Updated 8/22/2019 to provide you with a consistently awesome experience here at Stop Weighting, Start Doing!
Dehydration is a contributing factor to hospital readmission after bariatric surgery, according to this article on MD Edge. We need to consume at least 48 to 64 ounces of water each day before and after surgery. It can be hard to do so, especially if water isn’t one of your usual go-to drinks. I’ve listed six tips to help you drink more water, like adding flavor and buying a new, fun water bottle. You can also use apps to track your water intake. It’s important to drink more water because it helps our bodies stay hydrated, boosts metabolism and flushes toxins.
Drink More Water
Most doctors and diets out there agree on one thing — drink more water! Staying hydrated is so important when you are losing weight and after bariatric surgery. According to Gaiam.com, water boosts your metabolism, flushes toxins from your body and suppresses your appetite. It also prevents your body from retaining water, thus you will be able to lose water weight.
While we all know it’s so good for us to stay hydrated, it’s hard to drink six to eight cups of water a day. If you’re pre-op, chances are water isn’t high on your list of drinks. If you’re post-op, it can be hard to consume so much water when your stomach is so small.
It’s why we have to find creative ways to make sure we are getting enough fluid daily. Remember, any of your clear liquids or full liquids, like protein shakes, soups, ice pops and even coffee, can count toward your fluid goal. The majority of your fluids should be water though, as it helps hydrate our bodies better. Read on for six tips on making sure you get enough fluid.
1. Add Flavor
Plain water can be a little underwhelming, and sometimes you just need some flavor in your mouth. There are so many ways to add flavor to your water without adding sugar or carbonation. You can do it with fresh fruit like lemons, limes, strawberries or cucumbers. Fresh herbs are nice too, like spearmint or peppermint. Other options to flavor your water are the Crystal Light, Mio or any other brand of sugar-free flavor additives. Most come in a little bottle or packet you squeeze right into your water bottle. You can adjust the flavor as much or as little as you like, but the flavor should make the water more tolerable.
2. Get a Fun Water Bottle
A second way to drink more water is to buy a fun water bottle. It’s much easier to drink water if it’s from a bottle you love. Go to the store and check out the wide selection of water bottles. They have designs ranging from unicorns and rainbows to inspirational quotes. There are also plain ones too in every color imaginable. I’ve also seen one like this bottle where it has times marked on the side. It helps to remind you to drink consistently throughout the day, as you have reminder goals of your target.
Anything we can do to make this weight loss journey more fun is something worth considering. Bariatric surgery is so life-changing, and we need to learn to enjoy the ride. Especially since a lot of patients take joy in food, we need to learn to find joy in other things. So if a water bottle motivates you and makes you smile when you look at it, by all means, get it! Find a few bottles you love and rotate through them throughout the week. Take the water bottle with you everywhere you go, so you’ll always stay hydrated and can refill it.
3. Build a Routine
The next tip to drink more water is to build a routine around taking a sip of water. The easiest way to start a new habit is to build it into an already existing routine. For example, every time you take a bathroom break, drink a cup of water. Thirty minutes before your meals, drink eight ounces of water. Thirty minutes after your meal, drink another cup of water. Build your routine to drink more water daily. Find what works with you, and keep at it.
Right after surgery, it can be really hard to drink so much water. I had a really hard time getting the amount of water I needed each day. I found that if I set a timer for every eight minutes and drank one to two ounces when the timer went off, it helped remind me to drink. In an hour then, I had about a cup of water total. I also timed my meals during my early days, so I knew when to stop drinking and when I could start drinking again. It’s so important to build that buffer around your meals so that you can achieve satiety after you eat. Which is why your third tip to drink more water is to
4. Download an App to Drink More Water
There seems to be an app for everything these days, including making sure you drink more water. If you use fitness apps like MyFitnessPal or FitBit, they have water trackers built into the apps. You simply click on the number of ounces you’ve had, and it calculates your daily total. If you want to add more fun to your tracking, try Drink Water Reminder or Plant Nanny. For Plant Nanny, the amount of water you drink nourishes a plant on the screen. If you don’t drink enough water, the plant dies! It reminds me of those Tamagotchi’s we used to play with as kids. (Please tell me I’m not the only one who remembers playing with these games!)
