When you have lost a chunk of weight people ask, “what’s your secret?” I never really know quite how to respond to this as there is no big secret! I just follow the Slimming World plan, eat when I’m hungry – not when I THINK I’m hungry, record what I eat, exercise, drink plenty of water, and keep an eye on the portion sizes – trying to follow the 1/3 superfree food guidance. I guess those are the secrets…along with ensuring that I take time out for myself (my self-care, or selfishness!) and not letting anyone or anything knock me down; I keep trying, and keep trying, and I will do so until one day I am at my target!
Even when I give this advice though I get told, “but I do all of that but still don’t lose weight.” Now, according to the medical team who are working with me at the hospital (trying to get me to have surgery – urgh!) they haven’t met a single patient who has had any medical reason for not being able to lose weight. Yet despite this, many claim not to be able to. However, on the run up to their surgery they have to lose a % of their excess weight in order to prepare for surgery and to reduce the size of the liver…and guess what?…they somehow – miraculously – manage to lose weight! This speaks volumes to me. It tells me that people can lose weight in the short term but have problems sustaining their efforts over a longer period of time.
During my blog posts I have spoken a lot about learning to break the bad habits that I have formed over the years. It takes hard work, focus, and dedication – but it can be done. On the flip side, forming new habits also takes hard work, focus, and dedication – but it can also be done; it is these new habits that will help set you up for long term success. So I thought that I would set us a little challenge!!
Every fortnight, for the next couple of months, I will set us the challenge of forming a new habit. You might already have started working on these healthy habits and be well on the way to success – if so, great – perhaps you could share your tips with others on the Facebook group, or leave a comment on the blog. If not, then we will take things slowly and build up gradually over the fortnight so that you are beginning to create and form new, healthy habits that you can focus on. Let’s get started then!
The first habit I would like to work on is that of your fluid intake – and no, Jack Daniels and white wine doesn’t count – I am talking about the essence of life here – water! I can already hear some of you groaning…”I don’t like water”…”it doesn’t taste of anything”…”it’s boring”. Just for one second imagine that you had been stranded on a raft in the middle of the ocean. You will have been surrounded by water, but you can’t drink it – seawater sends you loopy! Imagine that you have been there for a few days; your lips are dry, cracked and sore, and your tongue feels thick, like an old leather flip flop! What would be the best thing – apart from rescue – that could happen right now? And please don’t try and tell me that a bottle of champagne landing on your raft would solve everything…it’d make you as sick as a dog and would dehydrate you even further! Now try and tell me that you won’t / can’t / never drink water.
If you need some ‘scientific’ proof as to the benefits of drinking water, rather than hearing from a fat blogger, then read on!
There are many reasons why it is important to drink water, especially if you are dieting:
Initial weight loss is largely due to loss of water, and you need to drink an adequate amount of water in order to avoid dehydration.
The process of burning calories requires an adequate supply of water in order to function efficiently; dehydration slows down the fat-burning process.
Burning calories creates toxins (think of the exhaust coming out of your car), and water plays a vital role in flushing them out of your body.
Dehydration causes a reduction in blood volume; a reduction in blood volume causes a reduction in the supply of oxygen to your muscles; and a reduction in the supply of oxygen to your muscles can make you feel tired.
Water helps maintain muscle tone by assisting muscles in their ability to contract, and it lubricates your joints. Proper hydration can help reduce muscle and joint soreness when exercising.
A healthy (weight loss) diet includes a good amount of fibre. But while fibre is normally helpful to your digestive system, without adequate fluids it can cause constipation instead of helping to eliminate it.
Drinking water with a meal may make you feel full sooner and therefore satisfied eating less. Note, however, that drinking water alone may not have this effect. In order to feel satiated (not hungry), our bodies need bulk, calories and nutrients.
Water is also fabulous for that nasty bloated stomach feeling and constipation. It helps flush the system…acting like a natural lubricant. It’s worth trying before resorting to prune juice anyway! I drink nothing but water and rarely suffer from bathroom issues – which seem to be a popular topic during Slimming World talks…once the ladies and gents up their water intake, these issues generally sort themselves out.
How much water should you drink?
You have probably heard that you should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. How much water you actually need depends on your weight, level of activity, the temperature and humidity of your environment, and your diet. Your diet makes a difference because if you eat plenty of water-dense foods like fruits and vegetables your need to drink water will be diminished. You can do some research and use a calculator and measuring cup if you like, but nature’s pretty good at letting you know the right amount to drink. When you drink enough water, your urine will usually be pale yellow, though vitamin supplements and antibiotics can discolour it. On the other hand, you shouldn’t need to run to the bathroom too frequently. When in doubt, drink a little more.
Do not worry that drinking water will give your body a bloated look. There are a number of causes of water retention, including consuming too much salt. But drinking water is not one of them.
It is possible to harm yourself by drinking too much water, but it takes quite an effort. Either through obsessive-compulsive behavior or extended athletic activity, drinking large amounts of water can dilute the electrolytes (sodium and potassium) in your blood to the point that it interferes with brain, heart and muscle function. Athletes compound the problem with the loss of sodium (salt) through sweating, but can drink electrolyte replacement drinks to help keep things in balance. Let’s face it though people…I doubt any of us are athletes…or else you probably wouldn’t be reading my blog!
Tips on drinking water:
Drinking other liquids also provides your body with a source of water, but note that diuretics cause your body to expel water. Diuretics include caffeinated drinks (coffee, tea and soda) and alcohol. When drinking diuretics, drink more water to compensate.
