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Updated: Jan 18, 2023

NEWSTART stands for Nutrition, Exercise, Water, Sunlight, Temperance, Air, Rest, Trust). It is a scientifically researched lifestyle change program based on eight fundamental principles proven to help you achieve optimum health. Today's topic is Water.

Our body is 50-70% water. Whilst it takes your digestive system 10 to 73 hours to eliminate foodstuff from your digestive tract, It takes 5 minutes for water to be absorbed and peak absorption happens at 20mins. As you drink water, it enters your stomach and is quickly processed through to your small intestine and to some degree the large intestine. Water digestion is fast and does not need lots of organ involvement because there’s nothing to extract from water besides water itself. It's a simple filtration process that doesn't involve lots of organs, hence the quick refreshing effect of pure water.

I'm going to share with you 5 ways that you can optimise your water intake and lose weight.

Tip #1 - Drink water first thing in the morning

Have you ever fasted? Every one of us fasts daily; when we sleep. For most of us, that fast is 7-8 hours. That's why we have breakfast. What do you break your fast with? Is it tea, coffee, milk, smoothie, juice, or worse, is it a fizzy drink? It is recommended that you have 3 cups of water (650mls) first thing in the morning, and wait for 30 minutes before you have your breakfast!
When we rehydrate with drinks other than water we end up needing more water to digest the drinks; so we end up with a negative water balance, feeling more thirsty and needing more of the unhelpful drinks in the long run. As a rule of thumb, if you can't shower with a drink, then you shouldn't be using it to rehydrate. Water cleanses your inside just as it cleanses the outside!

I prefer hot/warm water, depending on the weather. With hot water, I can drink as much as I need without that nauseating feeling. And the beauty is when you're used to hot water, it tastes good, in fact, I crave it.

If you're new to the concept of drinking water first thing in the morning, don't worry, it takes 3 weeks to form a habit and 2 weeks for old taste buds to die off and new ones to come up. My advice is Just do it! Stay with the plan. Drinking your morning water will get easier and more enjoyable. And you'll feel fantastic!

Tip #2 - Be intentional and keep it simple

Plan your meals and have your water within easy reach all the time. I usually prepare my morning water the night before, I have my 2 750mls flasks by my bedside. This makes drinking water simple with no extra step between me getting up and drinking my water.
Aim for at least 5 hours gap between your meals and in between meals, keep drinking your water and aim for 2.7 litres per day.

It is common to mistake dehydration for hunger. When you think you're hungry, ask yourself, is it hunger or thirst? Sometimes, your systems are crying out for want of rest from prolonged digestion due to snacking or grazing. Consequently, we experience a "goneness" tired feeling and interpret it as hunger and continue to overburden the system with more food instead of pure water. The end result is unwanted weight gain, dyspepsia, brain fog, bad breath, bloating, headaches, mood swings and unexplained aches and pains.

Having a drink with your meals prolongs digestion and leaves you bloated and sluggish. The foodstuff in your stomach and small intestines has to get to a certain PH for enzyme activation. If you're finding it necessary to drink with your meals it may be that you're chronically dehydrated or if you're cooking with too much salt, spices or oil. Keep your cooking simple, drink water at least 30 minutes before your meal.

Tip #3 - Avoid bottled water unless it's in a glass bottle

Buy yourself an insulated stainless steel drinking bottle if you can, it is BPA-free, durable and will maintain the temperature of your drinks for at least 12 hours. EverEco is my favourite.

Did you know that bottled water has been shown to have microplastics? This documentary by CBC Canada with amaze you

There are other surprisingly safer and cheap options to bottled water. For example ceramic water filters

In Australia, tap water is safe to drink, but, drinking water requires additives you can often smell or taste, such as chlorine, a disinfectant widely used by Australian water suppliers. Your water supplier's website more than likely carries regular reports on its water quality.
Filtering the water at the tap is one way of removing the taste of additives. But first, you must decide what you want to filter out, what filtering device to use, and how much you want to spend. CHOICE looks at the pros and cons of buying a water filter.

Again, keep it simple, start where you at and use the safest most accessible water, for those of us blessed with safe tap water, there's no excuse!

Tip #4 - Stop snacking

Instead of reaching out for that snack, reach out for your drinking water bottle!
Did you know that in the Mediterranean and other societies where there is no snacking people are healthier? Have you heard about the blue zone diet?

The food industry advertisement sets us up for weight gain later in life; we've been conditioned to have snacks because we are "starving" or we "fancy" a snack. Professor Tim Spector insists that one of the simplest ways to lose weight is a blanket ban on all food outside meal times.

Professor Tim sector has spent all his life researching diet and has written 3 fantastic books, 2 of which are spoonfed and the diet myth. While many diets eschew certain food groups, Spector’s focuses on incorporating as much variety as possible: at least 30 different plants a week – including nuts, seeds, pulses, whole grains, fruits and vegetables – on top of starchy staples such as potatoes or rice. He believes that diversity is crucial to warding off infections, combating age-related diseases and maintaining a healthy weight.
Intermittent fasting -

Tip #4 - What about drinks

Are you still on fizzy pop? Phosphoric acid (phosphate) used to enhance flavour in some carbonated beverages can interfere with calcium absorption and increase the risk of osteoporosis. There's also emerging evidence that artificial sweeteners trick the body into weight gain. Prof Tim Spectors' advice is, to generally avoid anything with "diet" on it. Look after your gut microbiota, and avoid fizzy or sugary drinks and ultra-processed food. Here's an amazing article by Tim Spector
and a shocking documentary from CBC Canada on sugar;

Take home Message:

1. Aim for 3 cups of water (650mls) first thing in the morning
2. Avoid plastic water containers and plastic bottled water
3. Quit Snacking, quit sugar (including artificial sugar and see your weight drop off
4. Are you hungry or thirsty?

So, there you have it, Ladies! It's a NEWSTART and water works! Keep it simple!

Here's to a new year of becoming the best version of yourself and a better butter burner! And don't forget to Just do it!
Please leave me comments on how you're "Just doing it"

Dr Purity Carr is a GP and Menopause Doctor in Harvey, Western Australia
The next blog on the NEWSTART series is on Sunlight

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