Weight Loss 101: Hello Hydration (Giveaway!)

Catching up? Check out my previous Weight Loss 101 posts!

Splish Splash
(photo by ben)

Water. We need it to, you know, live. It lubricates our joints, regulates our system, gives life to our cells, and heck, we ARE it — you know, what with that whole thing about the human body being two-thirds water (source).


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There’s no doubt that staying well-hydrated is an important part of weight loss, too. Thirst can masquerade as hunger, causing us to eat more and, though it seems a bit counter-intuitive, being dehydrated actually makes you retain water. This causes bloating and (water) weight gain, which we all know can have a dramatic impact on our motivation and self-esteem.

I don’t know about you, but I am TERRIBLE about drinking enough of it. Depending on where you live, your weight, how much you exercise and sweat, etc, the specific volume of water you should be consuming may differ. Even just going by the old standard “8 x 8” rule (64 oz, or eight glasses full of eight ounces of water daily), I find myself constantly falling short. I don’t know if it’s just because I’m too lazy to refill my water bottle, or if it’s ’cause I really just don’t think about it, but I would say I am under-hydrated on more days than not. To that end, I’ve compiled a few of my tips for staying hydrated that I’m sure will make you say “well, duh.” Also, you’ve probably already heard/read them 1,000 times before. But now you get to read them again! Huzzah!

Old water cooler bottles
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1. Make it convenient.

At my last job, there was one of those little water coolers (you know, the kind with the big plastic jug that makes the “bloop bloop” noise when it bubbles?) about 4 feet from my desk. I could essentially swivel my chair and have water at my fingertips. I drank so much more water at that job than I do now, where I have to walk the length of the office (the horror!) to get to a water fountain! Why? Convenience. I’ve admitted to my laziness time and time again (at this point, it’s practically boasting!), so making something easy to access is a number one priority for me. If you find yourself without a similar convenience, try asking your office manager if you can get a similar water cooler installed in a central place, or get a mini-fridge to keep at your desk to store pre-filled bottles in.

2. Carry it with you.

Okay, so maybe your boss says you don’t have the budget for a more hydration-friendly office, or you’re thinking about those non-office moments (rare though they are). Well, no fear, there’s an even simpler way to ensure you have water available at all times. Just make sure you always carry a bottle with you. (See? Cue the “… duh”s.) Now, for bag ladies like me, it’s easy to toss a Klean Kanteen or other reusable water bottle into your giant purse. If, however, you find you’re needing another way to hang onto your hat bottle, might I suggest a bottle holder? And if you hang around until the end of the post, you’ll even have an opportunity to win one!

Healthy Water with splash
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3. Make it interesting.

I hear it from people all the time. “Water is so boring!” “I just can’t drink that much water.” “I don’t like the taste.” Well, people, water is awesome. You can flavor it with anything, you can make it sparkle, it’s good hot and it’s good cold. Experiment! We all know my devastating love for all things sparkling water, an addiction that our new Soda Stream helps enable daily, hehe. Other suggestions:

– Add a squeeze of lemon or lime to ice water when at a restaurant.
– Enjoy a drizzle a touch of honey in a steamy mug of hot water on cold days.
– Use frozen fruit instead of ice cubes to give your glass some color and zing.
– Homemade cucumber water is very refreshing (it makes me feel like I’m at the spa, haha) and just about the easier thing ever: slice cucumbers, add to water. Ta-da!

There are tons of combinations and experiments you can do make water more appealing to you. Try a few of them out!

So there you have it. Whether you like your water fizzy, flavored, or flat, there’s no excuse not to try to get your 64 oz. in each day. And for one of you, it’s about to get even easier. Giveaway time!!

My good friend Sarah‘s mom handcrafts the very macrame water bottle holders you see in the photos above. They come in three colors (pearl, tan, or brown) and one of you will win one in the color of your choice!

I have one, and I love that due to its drawstring top, it’s flexible enough to fit a variety of bottle sizes (from the standard plastic water bottle to my giant reusable ones!) It’s soft, lightweight, and would be great to sling over your shoulder on a hiking trip or photography tour. They are also available from her Etsy shop, and she’s also working on designs for a farmer’s market bag, as well as a wallet that will clip onto the bottle holder. Neat, huh?

To enter, simply leave a comment offering your favorite tip for staying hydrated. Be sure to indicate which color you would want, too!

As always, bonus entries are awarded for:

1. Liking me on Facebook
2. Following me on Twitter
3. Blogging/posting/tweeting about this giveaway!

Just make sure to leave a separate comment here for each thing you do to ensure you have multiple entries! I’ll be drawing a random winner on Wednesday, January 11th.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Freitag Fünf

Yes, I’m a copycat. I fully admit it. Every blogger and her mom does a “Friday Favorites” or “Five for Friday” or some other cleverly alliterative post, and today I am no different. Well, except for the whole thing where the title of my post is in German (literal translation according to Babel Fish: Friday Five.) Hey, I gotta mix it up somehow!

See, my plan was to blog about my first training run (in preparation of the Hot Chocolate 15K that I signed up for in an insomnia-induced stupor Tuesday night.) I was going to have this whole schpiel about how I did it even though I incessantly tried to talk myself out of it and how I managed to complete X amount of miles and blahblahblah. But just as I was tying the laces on my Brooks, the skies opened up. And since I am barely a runner, let alone the kind of hardcore runner that runs in the rain, I kicked off my sneaks and did yoga in my room instead. Let’s just call it “cross-training” and move on.

I like lots of things, but especially these things right now.

