My Top Tips to Getting and Staying Lean & Healthy Part 4 – Water
It’s classic advice for a reason. Drinking lots of water is SO important for weight loss. One of the most important (hence being in my top 5 tips).
Water helps you feel full helping you to space your meals out a bit further and often we mistake thirst for hunger.
Water hugely helps me with cravings. And I get really bad cravings. If I’m hormonal and craving sugar or cocoa or, yes unfortunately still, nicotine then I always up my water intake. I find the very experience of craving makes me dehydrated too and often cravings get misplaced and you end up eating to try and satisfy the craving that could be for something totally different.
If you’re craving or you think you’re hungry but you’re not sure, drink a big glass of water, then if you’re still hungry in half an hour, eat something healthy – ideally protein with some healthy fats which will keep you fuller for longer.
Water helps to clear your system out and support your liver to be able to detoxify your body properly and helps you to stop retaining water. I find when I’m intentionially trying to lose weight (working out a lot and eating at a calorie deficit while sticking to whole foods) I get really squishy, almost puffy fat and it looks like I haven’t lost anything. I looked this up and apparently it’s water filling your fat stores when you burn the fat and drinking more water can help with this too. Nobody wants to work really hard and feel no different!
Water is great at boosting your metabolism too which is an added weight loss bonus and it just enables you to feel generally well. I know if I’m dehydrated I don’t sleep as well, I get cramps, headaches, eye twitches and irritability. So a well rested person is a happy one, and when you’re not as tired, you make better food choices and healthy living is easier.
Speaking of tiredness – I always crave sugary treats when I’m tired, I guess it’s my body’s way of seeking carbs for energy. We all know by now it doesn’t work though, it may give an initial boost but then the crash comes even harder. But when I’m tired I find drinking cold glasses of water, or even a herbal tea, really perks me up and helps me to keep going. I’m almost better on less food on those days, just downing iced water until I can sleep.
One advantage to a real food diet is that by filling most of your plate with veggies at each meal and snacking on fruit you are getting a lot of water from your food. This is another reason you can feel so full from a big plate of low calorie veg.
Ways I like to drink my water are:
Lemon water: I often squeeze fresh lemon into a big glass of tepid or warm water first thing in the morning. It’s best not to have cold water first thing. Make sure you use a straw though as lemon is really bad for your teeth. This aids digestion and detoxifies your body.
With a dash of apple cider vinegar: You want to get the one with ‘the mother’ in it as this has all of the benefits, you also want to make sure it’s raw as the benefits are also gone once pasteurised (like everything).
In herbal tea: I’m herbal tea mad. I drink at least 6 cups of tea a day even in the summer. I love experimenting with different kinds but usually I just stick with redbush (rooibos) and chamomile. I get stressed very easily so chamomile helps me relax and redbush has antioxidants, a host of nutrients, it boosts the immune system, is caffeine free and low in tannins.
I used to drink it just as a replacement to standard tea but now I prefer the taste a million times more. I think I actually crave that now and it serves the same purpose as standard tea for us Brits – everything’s better after a cup. I have almond or coconut milk in my redbush usually although I do enjoy it black too. If I’m having a lot of cups I do need to factor in the milk I’m having in it as the calories can add up and you can end up having too many.
In a protein shake: Nuzest is my favourite protein powder and if you’re getting a heavy dose of protein alongside a big glass of water then you can’t go wrong. Just make sure you leave some time either side of it to eat your other meals as protein shakes can be quite filling.
With other infusions like orange, strawberries, raspberries etc.: You can get as creative as you like here. I really like the taste of standard water (although we do have a BIBO water filter which helps) but for those used to flavoured drinks this may help.
As coconut water: I love coconut water as do my children so we always have some in the fridge. It’s great for protein shakes and smoothies as it’s slightly sweet and contains electrolytes which replenish you after a long workout, a bout of sickness or just on a busy or hot day. It tastes delicious too so great if you struggle with plain water.
Also, I don’t believe in homeopathy but if you do then water is a panacea as it has touched every element on earth numerous times.
All in all I love the taste of ice cold water and could drink it by the bucket. I realise on days when I’ve picked all day that I haven’t had much water. Sometimes you literally just forget to drink. So here I am to remind you – go now, glug that H2O!