Now that we’ve gotten the big rocks all set we can settle into some of the smaller things that get a little more specific, and the tiny things that are the AH-HA moments I have to be careful to honor.
One is thirst, not hunger.
My nutritionist, I suspected for quite some time, was actually a lobbyist for a water bottle company or some water provider. She was such a drum beater about the stuff. And her rule was to always drink 24 ounces of water half an hour before any meal (a meal being something over 100 calories) and if you were still hungry—eat. If you were not, you likely just had thirst.
Seemed a little crazy. But as soon as I started doing this, my caloric intake dropped at each meal as well as overall in the day. I was still eating about five times a day—and do still—however it was quite different.
First, I had to actually stop what I was doing and get the water. Some know my love of Tervis and a well made, USA product guaranteed for life is hard not to love. We have a couple dozen in our home. It’s so rare to see me without one that I’ve had people comment when I’m without mine. It’s a gift I treasure when someone thinks to select one that represents me to them, and both my husband and I have a happy morning ritual to pull our cup, straw, and lids out for the day. We have had contests of who can drink the most water in a given day. We encourage one another to keep our healthy habits that we have chosen to adopt.
If I am in a nibbly mood, he’ll ask if I am thirsty and that will get me to pause and think about when I last had water. I am my own person, responsible for my own choices, but his loving prompt to take a moment and think…that is so needed and so appreciated. I am more of a peninsula than an island and am glad to be anchored to him for life.
The flip side: I do not drink during my meals. Ever.
When I first met with the nutritionist she had me create a meal of plastic food and put it in a ‘stomach’ (think sturdier than the average latex balloon) and stuff it with my favorite meal. I thought the lesson was going to be that I should eat less. It was not.
She gave me a funnel and had me pour in the amount of water (or tea—I have long eschewed any carbonation) into the stomach. It grew and grew. And I put the rest of the meal in. So instead of 3 oz of prime rib and a small bit of potato and some salad, I actually got the entire thing in there. The visual was impactful in a way I can’t really describe except to say that you’ll never see me drink during a meal and not again until I cease to feel satiated after a meal. It is amazing to me how much less I can eat and feel 100% satisfied simply by adopting this. I started this about six weeks after first meeting with her and wow, what a difference.
Now some of you will say HEY—I was told that having clear broth or a non-creamy soup at dinner is a great way to eat less. And her comment was effectively this: if you naturally remain slim and eat that way, you have the skills to know when you’ve had what you need and don’t need to follow that advice. But for so many that ‘stop’ button doesn’t get hit until you are so far past full you are piling on the pounds over the years…this may be some advice you want to give a go.
I truly am able to eat much, much less simply following this. And because I am so dedicated to staying hydrated outside of meal times, I am not having any issues with kidney, blood or bladder problems brought on by dehydration.
Many women, and a good number of men, walk around mildly dehydrated much of the time. When you are actually thirsty, you are already in the early stages of dehydration. Try pounding water for a few days and not drinking with meals and see what happens. I found after seven days, it was a habit and I truly cannot imagine not keeping this in place always. There are times I get thirsty, but they are rare because I keep the water flowing. It is just so good for you!
The rule of thumb is not 8-10 glasses a day. That’s so old school; it’s like a black-and-white console TV!
You need 1/2 an ounce of water for each pound of body weight if you are sedentary to lightly active. Increase to 1 ounce for active. Athletes may find they exceed 1.5 ounces when they are really exerting themselves.
If you choose to try this, I would love to hear your results!
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