Just remember to actually use the app if you download it! I know how easy it is to forget about an app once you download it, especially in the busy day to day of life. Use tip number three by building a routine into tracking your water intake. You don’t want your plant in Plant Nanny to die! Maybe every time you finish a bottle of water, you track it on your phone. Or maybe every time you use the bathroom, pull out your phone to add your water intake. Using an app to remember to drink more water can help you meet your daily fluid goals.
5. Add Extra Water to Foods and Drinks
If you’re really struggling to get your water in every day, try adding extra water to canned soups or add more water to sugary drinks, like lemonade and iced tea. Remember that these fluids, as well as your protein shakes, all count toward your daily fluid goal. You can drink more water by simply adding extra to the foods and drinks you’re already consuming. It may dilute the flavor a little bit, but being able to drink more water will help you stay hydrated and refreshed.
Remember that some foods are also a great source of water. Healthline lists 19 Water-Rich Foods in a 2017 article. Fruits like watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries and peaches are a great choice. Remember to watch the natural sugars on these fruits, as they could cause dumping in some bariatric patients. Vegetables like lettuce, zucchini and celery are also rich in water. If you can’t drink more water, then definitely try to eat it! Your fifth tip is to add extra water to foods and drinks, or eat foods high in water content.
6. Replace One Caloric Drink a Day
Your final tip to drink more water is to replace one sugary, caloric drink per day with water. Caffeine and soda can actually be dehydrating, so drinking extra water if you consume those types of drinks is necessary. Challenge yourself to replace one of these drinks a day with a glass of water. Try replacing your soda at lunch with a bottle of water with fresh lemon in it. It’s actually the first habit I changed when I started my bariatric surgery journey. You can find out how I did it by reading this post. Skip the sugary orange juice in the morning and have a glass of water with an orange slice in it instead.
Slowly changing your habits by replacing it with new healthy ones is the key to lasting lifestyle changes. As you get used to the extra glass of water and all the health benefits it provides, replace another drink with a glass of water. Keep making the small changes until you’ve eliminated soda and sugary drinks completely, or for the most part. Slowly changing your habits helps you commit to them.
Adding more water to your diet will help you stay hydrated. It helps flush toxins and boost metabolism too. Find creative ways to add water to your diet by adding fun flavors and using a motivating water bottle. Adding extra water to your foods and drinks and eating water-rich foods will also help you meet your fluid goals. Use an app to track your usage, and don’t let that plant die! Start by replacing one caloric drink a day with a glass of water to boost your fluid intake. It’s important to drink more water because it helps our bodies stay hydrated, boosts metabolism and flushes toxins.
For additional information on dehydration, check out this article from Primary Vitality.
If this article gave you some great ideas to incorporate into your life, just imagine what other amazing strategies I have for you! Share this post on social media by clicking one of the sharing buttons, and don’t forget to join my email list! You’ll be the first to get updates, access to my new products and lots of tips, inspiration and motivation to help in your bariatric surgery journey. Just for joining, I’ll send you a free weight loss coloring chart, as well as some other pretty awesome goodies to keep you motivated. Join today!
1. Add flavor with fresh fruit or sugar-free flavor additives like Mio or Crystal Light
2. Get a fun water bottle that keeps you motivated to drink water
3. Build a routine by pairing you water intake with an established habit, like drinking a cup of water 30 minutes before meals, when you go to the bathroom or by setting a timer.
4. Download an app to track your water usage, like FitBit, MyFitnessPal or Plant Nanny
5. Add extra water to drinks like tea and lemonade or soups, or eat foods high in water content, like lettuce, watermelon and celery
6. Replace one caloric drink, like sweet tea, coffee or soda a day with flavored water