Today, we’re going to be talking about habits, water, and weight loss.
We’re moving into January, and what always happens around this time of year, people start looking in the mirror, thinking about Thanksgiving, and all the food that they ate then. Thinking about all the candy they’re eating through all of December, and start going, “Oh, one of my things for the next year, or the new year is I need to lose weight.”
Whenever I talk about weight loss with people, one of the things that I always want to bring up with them, is habits. Z-health practitioners are constantly reminded that their number one job is behavior change. Not cool exercises, not cool diets or anything else, because ultimately best diets, best exercises, best tools in the world make no difference if you cannot apply them, so I am a habit fanatic.
Here’s when this is really important to me, whenever you look at the science around habit change there’s these myths out there, the number one myth being it takes 21 days to change a habit. Not true. If you look at the research, even simple habits take roughly 60 to 70 days for most people to make them automatic. Now, and by simple habits that’s like drinking a glass of water, which is actually the topic today.
Why I want to talk about this, by habits and water, is actually a study that just came out that’s quiet fascinating, and it’s very cool because it’s a big study. It wasn’t around 30 people, it was 18,000 people over the age of 18. It was a study conducted from 2005 to 2012, and they just published the outcome. The outcome’s were very interesting, because they were very powerful and they emphasized how small, small efforts, can create huge changes over time. That’s really what we’re after in Z-health, we’re always asking what’s the most effective use of your time.
Here’s how the study went, they looked at plain water consumption, plain water consumption being bottled water, tap water, or whatever, and they looked at how much people were drinking and how much they were eating in contrast. They found something very simple, they said, the more plain water people drink, the less they eat. Now there’s a lot of complicated physiology around how that works, and I’m not going to talk about the aspects of hydration and other things right now, I’m just talking about water consumption, weight loss, and habits. To keep this very simple, what they found was that for every 1% increase in water consumption, and 1% is a very small amount, they found about a nine calorie decrease in the amount people were eating.
What that basically equates to, is drinking one extra cup of water, eight ounces, roughly 250 milliliters per day, would equate to a roughly 60 calorie decrease in energy consumption. Basically, you eat less food.
What they then looked is, okay, if people drink more water, do they actually eat less beyond that. And it was actually this kind of cool progression, if they drink eight ounces versus 16, versus 32, they would eat less and less food over time. What they indicated in the study was that if you could take someone who was drinking an average amount of fluid per day, and get them to add in roughly two cups, this is a 17 ounce bottle, so almost two cups of water roughly, well I’m not a metric guy, 503 milliliters, thankfully it’s on the label. This would equate to roughly 150 fewer calories eaten per day.
If you added in another eight ounces, up to even 250 calories less per day, in many cases.
Now, if you do the math on that, that basically means that you’re going to wind up eating somewhere between 1000 and 1500 calories less per week. Now, if you know anything about diet, that’s kind of a cool deal, because if you start to think about that, add it up over time, that can equate a significant weight loss, by doing nothing other than changing one simple habit, which is adding some water into your life.
If you look at the math around all this, drinking two or three additional cups of water per day, is the equivalent of doing about a 30 minute fast walk or slow jog for most people depending on your body size. Again, from an efficiency standpoint, drinking, you can do that at your desk, you can do that in front of the TV, you can do that when you wake up in the morning. It doesn’t require you to put on your running shoes, throw on a coat and go out and take a run, and it doesn’t take that 30 minutes.
Whenever you start thinking about how can I best change my life going forward, we want you to look for simple, efficient tools that can make that happen, and adding more water into your day is a easy, effective way to do it if you can change the habit. That’s actually what I want to talk about now.
The biggest thing that we run into when we work with clients is it’s not that they don’t want to change, it’s that they forget to change. If I give you an exercise to do, it’s not that you don’t want to do the exercise most of the time, because the exercise makes you feel better. Most people logically want to do it, but then they get going on their day, and they start doing all their habitual stuff, and if they don’t have a reminder in place, they will forget to do the new thing.
What I love about adding something as simple as water into a weight loss program is it’s kind of built in, the reminder’s sitting in front of you, all you have to wind up doing in any given day is get your 17 ounce bottle of water, or 32 ounce bottle of water and put it where you can see it. That visual reminder throughout the day to add a little bit more water can pay huge dividends over the course of three months, six months, and a year.
What I would recommend, if you go, you know I’m going to go hardcore to this, and I’m going to try to do 24 ounces additional water per day, then buy a 24 ounce water bottle. That’s it, that’s your simple task. Fill it up every morning, take it to work, put it in your car, put it where you’re going to be most of the day. That will solve a lot of problems right there that are associated with habit change.
What you’ll find is not only will you feel better, start losing some weight, in roughly a couple months you’re not going to want to do without it, and all of a sudden you have a new health habit that’s incredibly supportive of everything you’re trying to do.
That’s it guys, if you have any questions about this, please let me know. Otherwise, good luck with your water.