There’s a common tactic recommended on the TV show “The Biggest Loser” that’s supposed to help people “turbocharge” their weight loss and “accelerate their results.”
I’ve already addressed their “biggest loser secret diet plan” here – but others have asked me about whether drinking water can help you eat less.
First. remember this is a “tactic” and is extremely pointless compared to changing actual habits and behaviors… but having said that, there was cool study done on it that’ll provide some insight here.
Here’s what they found.
Does Drinking a Glass of Water Before Eating Actually Help You Lose Weight?
What Researchers Found Regarding Drinking Water Before Each Meal
A 2010 study done in the journal of Obesity wanted to see if drinking water before a meal regularly would cause people to lose more weight in addition to a typical weight loss plan.
The study took middle aged adults (age 55+) and for 12 weeks had them do one of the following:
Eat a “weight loss” meal plan, meaning lower in calories, with 500ml of water before each meal, OR just eat the weight loss meal plan (without any water before meals).
After 12 weeks the two groups were compared.
Weight loss in the water group was 4.5 pounds MORE, vs the non water group and a 45% decline in weight versus the non-water grip over the entire 12 week period.
These are visual ratings of A. Hunger, B. Fullness, and C. Thirst.
So What’s The Verdict Here?
If you’re looking for a little tactic to help you lose more weight, water before meals probably will help.
But remember the golden rule I talk about loads here: this is a VERY SMALL WIN compared to the big wins you can have: removing liquid calories, getting rid of inflammatory potential food allergens, and cultivating tiny habits.
If we’re forever stuck thinking about “which tactic is going to save me?” we’re never going to get the levels of energy, well-being, and weight loss we want. It just won’t happen. Silver bullets don’t work for things like weight loss, which take consistency and time.
There’s no way around that.
Why You Shouldn’t Do This Regularly – And When You Should
This tactic in particular I don’t recommend as something you should do every day because liquids with food can impair digestion. If you don’t have a preexisting digestive problem, you’re probably going to be fine, but there is one situation that this tactic is great for: social events.
When you’re out at a friend’s, going to a business lunch, or otherwise out and there’s temptation, use this.
So let’s say you’re going out to a business lunch and you know everyone is going to be drinking wine and eating massive steaks.
Let yourself indulge – but chug a big glass of water before, so even though you’ll still get to eat the good stuff, you know you’ll eat less.
The same is true of going to a party on Friday night. If you think the food is going to be pizza and beer, chug the glass of water before to offset any mistakes that might be made later on in the night.
So overall I wouldn’t consider this a long term strategy that’s really going to help with weight loss – it’s more a temporary tactic you can use in emergency or social situations when it’s taboo and “not cool” to avoid eating the crap every else is eating.
Your Tiny Habit For Today
Today’s tiny habit is simple: use this as a “social emergency” strategy – when you’re going out to an event with questionable food, or if you know you’re going out to a pizza and beer night, do the water chug.
Drinking water before meals for weight loss: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19661958