Here’s to Hydration

Following weight loss surgery we tend to focus on what we are eating in order to achieve good health. However, it is important to remember that our fluid intake also plays an important role.

Did you know that adequate hydration (around 1 ½ – 2 litres of fluid per day for most people) has been shown to have the following benefits?

  • Reduced headaches and fatigue
  • Improved brain power and reduced confusion
  • Improved bowel function
  • Improved mood, including greater feelings of contentedness, ability to stay calm and overall positive feelings
  • Improved attention and memory.

Studies have also shown associations between inadequate hydration and obesity. This may be partly because thirst is so often mistaken for hunger. Adequate hydration may therefore help reduce unnecessary munching.

While this all sounds great, it’s not always easy to achieve adequate hydration following weight loss surgery!

Some of the common barriers to fluid intake following weight loss surgery include:

  • Only being able to drink small amounts at any one time (especially in the first weeks to months following weight loss surgery)
  • Needing to separate food and fluids
  • Being busy with work or family commitments
  • Forgetting to drink
  • Finding plain water boring or a bit ‘heavy’.

So what can we do to overcome these challenges and make sure we are achieving adequate hydration following surgery?

Some tried and tested suggestions include:

  • Sip, sip, sip – sip constantly throughout the day.
  • Jog your memory – you might like to set reminders on your phone or computer, use a bariatric water bottle to keep track of your intake, or keep a water bottle in your bag or on your desk at work.
  • Utilise your ‘quiet time’ – use this time to get in some much needed fluid, whether it’s in the morning before the kids are awake or in the evenings after finishing work.
  • Keep it fun:
    • Try herbal teas, either warm or chilled with ice to make iced tea
    • Try flavouring water with diet cordial, slices of citrus fruit or fruit juice frozen into ice cubes.
    • Protein waters add great flavour and give you a good hit of protein too. You don’t only have to drink them as they are; you can use them like cordial or dilute to half strength.
  • Break the tension – sometimes, the surface tension of plain water means it sits a bit ‘heavy’ following weight loss surgery. Fluids such as Fiji water, herbal tea, protein water and flavoured water as suggested above have a reduced surface tension, and often sit more comfortably following surgery.
  • Practice mindfulness by checking in with yourself regularly throughout the day:
    • When was the last time you had a drink?
    • Are you feeling thirsty?
    • Is your hunger really hunger, or could it be thirst?

If you’re keen to try flavoured protein waters as suggested above, be sure to grab a sample pack in our online store.