Water Works – the 21 Day Challenge

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“It’s in the water’, they say… They only say, “Don’t drink the water” in Mexico. (Which I have done, and it was excruciating-highly NOT recommended.)  We have known for billions of years that water is essential.  But I guess no one believes that because about 70% of the population still runs around chronically dehydrated.  People talk about water weight like it’s a bad thing. But really, water weight is the easiest to lose, and it gives us clues as to how well (or not so well) our bodies are functioning!

Water is an essential part of our lives and it is one of the basic elements required for human survival.  Often, it is advised that you should drink at least 8 to 10 glass of water every day to flush out all the toxins and to help your body function properly.  Many nutritionists also advise that it is great to start you day with a glass of warm water, lime and honey.  That is the metabolism kick start formula right there, so take note of it.  

In fact, people in Japan take this advice quite seriously and practice a certain kind of therapy that is known to help with weight loss and fitness.  Implementing the Japanese water theory methodically and consistently may help in fighting many health problems.  The objective of this therapy is to use water in your daily life to balance and regulate your health.  Whaaaaat?!

So why is it so hard for us to include enough water in our daily lives? Who knows. Being stubborn has got to be the #1 reason.  Our body gives us natural motivation, ability, and triggers to drink more water because dehydration makes us feel bad.  Remember your last hangover?  Bleh.  We all know how to drink water and must of us have easy (and free) access to it.  Thirst naturally triggers us to drink water.  Duh.

Getting a sufficient amount of water in daily is a common struggle that many people have.  In fact, not getting enough water can become a difficult pattern to break.   Changing this pattern requires us to be mindful of our water intake during the day, Using different strategies for that is key here, because if you don’t often feel thirsty, you can’t rely on that to prompt you.

Ok, back to the Japan Water Therapy.  Most of our ailments begin with an unhealthy gut.  Fatigue, indigestion, difficulty losing weight,  even down to overall aches and pains in the body.  This Japanese Water Therapy helps in cleaning your stomach and boosting your digestive system.  If we need water to wash the outside of our bodies, wouldn’t it make sense that we need it to wash the inside of our bodies as well?  Well, yeah.   It’s no wonder that Japanese people tend to live longer, look younger forever, and are not overweight…for like as long as for all of their entire existence.

So here’s what you do, every day (it won’t hurt anything, I promise):

  1. AS SOON AS you wake up in the morning, chug 24 oz of water on an empty stomach.  It should be room temperature so that your body doesn’t have to work to warm it up.
  2. Brush your teeth after drinking your water and AVOID consuming anything else for at least 45 minutes.  
  3. After every meal of the day, do not eat or drink anything for a couple of hours.
  4. If 24 oz is too much water for you, work up to that amount.  
  5. If you are unable to chug that much water at once, then drink what you can, wait a couple minutes, and drink the rest.

This ancient Japanese Theory claims to cure diseases and give you a fit and healthy life.  Here are some benefits that this theory also claims:

  • Helps relieve stress
  • Promotes weight loss
  • Ensures a strong digestive system
  • Revs up your metabolism
  • Boosts overall health

Here are even more reasons to drink water:

  • Water is important in order for every single cell of the body to work properly
  • They digestive system functions better with adequate hydration, preventing constipation
  • Water aids in flushing toxins from the body, promotes good kidney function, keeps joints and muscles lubricated
  • Supports healthier, younger looking skin
  • Helps to regulate body temperature

90% of headaches are due to dehydration, so staying hydrated will help ward off headaches and migraines.  Fatigue is one of the FIRST signs of dehydration. Water can also aid in preventing bad breath by flushing away food particles and bacteria.

The kicker though:  WATER CAN AID WITH WEIGHT LOSS!!! Here is how you do it: Drink 16 oz of water before your meal so that you can reduce your desire and tendency to eat more, while adequate hydration can help the body BREAK DOWN AND BURN FAT at a faster rate.

So even though we know all this stuff, why is it still SO HARD to consume enough water? 70% of the population walking around dehydrated, sounds like a disaster.  That is a big number.  But without the “triggers” to drink water, it is hard to make it a point to do it. However, establishing new habits takes a minimum of 21 days.  So if 21 days goes by and you don’t feel better, then I guess you don’t need any water.  But that’s not likely going to be the case.  So if you can commit to 21 days of being hydrated, you will reap some amazing benefits that will CREATE THE DESIRE to keep up your adequate water intake.  Here are some ideas to help you increase the amount of water you consume:

  • Start with the Japanese water therapy.  Slam as much water as you can in the morning, first thing.
  • Use zero-calorie water flavor enhancers.  They travel well and are convenient.
  • Add variety by drinking sparkling water, with or without flavoring. Infused water is amazing too!  Try using cucumber, mint, or lemon.
  • Drink a glass of water after every bathroom break
  • Drink a glass of water before you leave for work, and another glass before you go home from work.
  • Eat foods tat contain higher amounts of water, such as melons, cucumbers, celery, and broth-based soups.
  • The Water Reminder app: there are several and they are free.  THIS IS MY PERSONAL FAVORITE!!  I love being reminded, then I don’t have to be responsible for remembering to drink water.