When drinking alcohol, drinking water along with it as well as before and afterwards may eliminate a hangover headache and feeling of tiredness. The water is optional; driving is not.
When you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Try to avoid this situation by drinking in advance. Be especially careful when participating in activities where you won’t be able to stop to get caught up.
You’ve heard countless advertisements telling you what product to start your day with. We recommend a couple of glasses of water to rehydrate your body.
Okay, so that’s all of the sciencey stuff courtesy of – http://www.caloriesperhour.com/tutorial_water.php – now I’m going to give you an idea of how to get started on my little water drinking challenge!
If you really and truly don’t like drinking water naturally, then you can pep it up with some low sugar squash – although don’t drink too much of this crap…try and drink it fairly weak; think about the pale end of a Dulux paint chart instead of the vibrant end of it! I say this because there is new evidence linking aspartame – the sweetener used in many low sugar drinks – with an increased risk of diabetes…but I’ll cover this off another day!
I would suggest investing in a water bottle – Sig do some fantastic metal water bottles which can be used time and time again…they even have one designed by my favourite lady – Vivienne Westwood! Or, if you’re like me, just buy a multipack of the sports water from Asda – six x 750ml bottles – and refill those for a few weeks. I try and have at least two of these per day, so I know that I am drinking at least 1.5litres of water each day. This, combined with the fluid in the fruit and vegetables I eat, means that I have a fairly healthy intake of water without going to extremes. You can sip from these bottles throughout the day and before you know it, you’ll be topping them up! Start off by aiming to drink at least one 750ml bottle of water per day by the end of week one, and two bottles by the end of week two.
Don’t forget the delights of herbal teas. We’ve already heard about normal tea and coffee being diuretics, but herbal and fruit teas go a long way in assisting you to increase your fluid intake. Try a refreshing lemon tea when you wake up, a soothing peppermint tea after dinner, and a nice relaxing chamomile tea before bed. You can pick up a mixed box of flavoured tea from any supermarket, and it’s a good place to start experimenting with new flavours. Admittedly some of them smell much better than they taste, and visa versa, but I’ve grown accustomed to the taste now!
I guess I have it slightly easier than most…I don’t drink tea or coffee, and I never have really – apart from the odd cup of tea if I’m feeling poorly! I no longer drink alcohol either. I’m not a fan of fizzy pops, or strong squash. But I used to drink a shed load of alcohol – my usual drink was a double vodka with a shot of tequila thrown in…and I would easily drink at least ten of these in a night. I used to drink fizzy drinks – not full sugar ones – but diet coke on a daily basis; and I also used to drink squash – lot’s of it. So I’m no angel but I have learnt to develop a new habit which is far healthier than those that I used to have. In fact, I made my other half laugh the other day as he caught me saying “I f*cking love water!” as I was guzzling a load down having not had a drink for ages…I didn’t think anyone was in earshot!!
So – buy a 750ml water bottle, aim to be drinking at least one of these per day by the end of the first week, and two by the end of the second week. Use squash sparingly, try out some herbal / fruit teas, and try cutting down on fizzy drinks and tea / coffee. I want you to let me know how you’re getting on too – you can email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or post a message on the Facebook page or tweet me @weightlossbitch
And finally, for those vain ones amongst us – drinking water helps to plump your skin, giving the illusion of firmness and minimising wrinkles! It also helps to prevent spots and helps your skin to glow…so what’s not to like?!
Onto the usuals then…
I woke up feeling groggy despite a good nights sleep, although I was woken up at about 5.30am by a car alarm repeatedly going off at the car dealership next door! We headed off to the horses in piddly snow that wasn’t settling…it just meant another freezing cold day. The neddies were happy enough and went out without the antics we had yesterday…although my Welsh Cob keeps bullying my youngest horse – but he is getting bigger and stronger so I’m hoping he’ll man up soon and let it be known that he won’t be bullied! We then quickly popped to Asda for supplies and headed home for the afternoon – football for him, Slimming World recipe research for me!
Breakfast: Banana, apple and Benefit bar.
Lunch: Smoked salmon scrambled eggs on toasted wholemeal rolls, with tomato, red onion and mushrooms.
Dinner: Quorn minty lamb grills, roasted baby potatoes and red onion, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and peas.
Snacks: Three scan bran topped with garlic and herb Philli light.
So I buggered up today and forgot I was having a Green day…tucking into salmon and thinking I was being good! Luckily I realised this just as I was full after eating only half of the eggs and salmon and so decided to give the rest to the dog. I worked out the syns in the salmon and I had 4 syns worth…so instead of synning the wholemeal roll – as I’d had two of them thinking I could have them as my two HEB choices – which would have been 6 syns, I chose to count the 4 from the salmon instead! It was a lovely lunch regardless, and worth the 4 syns. Dinner was another Quorn minty lamb fillet special and was delicious. Due to the salmon, gravy and scan bran, there were no nice treats for me tonight but I was pleasantly full from my eating exploits anyway!!
Just as I started to gear myself up, I remembered the PT telling me to have two rest days…Sunday and Tuesday…so I got my PJs back on again and chilled out instead!
Thank you reading – and I hope the water challenge goes well,
Loads of squishy hugs and happiness!
Weight Loss Bitch xxx
Follow me on Twitter @weightlossbitch and on Facebook – www.facebook.com/weightlossb1tch – and you can even sign up to have my blog emailed to you daily by clicking the link underneath!