled the cup with water and drank it.
Here’s what has happened in the past month:
- I ate less. Hallelujah! Or rather, I became full with half the amount of food I used to consume before. Reason? There simply wasn’t space in my tummy to accommodate food when there was so much water.
- I don’t know where my sweet tooth went. This in my opinion is the best payoff! I always had a chocolate bar after meals, but ever since I started drinking 3 litres of water a day, I didn’t have the inclination to eat anything after a meal. I guess it got drowned in all the water.
- My moon face improved. The double chin is still there, obviously (grrrr), but I could see that my face is somewhat… thinner. Not thin thin, but… a bit less swollen. I guess all the retained water in my body is now gone, leaving my features to finally emerge!
So, this is the ONE thing that I would ask you to do, if you’re looking to lead a healthier lifestyle – drink more water. And here is the good news: Any liquid – hopefully freshly made at home, and that does not include wine! – can count towards your 3L a day target. Have equal parts of water and homemade vegetable broth. Or a combo of soup + green tea + water. You just need to mix and match sensibly!
Caution: In rare cases, drinking too much of water can dangerously lower the level of salt, or sodium. That’s a condition called hyponatremia, which could be fatal. That’s why you should never gulp down water – just sip a few mouthfuls every thirty minutes. And DO NOT drink any water with meals (soups / juices in small amounts are okay). Also, do not have any water for an hour after a meal.
As always, before starting any health regimen, consult your doctor. I did and my doc said okay! Here are some tips to help you ease more water in your life:
- Make sure you drink 1 litre of water by noon, and 1 litre by 6pm. The rest is easy. I advise the sippy cup method because the idea of drinking from a huge bottle intimidates me. But if you like drinking from the bottle, please do so. Just don’t be a gulper – kidneys don’t like it when you overload them with water at one go.
- I end the day with three cups of freshly prepared green tea (it is believed that this combo will aid in better sleep). Counting this, my daily water intake is only 2.75L every day, but my theory is that the body will get the remaining 250ml from my food (fruits, soups, gravies etc.)
- If you work in an office, take 2 bottles to work. Most feel lazy to get up and fill up their bottles at the cooler, and there goes the chance to drink more water. If you take your daily intake with you, this excuse won’t fly!
- If you travel frequently during the day, don’t forget one bottle in your car / bike BUT make sure you take it back with you when you go home. Do NOT leave it in the car (you might drink it on a later date – NOT good).
- In case, you hate the taste of water, you can a few drops of lemon to it. But, IMO, the more you drink water, the more you end up liking its taste!
Stats on my weight loss goals:
Weight on Jan 1, 2015 – 76 kilos
Weight on Feb 1, 2015 – 75 kilos
So, this is me, thirty days apart… let’s see how I’ll be changing every month this year!