The process of losing weight can be simple and sustainable, or complicated and ultimately unsuccessful. I advocate the former approach over the latter.
To illustrate the simplicity of weight loss, if someone asks me what they should do, I suggest they implement just one small habit to start with. They’re typically surprised that my recommendation has nothing to do with consciously trying to eat less.
Instead, the simple habit I recommend is this: every time you decide to eat something, before you do, drink a glass of water and wait a few minutes. Do this before every single snack and meal.
Why? There are three key reasons:
- It’s a distraction. Even the most disciplined amongst us have found ourselves craving food out of sheer boredom. By delaying the decision to eat, you may distract yourself long enough to find another means of occupying yourself.
- You will diminish or eradicate your hunger. If you’re suffering from a simple craving for food, drinking a glass of water will make you feel more full, and could reduce (or even eradicate) your desire to eat. Even if you do still eat, you may eat less as a result.
- You may not be hungry; you may just be thirsty. What you’re mistaking for hunger pangs may disappear altogether once your body has had the time to ‘register’ your intake of water.
The most important thing to recognize is that I am not advocating you don’t eat what you want to eat. If you drink a glass of water and still want to eat in say 10–15 minutes time, go ahead. The key is not for you to feel like you’re depriving yourself, but to lessen or remove your desire to eat. In other words, if your craving reduces in intensity, you’ll actually want to eat less. That’s a win/win in my book.
I Don’t Like Water – Can I Drink Something Else?
You don’t have to drink water when tackling a craving. However, consuming a high-calorie drink to dampen a craving in an effort to lose weight is a non-starter. Whatever you choose to drink, it should be as close to zero-calorie as you can bear.
I recommend water because it contains precisely zero calories, which leaves no room for confusion. It’s also necessary for life, which is a bit of a selling point.
If you’re not a fan of water, you may want to explore why. For example, perhaps the water simply tastes bad in your area (and you could invest in a cheap water filter), or you’d prefer mineral water to tap water.
I never like to tell people what they must and mustn’t do when it comes to dieting, etc. However, I would heartily recommend you drink water when exercising this habit. It keeps things simple.
If the idea of drinking water fills you with dread or disgust, choose a favored low- or zero-calorie drink instead (such as a herbal tea). Avoid soda, fruit juice, and other high-calorie beverages.
The recommendation to drink water before you eat may seem simple to the point of irrelevant, but I urge you not to underestimate the power of this simple habit. You’ve got nothing to lose by implementing it, and you may well find that it alone can contribute in a big way to your weight loss efforts – without you feeling like you’re depriving yourself in the process.
Remember – the habit is about as simple as it gets. If you want to eat something, drink a glass of water first, then wait a few minutes (preferably 10–15). If you still want to eat, go ahead. But if you find yourself wanting to eat less, or nothing at all, just go with it.