Basically every weight loss methodology tells you to drink more water. I can’t think of any that don’t. So yes, when trying to lose weight by the TCM approach, drink more water.  Sufficient water intake is essential to numerous body functions, besides that it prevents dehydration  heachaches and contributes to moistening the skin and hair.

Specifically for weight loss and dieting, water helps to

  1. flush toxins,
  2. prevent the body from mistaking thirst as hunger, and
  3. moisten the bowels to ensure complete excrement.

But here is where it gets interesting, the TCM doctor told me to drink significant quantities of water first thing in the morning, particularly before, or instead of, breakfast. Notice the word ‘breakfast,’ literally break (your) fast. So during the night when you haven’t been eating your body has been repairing and healing itself and in that process toxins accumulate and are ready to be flushed out. But if you just move around without flushing them out with lots of water, they resettle just where they were. So the advice is thus: drink 1-2 glasses of water (warm water if its winter) first thing in the morning. Also, notice the effect this has on your bowels. Does it make it easier to have a BM first thing in the morning? Do you find you’re more ‘regular’ this way?

The second interesting thing about drinking more water is Chinese traditional thinking says not to drink quantities of liquids during meals as this inhibits digestion. Too much water dilutes the digestive juices and leaves the food floating in the stomach. In this regard, cold water is particularly culpable.

Try to avoid drinking large amounts of water during the meal; ideally from 15minutes before to 15minutes after the meal only small sips should be taken. Besides decreasing digestive function, too much water with food can also lead to gas and bloatedness. If your diet, or any diet advises drinking water or tea before the meal to suppress the appetite, aim to start eating at least 10minutes after you finished that drink. This will also allow more time for the brain to register the belly already feels a bit fuller.

How much water do you drink per day? Do you write it on your food chart?

Next post in the series for TCM weight loss: Foods ->