The “liquid of life” is really not an exaggeration. The reason there is life on Earth is due to the presence of water (and a breathable atmosphere of course!). Many people today are so busy that they literally forget to stay hydrated. Here on the Sunshine Coast it is absolutely imperative that we maintain good hydration. Daytime temperatures often soar beyond the mid-30s in summer, and we dehydrate easily. This is even more important for patients who have had weight loss surgery. After surgery, your capacity to ‘guzzle’ fluids down is very much restricted. Particularly, in the early months following the procedure.
What happens if I don’t drink enough water?
Inadequate water intake can result in a few consequences. These range from unpleasant to critical, including:
- kidney stones
- halitosis (bad breath)
- dental caries (cavities)
- gum disease
- dry skin and wrinkles
- impaired mental agility and coordination
- and in some circumstances kidney injury
So make drinking water a habit for life.
How much water are we looking at here?
Depending on your activity and the ambient environmental conditions you generally need at least 2 litres of water per day. In some circumstances this may be up to 5 or 6 litres and sometimes more!!! For example working a physical job outside in the heat results in significant insensible loss (sweating/ breathing). This loss needs to be replaced, in addition to baseline requirements.
Is any type of water better?
No, just drink water. Tap water is absolutely fine. Bottled water in this country is unnecessary and a scourge on the environment! Filtered water is also good. Keep it cool in a glass vessel in your fridge. Throw a slice of lemon or lime or other fruit in to infuse a subtle flavour.
How do I up my intake of water after weight loss surgery?
Carry a bottle (glass or stainless steel ideally) with you ALWAYS. Constantly sipping is better than trying to play catch up at the end of the day.
Even better is to replace soft drinks (bad) and fruit drinks (just as bad) with water. Also tea and coffee (these are in fact diuretics and make you pee, so drink only in moderation). If you really want a fruit juice choose the squeezed variety but WATER it down 50-50.
- Sip water through the day.
- Plan for water intake. Don’t leave it until you’re thirsty.
- Avoid sugary drinks.
- Protein water is a great alternative.
- Change up the flavour or temperature if you need to, but make water a priority
Some benefits of increasing your H20
There are numerous studies published showing significant (4-5 kg or more) weight loss in people who simply took soft drinks out of their diet (incidentally soft drinks are also appalling for your teeth…).
Water is also an appetite suppressant. If you get the urge to snack, instead of snacking drink a glass of water and you will find the urge subsides.
If you are using protein shakes and meal replacement shakes then water is a great alternative to milk, particularly if you are lactose intolerant.
Drinking water at meal times with your family is a great way to encourage everyone to drink more water (small sips for WLS patients). This is especially important for children who are often more active and prone to wanting fruit drinks and soft drinks. Teaching them by example in their early formative years or even when they are older to drink water as their primary fluid is only going to benefit them in the long run. Show them how water can still be fun with lightly sparkling mineral water infused with fruit. A healthy alternative to sugar laden, teeth rotting, thirst promoting soft drinks!
The health benefits of drinking water are immeasurable. And that’s no surprise given the average human body is 60% water. So sip, sip, sip your way to better health. WATER. Make it your habit today.