DRINK A LARGE GLASS OF WATER BEFORE EVERY MEAL--NO EXCUSES!
This has got to be the easiest rule there is. Which is a good place to start. But it's also one of the most important rules there is. You simply must stay hydrated. At a minimum I want you to drink a large glass of water before every meal. But I'd prefer that you drink at least five glasses of water a day, the first one within fifteen minutes of waking.
Now, do I really need to harass you about this? I do. Because during the process of losing weight, nothing is so crucial to your success. Water keeps your organs healthy while you're sweating, keeps food moving through the system, and makes you feel full.
Let me put this plainly: drinking water helps you lose weight. You can see this most vividly in very overweight children. Recently, a group of Israeli researchers examined the resting energy expenditure (REE) of twenty-one obese children. REE refers to the rate at which you burn calories when you are sleeping, watching TV, or just simply sitting there and staring into space. The researchers gave the kids a large serving of cold water, then began measuring the REE every 10 minutes. The reaction was more robust than anticipated. Within 24 minutes, REE began increasing. By 57 minutes, REE had increased by 25 percent, and this effect lasted 40 minutes.
Did you get that? Just by drinking water, your body increases its burning of calories. The scientists estimated that, if you just do this, you'll burn off an extra three pounds over the next year.
That doesn't sound like a lot, but I'll take it. Won't you?
The contestants on The Biggest Loser are usually chronically dehydrated, and their collective experience shows another reason to drink lots of water. They are usually pretty big consumers of salt before they come on the show. They eat it unknowingly--in the fried and highly processed foods that are their usual mealtime fare and that helped make them so overweight in the first place--and knowingly; too many of them often add salt to whatever they are served. They are usually eating so much salt that they have begun to mess up the delicate mechanisms of chemical balance so vital to our bodies. When the kidneys are swamped with salt and without adequate liquids, you don't get enough potassium. That and other minerals are absolutely key to weight loss.
And as my private fitness clients have shown me, drinking more water helps in other physical ways as well. When they start conscientiously drinking lots of water, their workouts improve. They get less muscle fatigue, they recuperate faster, and they don't feel groggy in the afternoon.
Simple Hydration Tips
Make it your premeal policy: drink a large glass of water before every meal. No excuses.
End the day with preparation for a good start to the next: put a large, full glass of water on your bedstand every night and drink it when you wake up, every morning.
Get a little extra bang for your effort: mix a pitcher of water with a noncaloric vitamin and mineral supplement. I like ElectroMix (one little packet makes a quart), and having the pitcher all mixed and right in front of you will make it that much easier to pour yourself a glass when you open the fridge at every meal; I usually drink mine when I work out.
DON'T DRINK YOUR CALORIES
Caloric beverages steal your health and they steal great food from you. That's right. They steal it because they are so heavily caloric themselves...