There are a few rules following bariatric surgery. First, you always eat your protein first. You have to get at least 80 grams of protein daily. Second, you have to drink, drink, drink water all day long. You are supposed to get at least 60-80 ounces of water per day. Third, you have to stay under 1,000 calories and approximately 50 grams of carbs per day.
I don't have any trouble with the protein having discovered a love for seafood, and the calories and carbs are pretty easy, too. But drinking 60-80 ounces of water a day when your stomach can only hold about 3 fluid ounces at a time is near to impossible. I know a lot of people manage it, but I rarely get in more than 40 ounces a day, and usually not even that much.
I have tried so many different things to get in more water. Fortunately for me, I love the taste of plain, crisp, clear water right out of my Royal Berkey water filter (more on that later), but drinking enough of it per day is a real challenge.
Even if you haven't had bariatric surgery, it is super important to drink at least 60 ounces of water per day. Your body is about 75% water – just plain, clear water – and your blood is about 90% water.
You can only live about three days without any source of water. It's that important. (Note though that some of our water comes from foods that we eat as most other living things are also mostly water.)
Researchers have found over and over that most of the American population (and most other counties, I imagine) live in a state of mild to moderate dehydration.
Get that? You're probably dehydrated right now, sitting in your chair. Feel thirsty yet?
Symptoms of dehydration:
- Feeling thirsty – This isn't a reliable sign of dehydration because, by the time you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. This is a big one for me as I don't usually drink until I do feel thirsty.
- Feeling hungry – Can you believe this? A lot of the time, when you feel hungry, what your body really needs is water!
- Dry mouth
- Feeling blah or tired or having no energy
- Peeing less than 6-8 times a day
- Urine that is yellow – Seriously. If it's not almost clear, you are dehydrated.
- Dry skin
Here's a great infographic on some of the results of chronic dehydration, everything from constipation to weight gain to high cholesterol.
10 Tips to Drink More Water
- Order a Berkey water filter. No joke. We got our first Berkey (the Big Berkey) when we were a single income family scraping by on food stamps. We decided that having good quality, filtered water was that important to our family's health. Now that our kids are older, we were getting frustrated with how quickly we had to refill the Berkey and the fact that we were always running out of water because the kids never refill it, so we were able to upgrade to a Royal Berkey thanks to a partnership with Berkey themselves. (This is not a sponsored post, but we did receive theRoyal Berkey for free in exchange for an unbiased review.)
What I love most about our Berkeys – both of them – is that the water comes out tasting like crisp, clean water. It is just like the spring water that my in-laws collect and just like the fresh well water that comes out of Old Grandma's faucet. It tastes good.
- Keep a water bottle with you at all times. I am partial to stainless steel water bottles, and everyone in my family has a TAL stainless steel bottle that we got at Walmart. Every bottle TAL makes keeps water cold for 24 hours and hot for 12 hours. We primarily put water in them either from the fridge or from the Berkey with ice cubes (though not for me because I think our unfiltered ice cube maker makes funky-tasting ice that taints my water). My TAL is 40 ounces because I'm supposed to drink so much water. The girls and Joe use 20-ounce bottles.
- Use flavorings if you need to. I like a squeeze of lemon or lime in my water, although when I'm at home and drinking water from the Berkey, I don't use it. I just drink plain clear water at home. But when I'm out somewhere and drinking sub-premium water or drinking a commercial bottled water (which tastes like plastic IMO), I will sometimes add a packet of flavor like sugar free Barq's or Orange Crush. (The flavors are great, and I also use them in my protein shakes sometimes.) My older sister loves SweetLeaf stevia drops and swears by them. I wasn't a fan of those in water, either, and use them in protein shakes, too.
- Chill your water. Cold water is simply more appealing and pleasing to the palate. That is the one thing I don't love about our Berkey, that the water coming out of it is room temperature. To solve that, we keep a pitcher of filtered water in the refrigerator and drink from that instead of directly from the Berkey. It does add an extra step, but it is a small price to pay for great tasting water.
- Stop buying soda, juice, drink mixes, and punch. Just quit cold turkey. You can do it. I never, ever drink calories, and you shouldn't either. Drinking calories contributes to weight gain because these calories don't make you feel full or satisfied. They slide right through your stomach, and 15 minutes later, you are hungry again.
- Drink a glass of water in the morning, before breakfast. I'll admit that this one is hard for me. I don't want to drink as soon as I get up, but I do have to take my medicine first thing, and it makes sense to drink a full 16-ounce glass of water with my pills. (Bariatric patients have to take a lot of vitamins and stuff, plus my regular pills for medical issues.)
Drinking water before breakfast has all kinds of positive benefits, including rehydrating your brain after a long sleep, kickstarting your metabolism, and preparing your digestive system for food. It's one of the healthiest water habits you can have.
- Drink water when you feel hungry or thirsty. Always make it a habit to have at least 8 ounces of water every time you feel hungry or thirsty. If you drink instead of eating, not only will you save calories, you will hydrate your body. If you feel hungry again 15-20 minutes later, you will know that it was true hunger and not just a craving for something you didn't need.
- Drink water with meals. Kids should have 2-3 servings of milk or dairy products per day, so I do let mine drink a glass of milk with lunch and supper instead of drinking it at other times when they would not be brushing their teeth after.
- Use a straw. When I was fresh from surgery, I had a hard time drinking water. It made me feel nauseous a lot of the time. But when I used a straw, I was able to get a lot more water in. If you're having trouble drinking or having trouble drinking enough, try a straw.
- Drink every time you pee. There's something to be said for the water fountain next to the bathroom. Every time you go, you should drink a cup of water. It will rehydrate you and replace all the water you just lost.
You should be fully convinced by now that you need to drink more water. Leave a comment below and tell me how much water you drink every day.
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