First and foremost, people don’t realise that what they drink is the first step in weight loss, and getting rid of any extra weight they no longer want. In fact, most people don’t know that when they feel hungry, they may actually be dehydrated and they are really thirsty, not hungry at all. By just increasing the amount of water you drink on a daily basis you will find that you start to feel more energised and less lethargic. Over 66% of your body weight is water so it’s easy to see why water plays such an important part in any weight loss programme.
So TIP #1 is: Drink plenty of water. It is recommended that you drink 8 glasses per day, but that may take you some time to work up to. Your body needs lots of water. Water doesn’t just flush all the toxins out of your body, but it makes you feel better and healthier. When you drink more water you begin to feel fitter and healthier. This helps to keep up the motivation you need to lose weight. The best thing about water is you can drink as much as you want because it has no calories at all. When you’re drinking a lot of water, you eat less as well because you won’t feel thirsty as often and confuse the signal with hunger. Remember, if you feel hungry, try drinking a glass of water first and you’ll realise you were probably just dehydrated and not hungry at all. The whole 8 glasses a day rule is really something you should strive for. An easy way to do this and to measure your water intake is to buy a jug, bottle or flask that is designed to hold exactly 8 glasses of water. These are great weight loss tools because you can fill them up, freeze them and, as it melts throughout the day, you have fresh and cold water anytime, anywhere. Or, if you don’t mind your water room temperature you can drink it that way as well. All that matters is that you’re getting the water your body needs.
TIP #2: Start off your day with a glass of water. This will help your body to get going because it won’t be so dehydrated. Also, after you drink a glass of water you may well find that you do not need to eat such a large breakfast. You can always have your morning coffee or tea, but be sure to have a glass of water afterwards. Caffeine dehydrates you and you want to ward off dehydration.
TIP #3: Drink a glass of water before you sit down to eat. Water will naturally make you feel satisfied so you won’t feel the need to eat as much food.
TIP #4: Have a glass of water while you eat as well. Take a drink after each bite and you will feel satisfied more quickly so you can leave the table feeling no longer hungry without feeling bloated.
TIP #5: Do your best to stay away from fizzy drinks. Most fizzy drinks are sweetened with lots of sugar. The more sugar you can cut out of your diet the better. Also, diet drinks may not have as much sugar, but they contain other chemicals and components that are not good for your body either. If you drink a fizzy drink counteract it with a glass of water. Remember, caffeine dehydrates you as well. Decaffeinated fizzy drinks still have caffeine in small amounts and just as much sugar, so they are not much healthier either.
TIP #6: Fruit juice isn’t as healthy as most people think. Juice actually has a lot of sugar in it. If you are craving a glass of juice, drink fresh fruit juice instead of juice that has been artificially flavoured and coloured. It is even better if you can make your own fruit juice. Just be sure not to add any sugar which adds to the calories. Instead of drinking fruit juice, eat more fruit. Fruit provides your body with much needed fibre as well as vitamins.
TIP #7: Go easy on the tea and coffee. They are pretty much harmless if you don’t add a lot of cream and sugar to them. It is the cream and sugar that makes them fattening. Think of it this way… When you have a cup of coffee or tea with cream and two cubes of sugar, you are essentially eating a piece of chocolate cake every time. Now think of how many pieces of cake you are eating when you have a Venti Starbucks Latte – scary isn’t it?
TIP #8: If you must have your tea and coffee, try to drink it black. It is thought that black tea or coffee may actually have health benefits as long as you counteract the caffeine in your body with a nice, big, glass of water. Too much caffeine is not good for you because it affects functions in your body, such as your metabolism. Another type of tea that you can drink freely is green tea. Green tea has been used as a medicine in China for over 4,000 years. It aids the digestive system and can help ease an overly full stomach and it has been linked to a reduction in cancer risk.
TIP #9: Reduce your alcohol intake. Alcoholic beverages are not exactly good for you. Although a glass of red wine is thought to have health benefits, most are just fattening. Beer is especially high in calories. Plus, after a few drinks most people get the munchies and when you’re feeling a little ‘under the influence’ and not sure whether you are really hungry, you won’t find it so easy to make rational decisions regarding what you chose to eat.
TIP #10: If you must have alcohol, try dry wine. Dry wines are better than sweet wines because sweet wines have more sugar! Dry wines have some sugar, but most of it has been fermented away into alcohol so, from a weight loss perspective, dry is better.
TIP #11: Another word on coffee. Some people have reported that when they drank black coffee before exercising, they lost more weight. There’s no scientific proof to back this, but nutritionists believe it may be caused by the body being forced to depend on fat for fuel. Hey, it’s worth trying if you can stand black coffee. Just remember to drink plenty of water during your exercise!
TIP #12: Avoid drinking excessive amounts of coffee, as it desensitises your body to the natural fat burning effects that caffeine has. Try and stick to one or two cups max.