Ok, but WATER WEIGHT though…. The whats, whys and hows of it all:

The WHATS: 

Water weight gain is less than favorable, and it happens literally over night.  What a bunch of crap.   But look, there is no way you are going to suddenly gain 3 lbs of fat overnight… so there’s that.  Water weight is very real for many people.  But here is what it is: it occurs when extra water is stored in the tissue or between blood vessels, and it tends to pool in the fingers, toes, and lower legs.  The upside: It’s water, and it’s temporary.  To be clear, we’re talking about water weight as bloating, and not chronic water retention (which indicates a malfunction of your kidneys or hormones).

Here are 4 ways to tell if water is making you bloat (I hate that word): 

  1. If your extremities such as your wrists, ankles, or fingers are swelling, it’s probably from water weight gain.  Are your rings too tight?  Do your socks leave an indentation?
  2. If you press on your skin and an indentation stays there for a couple of seconds, that is a sign you have water weight.  
  3. Gaining weight in a short amount of time is a sign that those pounds are probably just water.  If you weigh yourself every day, you might notice that the number on the scale might shift between 2 and 4 lbs.  That is just water weight.  It takes longer for fat to register on the scale.  To gain 1 lb of fat,  you would have to eat 3,500 calories MORE than what you need.  One meal isn’t going to make you gain fat weight right away, nut it might make your stomach look bloated.  If the swelling doesn’t last for a long time, the heaviness is probably just water weight.
  4. If your stomach is swollen and you feel bloated, especially after meals, that’s likely just water weight.  I say “just” water weight because that is an easy thing to get rid of.

The WHYS: 

Consuming high amounts of sodium and/or carbohydrates is the number one reason for water weight gain.  Dehydration, lifestyle, hormones, medication, and even the weather are other very common reasons for water weight gain.  Rarely, it has to do with kidney disfunction, where the kidneys can’t disperse water.  The kidneys decide whether or not to hold on to water.  If you’ve had too much salt the night before, then your kidneys will hold on to more water to dilute or correct your saltiness, rebalance it, and then flush it out.  GOOOOO Kidneys!!! They work so hard, so be kind to them.

The HOWS:

Water weight is easy to get rid of, most of the time.  Unless you are unkind to your kidneys and they want to crap out on you.  Water weight tends to magically melt away as your kidneys restore your body’s salty imbalance.  Here are a few ways to ditch water weight fast though:

  • Get moving:  the last thing that you want to do when you feel bloated is exercise, but working up a sweat is a great way to ditch that water weight.   Working out also reduces inflammation so your body retains less water overall.  Win-win.
  • Drink up!  Sounds weird, but getting more H20 into your body helps eliminate  those extra fluids and sodium.  Aim for a dramatic water increase when you  feel bloated to help out your kidneys while they flush your salty system.
  • Pump up the POTASSIUM:  this helps moderate many important bodily functions including blood pressure and water balance.  So eat a banana, pumpkin seeds, plantains, and papaya.
  • FIBER!  A healthy digestive system is the best way to avoid water weight, because it means everything is in balance.  So make sure you get enough fiber, as well as water.
  • QUIT WITH THE SALT.  Seriously.  Just stop.  Salt is in everything, so don’t add it to anything.  By eating bananas, avocados, and leafy vegetables, you can actually help reduce your sodium levels.
  • Lower your carb intake.  Cutting down on carbs is a quick way to use up the glycogen stores (the crap that carbs and sugar breaks down into, and then stores when your body doesn’t need to use it for energy), which means that the water weight will also be reduced.
  • Supplements:  Vitamin B-6 and magnesium can be safe and effective natural remedies for water retention. These two supplements work with the kidneys to help the body flush extra water and sodium from the system.

So there it is, the skinny on water weight.  I challenge you to this:  DON’T BE A STATISTIC. Hydrate yourself.  21 days, minimum of increased water intake, decreased salt intake.  What can it hurt?  Nothing.  What does it cost? Nothing. Get the app.  Stop with the salt.  Do the Japanese Water Therapy.  Water Works.  Always has, always will, and we owe it to our kidneys. So….don’t create water weight, and don’t make water wait.

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