How Water Works On Habit Change


By Diane Gold

Glass Of WaterWater works on habit change. It has a profound influence on whatever we are doing. If we are working on changing a habit, we need it. If we are thirsty, the body is already deprived, but it hydrates us. Water flushes out toxins; it balances the chemicals that make us human; it combines with the nutrients from our food. It keeps our health.


We know that, in order to change a habit, we are going to plan a new behavior to activate when we get our urge, our cue, our itch instead of following through with our behavior we have decided to change. Here’s an example behavior with overeating. When we sit down to eat, and we find ourselves salivating and ready to gobble down every last drop of our food because we can never get enough food at 100 pounds overweight, we can use this pre-planned strategy, which works for most habits:


Two Glass Of WaterBefore sitting down to eat (or even if we eat standing up), pour two glasses of water for ourselves. Before we allow ourselves to take a bite to eat, we drink all the water. We do this at every meal, including snacks.

Niagara WaterfallsWe can think of the beautiful water supply from which it came, if it is clean water and conjure a picture of wonderful waterfalls surrounding it. Secondly, we can honor those who do not have clean water or any water at all by being grateful for the water in front of us. This mental exercise helps insure the water is drunk with no excuses.


The body is somewhat sated and has the control to eat the meal at a healthy speed, chewing many times (25 X per mouthful is a good start). We will also eat less. Yes, we will become hungry again after we have finished the meal. However, the water may give us control not to run and eat again.


Water Drinker

I recall that drinking water was a way I used to reduce my urges. On many occasions, I actually lost the desire to overindulge from the act of drinking water. The removal of desire was not permanent, but it is became very manageable and rarely reappears. Sleep often followed this remedy so that I didn’t chance that the urge would reappear again and tempt me to have an additional meal or substance.

The idea of taking away my appetite for whatever it was I wanted often made me REFUSE to drink water. Why would I want to get in the way of satisfying my own urge? As time went on, though, I realized that the technique of using water as a friendly control tool, was changing my understanding of myself. Even if part of me resisted it, once the water was down, I wanted to forego the old habit and a new reward took its place, that wonderful feeling of having changed myself. I still feel it all over my body, inside and out. I smile at the way the mind pulls us and marvel that I have discovered how to adjust it with a plan, some faith in myself and repetition.

Here’s another relevant personal tidbit. My precious cat is usually on a weight loss or weight maintenance diet. He quickly changes his behavior when there is no food in his dish. He goes out to play or, like me, goes to sleep.


There are lots of people who know that water helps habit change. Most don’t know that , according to a study by Almiron-Roig & Drewnowski, 2003, and DellaValle et. al., 2005, in the Journal of Physiology & Behavior, energy drinks increase food consumption, compared to water or non-energy, artificially- sweetened drinks. (It has been shown that artificial sweeteners can be carcinogenic and are still under study, so I recommend water). I don’t know the sample size or technique used in this study.

More recent than that is a 2009/2010 study performed by Brenda Davey, Ph.D., of Virginia Tech University, et. al. with 24 subjects. This study demonstrated that water, drunk prior to a meal, reduced energy intake (which we call the amount of food we eat) in older, overweight adults. Although the sample of test subjects was small, it finally demonstrated what many people have been saying for years.


Here are reasons why people don’t drink water. Know them, bypass them and go drink:

No Excuses1) It’s not always convenient to stop and get water.

2) It makes our stomachs puff out, and we don’t like to see that.

3) It flushes out the many toxins that are produced during weight loss which is necessary and good. The result is we have to use the bathroom much more often, which is a chore for the lazy.

4) We don’t feel thirsty. Once we feel thirsty, we are already dehydrated, and we have already taxed our bodies too much.

5) We know water will take away our urge and we want to get the old reward of our urge that is not supporting our positive life style. And it’s hard to let go of this.


What I have learned from changing habits is this: water cuts the appetite, water cuts urges, water makes us healthy and water sustains our lives. If we have access to it, we can use it for all these things.

Before we close, I want to make sure to mention some water facts. These facts do not take away from the fact that to change a habit requires will power galore. They just bring to light the fact that we are not the only ones with issues.


1) Over three-quarters of a billion people lack access to clean water.

2) Only 63% of people have a sanitation facility. That means 1.1 billion people (estimated from WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme) defecate in the street.

3) More than 80% of sewage in developing countries goes untreated to pollute rivers, lakes and coasts.

4) 90% of all disease comes from feces.

5) According to, a $25 donation will supply clean water for one person for life.

In honor of those who have less,


1) Continue the two-glass technique until you feel some modicum of control over your most out-of-control urges.

2) Repeat this technique for seven days. If successful, go 14 more days.

Happy Walker3) Once you have completed 21 days, think of drinking water as a method to change your biology for the rest of your life. This method needs to be continued, since habits we change usually live in us in a dormant state.

4) Once you have completed 21 days, as you drink water on purpose, congratulate yourself.

5) Every day, don’t wait until the body is thirsty. This taxes the body. Drink at regular intervals. In keeping water drinking high, we have a good chance of staying in command of our urges.


Please leave a comment and LIKE.


Diane Gold, Founder of Warriors of Weight, Turning Habits Into Health, is a mentor in tai chi, kung fu and meditation, a music, fitness and stress expert, dedicated mom, studying plant-based nutrition.

She is pleased to have lived long enough to discover herself well. She says,

“I am not special in developing self-control and the ability to know myself. I believe we can all do it, if we devote the time and follow a technique. And here’s a secret. Even if we don’t believe in ourselves, as long as we follow the technique, we’ll succeed anyway. It’s the doing that matters; the belief comes later.”

One Response to “How Water Works On Habit Change

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.