Photo on 2011-10-04 at 17.08 #5
1. La Croix Sparkling Water

You guys have known about my sparkling water obsession for a little while now, but I have to say it’s gotten a lot more focused since I’ve been introduced to this amazingness. I foresee many dollars being sacrificed to the La Croix gods in the future. Must… try… raspberry…

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2. Brussels sprouts.

Sorry Pops, I know these are your least favorite food, but the little green brains are back in my life! These used to be one of my scary foods, but I’ve since learned better. Cook ’em up with some maple syrup and bacon? Man, oh man. Don’t worry, Dad, I’ll eat your share.

Picturesque
3. Weddings!

Tomorrow brings the FOURTH wedding that I will have attended since August. Whew! That being said, I still love weddings, and I am so, so happy to get to share in my friends’ special days. Steve, on the other hand, might be getting a little burnt out on my not-so-subtle bouquet-catching efforts, hahaha.


4. iOS 5

I just downloaded iOS 5 for my iPhone the night before last and I love it. Things are running smoother, faster, and I am OBSESSED with the new Banner notification option. Now when I get text messages they no longer pop up and interrupt whatever I’m doing – a notification simply slides down from the top. I can click it if I want, otherwise it will go away after a few seconds, sans interruptus. The new iMessage feature, where I can now text anyone else with iOS 5 for free (similar to Blackberry’s BBM function) is sweet too. Kinda makes that unlimited texting plan a little useless though, eh?


5. If I Die Young – The Band Perry

I know I’m really, really (um, a year?) late jumping onto this bandwagon but I have been eerily obsessed with this song lately. I literally cannot get it out of my head… and it may or may not be my ringtone as of 5 PM yesterday evening (damn you iTunes!) I’m sure my roommates are probably getting mighty sick of hearing me butcher it as I attempt to learn it on guitar though.

So what if October is already half over?! Better late than never!

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1. Hit 184-point-something lbs.

I know this might not seem like the loftiest of goals considering I’m sitting at exactly 186.0 lbs (as of my last weigh-in), but with the aforementioned wedding coming at me tomorrow… well, it might not be such a gimme after all.

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2. Complete a long run every weekend.

At this point, 4 to 5 miles is still a lot for me. I wasn’t able to run the Navy 5 Miler without walking, so I want to master that before trying to tack on any more distance. My goal is to do at least two shorter runs during the week and a longer run on the weekend. This is a really specific goal compared to how I usually plan things, so we’ll have to see how well I stick to it!

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3. Go Shopping.

The feedback you guys gave me on yesterday’s clothing dilemma helped me decide that I should pick up a few more closet staples in the size I am now. I plan on snagging a couple of fall & winter basics to carry me through this in-between phase before I hit my goal weight. Thanks for giving me an excuse to spend more money, guys!

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4. Bring lunch to work everyday.

I’ve been shamefully lacking in this area lately (and I was doing so well, too!) so I’m re-resolving to pack my lunch everyday. Bringing my own food is so much better for me, makes calorie counting so much easier, and is so, so, SO much cheaper.

Buncha Monkeys
5. Step up my photography.

Seeing Ben in photog mode (both at the wedding and at various portrait shoots like the one above with our friend’s baby) has made me really want to up the ante with my photography. Seeing him in action made me painfully aware of how much I still have to learn. I want to take a class, or at least spend some real time reading and viewing tutorials on how to master my camera and get to the next level of editing expertise.

And there you have it. Yet another one of my forays into a (hopefully) beloved blog fad. So now it’s your turn!

What’s one thing you’ve been loving lately, and/or one thing you’d like to accomplish before the end of October?

Take 2

Ahhh, the bittersweet taste of Wednesday. We’re halfway there, but still halfway, er, away. Plus, it’s weigh-in day. Urk. After last week’s less-than-desirable weigh-in, I wasn’t really sure what to expect this morning. I tried to keep it fairly light all week, despite all the eating out that’s been occurring. Last night I met up with Reema for… SUSHI!

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And it was happy to see me!

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As we were to see it, hehehe.

Post-deliciousness, I was busy preparing for the worst. In order to make myself feel better after a potentially heartbreaking weigh-in, I spent a little time throwing together my second-ever vlog! That way, I’d at least have an excuse to watch myself talk afterwards, which we all know I vainly love to do.

I’ve definitely learned from my first experience with, sigh, vlogging (still hate the word.) I’m getting faster at splicing together clips, too. It only took me like, an hour and a half this time!

Note: my hair is wet because I had just showered (shock!), and I had just showered because I did 30 Day Shred (BIGGER SHOCK!)

All right, all right, time to get on with this other show:

Starting Weight: 246 lbs
Last Week’s Weight: 189.4 lbs
This Week’s Weight: 186.2 lbs
This Week’s Change: -3.2 lbs

I DON’T UNDERSTAND MY BODY. I gain two and a half pounds last week, only to lose three now? Oy. I guess I should just take the loss (between the yo-yoing up and down, it’s a 0.7 pound loss overall for the past two weeks) and be happy, but I’m just so confused. I guess even when you limit yourself to a weekly weigh-in (although in full disclosure, I did take a couple of sneak peeks over the weekend…) things aren’t always going to be reflective of your “true” weight. As long as it’s all headed in the right direction I can’t be too upset though, I suppose!

Thoughts on the vlog this time around? Tips or ideas for next time?

Another question: is it true that sparkling water still isn’t good for you because the carbonation weakens bone density? Because if so, I will be sad. It makes water so much more interesting!

Edit: I just Googled the answer to this, and it looks like the answer is no! Evidently it isn’t the carbonation in soda that affects calcium levels and bone density, it’s other (worse) stuff. Huzzah!